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Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? Miriam SchulmanEdit

http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/submitted/schulman/tomatoes.html

Summary

This article focuses on how some tomatoes have now become modified to taste better and available year round. The article goes on to explain how harmful these genetically modified foods can be and even some of the benefits GMOs can have on society. Bioengineering is explained as being a method to selectively breed certain plants and animals in order to make them more productive and perhaps lower the costs. This also makes it more reliable to always have a supply of certain plants. There are two sides of the story within society; some who are against the tampering of plants and animals and those who are not opposed to it. Those who are in favour are those who hold the most power and therefore people who are against are almost powerless to change the current system. This article has stated that there has been no evidence that ingesting GMOs is harmful however they do not say that they do not pose any danger. The danger they cause according to the article is that "Crops are not self-contained organisms; they spread their pollen on the wind or on the legs of insects to other plants". This means that the GMO plants can contaminate something that has not been previously; damaging or killing these plants. An example of how GMOs are beneficial to society according to this article is that it can create "rice produce useable beta carotene" which is a source of Vitamin A. Without it several individuals would go blind from vitamin A deficiency. The fact that many processed foods have not been labelled even though they had GMOs makes certain consumers untrustworthy of genetically modified foods. The final section of this article suggests that, scientists, when developing a new technology should be mindful of the potential consequences their actions could have. This same notion could applied to several technologies other than GMOs, including the creation of new weapons, drugs, etc... 

Technological Determinism 

 This article relates to technological determinism in that the GMO technology has changed society at large. Since the creation of this technology society has been able to mass produce food. We can now control food shortages and now that we no longer need to worry about food shortages we can move on to other things and be more productive. This technology has also made vitamin A deficiency less of a problem in Asia; creating a better quality of life and eliminating a social problem for them. The Asian population are now no longer suffering from this deficiency and as a result fewer are becoming blind. This has changed their society due to genetic manipulation of food.

Cultural Determinism

Using the same example as before it seems as if though the GMO technology was introduced because there was a clear demand for it in society. In Asia especially there needed to be a issue that needed solving in order for this technology to be applied in order to fix this social problem. According to cultural determinism "values, feelings, beliefs, and practices of the culture cause particular technologies to be developed and used". What this means is that there needs to be a demand for a certain technology in any given culture in order for it to be developed.  Much like any other technology GMOs needed to be developed because of the increasing population and the possible lack of resources needed to feed this ever growing population.  

Unearthed: Where supporters and opponents agree on GMOs. Edit

Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/gmo-common-ground-where-supporters-and-opponents-agree/2013/11/11/b91efcdc-47cc-11e3-bf0c-cebf37c6f484_story_1.html

SummaryEdit

This source seeks to determine what supporters and opponents agree upon when it comes to GMOs and their effects. Firstly, it is known that, GMOs have created herbicide resistant weeds and pesticide resistant insects. Farmers now need to use more different and perhaps more powerful insecticides and herbicides in order to effectively kill unwanted pests and weeds. Although there are some benefits to consumers this article states that the primary benefit of genetic modification is that it makes it easier for farmers to farm. Farmers can have better control over their weeds, it increases their incomes, and it has reduced some of their pest problems. The farmers and seed/chemical companies are making profit, while the consumers are not having much benefit from the use of genetic modification technology. The final statement of this source states that it is necessary to look at each use of GMOs separately in order to evaluate their risks because each "interacts with the environment differently". Some GMOs are in fact noted to be beneficial to society and can affect our culture for the better. We should evaluate GMOs from case to case rather than blaming all GMOs together.

Technological DeterminismEdit

Cultural DeterminismEdit

Percy Schmeiser VideoEdit

Reference and summary

-Title of Document: David vs. Monsanto [electronic resource (video)] : Insights into Genetic   Manipulation / Journeyman Pictures (Firm).

Type of Document: Film Documentary – 1hr 4 mins long

Link: http://digital.films.com/PortalViewVideo.aspx?xtid=50030

Summary of the contentEdit

Percy Schmeiser as well as a whole group of individual farmers have been faced with legal issues relating to the infringement of patent use related to Canola and Soya Seed use. The legitimacy of the patent infringement was challenged by the farmers but no avail as they fought furiously in court battles and came away guilty as charged. It wasn’t until 2004 where the Supreme Court ruled in favor or Monsanto in regards to the patent infringement but Schmeiser came away with a personal victory when the court ruled that he did not have to pay the legal fees assumed by Monsantos as well as the 1998 crop profit from Percy Schmeisers Crop. This became a large precedent in regards to GMO infringement cases – because they did not affect the profits raised from the selling of crops and therefore were pardoned for their contaminated field. The funny thing is that newspaper headlines all considered this a Monsanto win. Considering the impact and precedent this had newspapers should have shown both sides and the equally strong personal victory for Percy and farmers alike.

Technological Determinism

Technological Determinism is expressed in the source as a lack of control. More precisely seeing as the organism can spread without the further introduction of seed as it produces seeds with the same glycophate gene manipulation it has the potential to completely contaminate fields without continuous involvement of Monsanto.

Main statements to illustrateEdit

Cross-contamination can occur in various ways without Monsantos direct involvement, such as High winds during stormy seasons, water leaking from contaminated fields into non contaminated fields. Polination can occur through the introduction of insects travelling from one field to another. The ultimate lack of control in relation to the spread of such a resistant seed also begs many ethical considerations.

Social/Cultural determinismEdit

Social and Cultural Determinism is expressed through the court system giving legitimacy to Monsantos Claims on seed patent infringement. This has a wide variety of impacts considering it gives Monsantos even more permission to attack farmers using their malicious and intimidation techniques.

Main statements to illustrate: Percy Schmeiser Court Case – Monsanto v Percy Schmeiser. Even though Percy Schmeiser was not ultimately responsible for the contamination, the ruling was still in Monsanto’s favor considering the Judge explicitly showed that Percy had infringed on the patent simply by having Roundup Ready canola in his field even if it wasn’t intentional.

Monsanto voted world’s most evil corp year after year for good reasons

Title of Document: ‘Monsanto voted world’s most evil corp year after year for good reasons’

Link: http://rt.com/op-edge/monsanto-technique-ruins-evolution-016/

Type of document : Interview article.

Summary of Document

This document is an interview article with Jeffrey Smith pertaining to the ill effects of GMO use on the public. Jeffrey Smith has done extensive research on the use of GMOs and its introduction within the food supply of the North American market. Jeffrey has noted that doctors are prescribing non-GMO diets and that people are getting better. He has even done research pertaining to the effect of GMO introduction and its effect on rats. It completely disrupts the digestive system of rats and the same could be said for its introduction into human digestive systems. The way this is allowed to happen is that the crops store the Roundup and Bt toxins (herbicide and pesticide) and is directly transferred to humans by ingestion. Jeffery goes on to demonstrate that some of these studies conducted directly by Monsanto Scientists had been covered up quite extensively. This is nothing new to Jeffrey Smith who has caught  Monsanto altering the results of its studies over and over again.

Technological Determinism

The technological determinism present in this article is that the technology in question (GMOs) have unintended effects that even those who develop the technology cant control or even chose to ignore. The mechanisms for control with the introduction of GMO’s are scarce which begs the question… Why would the government allow such harmful introduction of GMOs into the North American food supply?

Cultural DeterminismEdit

The cultural determinism at play is the mentality of government and policy makers who ignore the results of multiple studies and quite possibly work hand In hand with corporate giants such as Monsanto and other big companies in the field of Genetic Engineering. This is made possible through censorship and data manipulation on the part of the media, Monsanto and government policy makers paid scientists who were threatened to be discredited. Such has been the case also with supreme court decisions on the subject as well. 

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