A conversation with Mark Lynas

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"Embracing the science eventually led him to realize that he had not applied the same scrutiny to the concerns that had fueled his youthful attack on GMOs." (para phrased)

Could this sort of epiphany ever happen to a poster here that feels despite all evidence of law and science there could be a second point of view on most any given subject? Is it possible a similar sort of revelation could happen in our midst? I wonder how long the flat earth society lasted after Magellan sailed west to get east?

Naaa BF would be concerned with the ratings and sales just like the questions in the article.

Could this sort of open thinking be applied to SM? to find a solution rather than orchestrate a lynching of every holder of a varied thought with or without quota?

The focus of concern should be the GMO technology in the hands of so few. Many people did not like the advent of AI freezing embyros and certainly not ET but the difference was this technology and its rewards were reasonably financially and legally available to the majority of the masses unlike GMO not being yours for future generations

One of the more interesting articles of the last while... good one BF

You think that the emotions of the supply management lobby, like Mark Lynas were on GMO's, will subside and they will realize that science is to GMO's, what the economy is to the market, which is always right, and bad government policies should not interfere with the market.

Emotion drives both GMO opponents and supply management proponents because logic and good science/sound economics will never persuade either. Discussing economics with supply management proponents, and discussing science with GMO opponents, is like having a discussion about evolution with a fundamentalist preacher. A wilful blindness to reality serves nobody well.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So much willful blindness... like teaching a pig to sing You can get him to hit all the high notes but he just cann't carry the tune

I am a conventional farmer, I spray my weeds and fertilize my fields with NPK, but I don t use GMO crops.
Here in this country science and research is paid to generate the right answers and out comes for who ever is paying for it.
The whole notion that we need GMO crops to feed the world is as funny as saying we need supply management to have a milk supply,
There is only 2 things that ensure people eat, 1.) its access to money to buy the food, which is the option used by most North Americans or option # 2.) access to land to grow your own food which is used by many people in poor country's subsistence living.

GMO seeds cost money to buy and must be bought year after year, its makes the farmer heavily reliable on Monsanto, and every seed company who uses their technology, most years I keep a certain percent of grain back for replanting. When you buy purchased seed you generally pay 3 times the price the farmer gets for grain out of the bin, so saving seed for replanting is a big savings and as long as you buy new seed every few years there is no issues at all. I also try to support SeCan and I am in full support of government money being used to bred public seed options that are owned by the people for the people.
What GMO crops do is they do not empower farmers, they do not feed the poor, they simply though the government give one single company the right to control all of the seed, I farm 2,000 acres I am not some hippy out of touch with reality farmer, I farm full time and its my only source of income and I can do it with out being fooled into believing that GMO seeds are for my benefit, they are only for the benefit of BIG CORPORATIONS and their share holders not for the Joe farmer, I have yet to see one GMO crop bred for more yield or bred for lower seeding rates or for needing less fertilizers, so my fellow farmers remember this spring mot to sell your soul for a ball, support independent seed companies and plant seed that does not require you to sign a contract.

Work for your self not Monsanto.

Sean McGivern

thank you for clarification as to the type of farmer you are.
In other venues you call yourself a "small farmer ..young farmer who isn't given a break because of supply management".....also you have often shouted loudly that you are an organic farmer sometimes certified /sometimes not!!

That some one else noticed that too . Flip flop flip flop ! One time proclaiming from the pulpit to be organic which is to be free of chemicals and fertilizers , then the next stating to spray and fertilize . Does tend to leave one wondering . Makes about as much sense as a girl thinking she is maybe pregnant . Truth being when it comes to pregnancy you either are or aren't . There is no maybe . Funny how that does not fit in the world of Organic !

In my mind, given the uptake of, the acceptance of, and market-share of, GMO technology, a conventional farmer is one who uses genetically-modified seeds, while a specialty-crop farmer is one who does not.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Your mind or thought does not matter . What does the Economist say or claim it is ? You are beginning to flip and flop like your buddy here .

All this talk about "flip flopping" amounts to a lot of fluff. Either point out where their views are wrong...or save your breath.

In general, economists are opposed to restrictions on anything except things which are dangerous to life-and-limb. GMO seeds are in the so-called "socio-economic" branch of economics, and therefore, economists would look at the risk/reward ratios, and the cost/benefits to society derived from their use. This means economists would place higher value on the ability of GMO seeds to consistently out-yield "bin-run" seed, and therefore, would place a high value on the ability of GMO-using farmers to feed themselves, and reduce famine which is a huge social, and economic, cost everywhere it exists. The "save your own seed" mantra has no place in economics, and is something invented by nut-bars who've never starved, and who've never seen the ravages of wholesale crop failures which could have been easily prevented. In addition, the "save your own seed" people ignore the basic proposition that using your own seed condemns farmers to a lifetime of mediocrity, poor yields, and economic underachievement. Therefore, while the organic people have every right to object to something, they have no right, or economic justification, to prevent others from availing themselves of whatever technology they can responsibly utilize to better their economic, and social, conditions. I guess, more to the point, the NFU are demonstrating, once again, that their understanding of any issue is limited to Monsanto's role in the issue - if Monsanto started a program to put $100 dollar bills into every farmer's mailbox, the NFU would object, solely because it was Monsanto doing it.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I think it sounds good but it seems that it only works when it fits and does not cut into profits . It is just like GAAP that are supposed to be used by Gov. but don't ever seem to . Likely because it does not fit with their buddies !!

Generally-accepted economic principles, and generally-accepted accounting principles, while similar in that actions produce re-actions, differ in that in economics, there can be things which can be net-negative (protectionism and supply management), and there can be things which can be net-positive (exports and the positive effect they on the balance of trade), all because of the multiplier effect, but in accounting, there is no net-negative and/or net-positive because the positives and negatives have to balance. That's why economics is far-more interesting, and it's also why economic principles are so widely-hated/disdained/ignored/dismissed by farmers who, with the notable exception of livestock farmers, are protectionists at heart.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The Economist and other journalism icons are beginning to reassess their position on global warming


Kind of proves what you are saying Mr Thompson. The profession of economist is for the most part about preaching a doctrine void of fact all of the congregation should adopt without question.

It must have been hard for those in school thinking outside the box to write the required indoctrinated answers to get the credit against all logic or outside thought.

Hail to the flat earth society

The role of economists is to expose the false half of half truth - the role of those who enjoy entitlement, is to hide it by casting aspersions on those who expose it. Or, in other words, getting shot for being the messenger is an occupational hazard of being an economist. In politics, this means that while politicians lambaste economists in public, to the delight of slack-jawed yokels everywhere, privately they can't do without them - yet when politicians ignore economics and economists, we end up with things like supply management, ethanol, and wind turbines.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The point is, the Economist declared a position based on some views from "scientists". Turns out the science was flawed and the Economist missed the false half of half truth.

Now the Economist is revising their position.

Flip flop.

Supply management and ethanol are economics issues because they are based on protectionism, and therefore, will always be net-negative, and therefore, bad economic and public policy. The only way global warming could be an economic issue is if bad economic policies caused it, and/or if bad economic policy was being used to address it (and that includes ignoring it). In other words, the link between economics and global warming is spurious at best, with each side claiming to have science on their side, but nobody seems to be claiming good economics unless it is the usual protectionist drivel which can, and should, be ignored. The dead give-away that something is bad economic policy is when proponents claim it is "good science", and that was certainly the case with ethanol. The much-harder case to make is the case that something is good economics, and that's something scientists (particularly in agriculture) often know nothing about. Therefore, I don't think things are a "flip-flop" as much as being able to better-determine which scientists are telling the whole truth, and not some partial version of it.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Wow 2,000 acres, and you talk about SM grabbing all the land.
Does it really matter that there is GMO crops , read what,s in the products you buy in the store have to be a chemist to know what it,s saying.
The companies put in whatever to get it to taste good and is addictive.

As a farmer who uses both convetional and GMO crops I do not think that it should be an all or nothing debate. Just because no studies have said GMOs are unsafe does not mean we should not study them. The more studies you have saying they are safe the better and if they are bad we have to know. We do know that GMOs have had unintended or unforseen side effects like the creation of Round-up resistant weeds or cross contaimination like in canola. We have to look into these things and asses the risks as well as the benefits with each species. I see no benefit from GM alfalfa only problems as alfalfa would become a Round-up resistant weed in my other crops. The way alfalfa is pollinated means that it is not only possible but more a case of when it will crossbred and spread.
While I am glad Mr Lyons has changed his perspective I think we have to see a lot more research done into the impacts GMOs have had and will have.

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