Risks and Benefits of Genetically Modified Foods Essays

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Risks and Benefits of Genetically Modified Foods

Ideally, the debate over whether or not to allow the widespread use of genetically modified products would take the form of a scientific cost-benefit analysis, in which the expected gains were weighed against the potential risks. In such a scenario, one would imagine that genetically modified products would then be divided into three categories: those whose proposed benefits clearly outweigh their possible dangers; those whose possible dangers clearly outweigh their proposed benefits; and those whose dangers and benefits are too closely matched to make a final determination based on anything more than guesswork. Unfortunately, the debate has too often strayed away from hard science into
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Now, almost suddenly, it is becoming clear that to reduce life to the scope of our understanding (whatever 'model' we use) is inevitably to enslave it, make property of it, and put it up for sale" (Berry, 11). The use of what Ayn Rand termed "the Argument from Intimidation" is noticeable here: "The essential characteristic of the Argument from Intimidation is its appeal to moral self-doubt and its reliance on the fear, guilt or ignorance of the victim. It is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion, under threat of being considered morally unworthy" (Rand, 119). In this case, anyone who disagrees with the author by daring to believe that life is "mechanical or predictable or understandable" is clearly enslaved and thoughtless, or so Berry implies. Childish use of rhetoric aside, this argument is notable for its philosophical implications. Unlike some environmentalists who argue that we cannot predict and understand life, Berry seems to think that we can, but that we should not, because doing so somehow "reduces it," though what exactly he means by that is unclear (its value to him? its mystery? its meaning?) Humanity's attempts to understand the world, including the living world, are encapsulated under the term 'science'. If we should not seek understanding of life, then we should presumably back away from science, from knowledge, from technology, from everything that forms the basis of
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