Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

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Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby ShawnMiller » Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:50 pm

Answer the following prompt in 300-400 words. Answer all parts of the question. This question is similar to the sort of essay prompt that you will see on the take-home final, so think of it as practice.

This is due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m. However, I will provide feedback on your answers, so the sooner you post them, the sooner you will get feedback.

From the CRISPR article:

Many researchers are deeply worried that altering an entire population [of malaria-causing mosquitoes], or eliminating it altogether, could have drastic and unknown consequences for an ecosystem: it might mean that other pests emerge, for example, or it could affect predators higher up the food chain. [...] “It has to have a fairly high pay-off, because it has a risk of irreversibility — and unintended or hard-to-calculate consequences for other species,” says George Church, a bioengineer at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

From the Roberta Millstein essay:

It is a mistake to lump together climate change deniers, evolution deniers, and GMO critics, in part because the reasons for doubt in each case are different and in part because the so-called “precautionary principle” would incline us to accept climate change while rejecting GMOs, but also because (ironically) a proper understanding of evolution forms the basis for some of the concerns about GMOs.

What is the precautionary principle and why, according to Millstein, does it lead us to accept the truth of climate change and reject the truth of the claim that GMOs have been shown to be safe? If there are gaps in her argument fill them in. How does the precautionary principle apply to the issue of using CRISPR to engineer ecosystems? Do you think using CRISPR in this way is more like the climate change issue or the GMO issue? Why?

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby euriekim » Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:18 pm

The precautionary principle is a principle that introducing new products or procedures, without knowing the full effects that it could have, should be opposed. Going ahead and introducing new products or procedures, like GMOs or ridding the world of a pest, could have unforeseen, dire consequences. According to Millstein, the precautionary principle leads us to accept climate change and reject deeming all GMOs to be safe because each case of GMOs is different. Climate change is one general situation that scientists can prove is occurring; however, GMOs are all individual cases thus it isn’t possible to lump them all together and deem GMOs to be 100% safe.

We could apply the precautionary principle to issue of using CRISPR for genetic engineering since it could easily cause unanticipated damages to our ecosystem or on other organisms. If we rid the world of a certain pest, it could cause a lowered population count of their natural predators and thus lower the population count of predators higher up on the food chain. This could even go more out of hand and ruin a whole ecosystem especially if an organism that is affected is a keystone species or a foundation species within that ecosystem. For example if we regarded sea urchins as pests to the kelp forest and used CRISPR to eliminate them, the kelp forest would thrive but sea otters would suffer since their diet consists mainly of sea urchins. They would then have to compete with other predators for other types of prey.

I think of CRISPR more similar to GMOs because each case is different. There aren’t individual cases of climate change. We know that certain things that we do cause more greenhouse gases which causes heat to become trapped within our atmosphere. However with GMOs and CRISPR, there are endless ways we could use them and thus endless consequences and outcomes that can occur.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby Bowen Tan » Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:13 pm

Precautionary principle is to protect the public from harmful risks when there is an extensive controversy or no consensus on an action or a policy. The term in the context indicates an opponent attitude towards GMOs, since GMOs are thought to be lack of efficient scientific proofs for safety. It leads us to reject the truth that GMOs are safe for the following reasons. Natural things are not always safe even the climate change, unnatural things can be safe if the risks are under control. Since precautionary principle is to pursue and to make sure of the safety, it keeps an eye on the safety but not whether the things are natural. On the other hand, one possibility of the so-called precautionary principle is, people might just dislike the GMOs but not basing on the scientific proofs. However, one thing deserves considering is, if it is true that those people who merely dislike the GMOs, they should reject organic farming foods with the use of rotenone and pyrethrins as well. In some extent, it helps to explain the reasonability of the precautionary principle. Actually the pesticide remnants are visible in contrast to GMOs, but it doesn’t mean that pesticide remnants are more safe than GMOs. It should be included in the precautionary principle as well.

The way applying the precautionary principle to the issue is mainly presented by scientists who concern about the unknown consequences of using CRISPR to engineer ecosystems. We should see the high pay-off of transforming creatures randomly. Notably, any transformation in the level of person, population may bring unseen results to the ecosystems which not only affect this generation, but also influence following generations through production.

Someone may argue that, the issue is, most of the trouble in the future are based on our predictions. But predicted results are based on contemporary scientific theory. In some extent, it is the same as GMOs at the point of science evidence. Also, using CRISPR is an unnatural way. From both two points, CRISPR is more like the GMO issue. Because the controversy of CRISPR is between foreseen results basing on science and invisible risk management and ethics issues. It is not like climate change which occurs in a natural way but brings unforeseen results.(total 378 words)

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby tschristoffel » Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:27 pm

The precautionary principle states that if there is a set of actions that have questionable consequences, we opt for the action that will be least likely to have a negative (or as negative) effect. It is under this principle that, according to Millstein, we accept climate change as truth and reject the safety of GMO’s. In the case of climate change, the “actions” in question are the unregulated burning of fossil fuels and the acceptance of climate change as fact. The unregulated burning of fossil fuels might lead to climate change, but accepting climate change as true and regulating pollutants will without a doubt help to prevent climate change. Even if the harmfulness of the action is still under debate, it is avoided because there is an element of risk involved. In the case of GMO’s, there have been few properly controlled studies regarding their effects, and the few that have taken place call for more research, so it is assumed that some negative effect will occur and GMO’s are avoided or handled with caution (such as the addition of warning labels).

As for using CRISPR to alter environmental populations of mosquitos, the precautionary principle would point to avoidance, as the actual costs and benefits of its use are unknown. Perhaps, as the article notes, there will be some kind of trophic cascade that will negatively affect other animals. It is also possible that there will be nothing but benefits from using CRISPR in such a way. However, the point of the precautionary principle is that we do not take substantial risks. Even if there is only a risk of there being some yet unknown, but severely negative effect, CRISPR cannot be used according the the precautionary principle. CRISPR is more analogous to GMO’s in this instance because although we are looking at a process as opposed to a product, both are still meant to do good but have little evidence supporting their harmlessness. It should also be noted that in these cases, CRISPR and GMO’s are rejected, while in the case of climate change, the idea is accepted.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby herrerajen » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:41 am

In Millstein’s article, the precautionary principle refers to the advised measures to be taken when certain products, services or policies may threaten human health or the environment although there is no scientific consensus of the risk. Now, similar to the manner that all science is value-laden, precautionary principles are also largely influenced by values—or “things that are important to us” (p. 2). The embedded values of climate change are the strikingly detrimental harms to humans, species, and the environment meanwhile the economic benefits such as fossil fuels energy usage. Overwhelmingly, there is a scientific consensus that climate change exists and that measures should be taken, yet the context is different for GMOs. The precautionary principle would incline critics to reject GMOs in part because there is no “good evidence for GMO safety” (p. 6). GMO testing is voluntary and predominantly all of its testing is done by those that manufacture the products without FDA oversight. Although there are two research studies that are upheld by advocates of GMOs, they “are not enough to conclude that GMOs are safe for humans to eat” (p. 8). The lack of scientific consensus is also exacerbated by the values that are embedded with GMOs. As Millstein stresses, those that criticize GMOs are not necessarily scrutinizing the “truth of genetic engineering technology or genetics,” rather they “challenge the truth of studies that purpose to show the safety of GMOs and evaluate risks” (p. 1). That is, critics of GMOs examine the values revolving the continuation of this practice.

The precautionary principle for CRISPR seems to be in the developmental stages. For example, there are various biologists and geneticists that warn there could be unpredictable effects or unintended consequences. George Church, a bioengineer argues that gene drives “have a fairly high pay-off, because it has a risk of irreversibility—and unintended or hard-to-calculate consequences for other species” (p. 24). Other scientists are weary of the “democratization” of CRISPR as it will allow for unregulated oversight of its practices.

Overall, I think that CRISPR is more like the GMO issue. One of the reasons is GMOs and CRISPER are both informed by evolution. For instance, GMOs are evolving as herbicide-resistant and pesticide-resistant plants and they are no longer being killed by herbicides like Roundup. Similarly, CRISPR could potentially evolve the way genes are sliced which could have consequences for a genome as a whole.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby ktoporovskaya » Sat Sep 05, 2015 2:00 pm

By precautionary principle Millstein means that certain choices and opinions that people establish when it comes to new discoveries and technologies are on the safe side, meaning that all possible outcomes are considered and weighted before making a step towards action. When it comes to climate change with precautionary principle, it is safer to start on prevention of climate change and thus accept it, rather then ignore it and suffer the consequences. GMOs are different. As a precaution we consider them unsafe until proven safe, rather then saying they are safe until shown otherwise. This conclusion is valid because there is little research done on the long-term effects. The technology is new, and discoveries are resent. I believe that is what Millstein is trying to say, but if I am looking for gaps in her argument I can say that regarding climate change, as a precaution sometimes it is safer not to do anything then mess with the system that has been long established. CRISPR technology sort of falls under the GMO’s umbrella. We can actually use CRISPR technology to make GMOs. We are using unnatural means to engineer living things and introduce them into ecosystems. With precautionary principle, we need to take extra time and research before we make a wide spread use out of it. More oversight and restrictions are needed to put out minds at ease. When we look at all possible outcomes there could be dangerous outcomes as we change the genome of on organisms and which changes can be passed on to generations to come. We still know so little about the effects to be using it large scale and applying it in our daily use. The establishment of its safety will take a lot of work and time but it is absolutely essential with precautionary principle.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby uwogisele » Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:12 pm

Millstein explains that GMOs were designed in two ways; some crops are resistant to herbicides and others contain pesticides.
When herbicide is applied to crops that are resistant to herbicides, it kills the weeds but not the crop. And the crops that contain pesticides protect crops from pests. The precautionary principle is that “saying GMOs are safe overlooks environmental concerns”. Millstein gave some of the negative outcomes of GMOs, one being evolution. With crops that are resistant to herbicides there has been a rise of herbicide-resistant and pesticide-resistant plants and animals. We can reject the truth of the claim that GMOs have been shown to be safe because with its use there has been a rise of organisms that can no longer be killed by herbicides. Millstein gives an example of 2,4-D corn, which is “considered a more toxic herbicide, with a heightened risk of birth defects, more severe impacts on aquatic ecosystems, and more damage to nearby crops and plants.”

Using CRISPR is more like the GMO issue in the sense that “there are still unknown consequences”. Millstein raised the concern that “there are possible effects on other species that consume the GM crops. As with humans, there is no widely accepted evidence of direct harms yet”. But in other ways, CRISPR may also be a climate change issue. George Church says CRISPR “has a risk of irreversibility that is hard-to-calculate consequences for other species”, and this is one of the indirect harms of GMOs that Millstein mentions. She states that the increased use of Roundup has caused the Monarch butterflies population to decline in size.
CRISPR is more like a GMO issue that eventually ends up being a climate issue. And the precautionary principle applies to this because the introduction of a new product whose ultimate effects are unknown should be used carefully.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby lksalinero » Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:29 pm

The precautionary principle is a strategy for evaluating the risks associated with a proposed action or activity when there is insufficient scientific knowledge to make a fully informed decision. According to this principle, when it is unclear whether a particular action will be harmful, the proponents of that action are responsible for proving the action is safe before it is carried out. Simply not having evidence that the action is harmful is insufficient; those in favor of carrying out the action must prove it to be safe.

Millstein argues that this precautionary principle “would incline us to accept climate change while rejecting GMOs.” With regard to climate change, there is already consensus among the scientific community that global warming is occurring and that it is harmful. Furthermore, proponents of continuing to release greenhouse gases at current levels are unable to prove that such an action would be safe. For these reasons, the precautionary principle supports taking action to combat climate change.

However, in the case of GMOs, the research is still inconclusive. There is no scientific consensus that GMOs are dangerous, but neither is there a consensus that they are safe. Because the possibility remains that GMOs may be harmful, it falls to the proponents of GMOs to prove that they are harmless before GMO production should be allowed to continue.

When applying the precautionary principle to the use of CRISPR technology for gene drives, we see that because it is uncertain whether a gene drive will be harmful, those in favor of doing so must first prove it is safe. As implied by George Church, the case of gene drives also requires the evaluation of the action’s anticipated benefits relative not only to the risk of undesirable outcomes, but also to the severity of those unintended consequences. The anticipated results must be highly desirable if we are to risk irreversible and unforeseen negative effects on an ecosystem.

In this way, the use of CRISPR for gene drives is like the issue of GMOs. In both cases, there is no scientific consensus of safety or harm and there are so many variables at play (i.e. metabolic interactions with altered genes or environmental interactions between the species in an ecosystem) that scientists may never be able to predict with complete accuracy whether or not a particular action will cause harm.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby fdtran » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:29 pm

The precautionary principle states that the integration of a new product or process with unknown consequences should be rejected. In Millstein’s article she argues that, unlike climate change or evolution, there is still much to study and research about GMOs and until then critics are able to reject the supposed safety of GMOs.

Many argue that genetic modification is nothing new and that we’ve been it for centuries, but Millstein argues that GMO are indeed something biologically new; she cites an article that states there may be some unforeseeable consequences in using distantly related genes.
While anti-science challenges truth in science itself, GMO critics question the extent of which GMO safety and risk assessment has been studied. In fact Millstein argues that GMO lack good evidence for safety, as much of the regulation on GMOs are voluntary and do not involve the FDA. Millstein also suggests that not every GMO is the same and that they should all be further tested.

Millstein also argues that GMOs are supposedly safe for consumption but not necessarily safe for the environment. Usage of GMO has caused increased dependence on certain pesticides such as Roundup, causing increased resistance in various pests and weeds.

Personally I didn’t see the significance in Millstein’s argument with the values of science. Her analysis on the values of science did debunk some of the anti-science claims correlated with GMOs but it seemed irrelevant in her argument about the precautionary principle. Her argument could be stronger if she had made the values of science a prevalent theme in her all her six explanations rather than only the first three explanations.

The precautionary principle also applies to CRISPR, which can be used to alter the genes of a species. Scientists fear that there may be unforeseeable consequences in altering a population and how it could affect the ecosystem around it. I think that using CRISPR is an issue similar to the usage of GMOs. Unlike the issue of climate change, no one is denying the science behind it but rather the values behind CRISPR and the extent of which it has been deemed safe. I think Millstein would agree that there are some mixed values in CRISPR, whether we can create babies that suit our expectations of being normal or eradicate disease. Like GMOs, CRISPR should further be looked at in order to be deemed safe and to regulate ethical practices.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby anjames » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:39 pm

The precautionary principle states that when a technology might adversely affect humanity, we should take measures to protect ourselves against it, despite not having scientific evidence to strongly support the claim that the technology is either helping or hurting anything. Climate change gets accepted using this principle because even if humans aren’t causing climate change, we can too easily find ourselves causing irreversible damage. In the case of the safety of GMOs, it would be rejected because GMOs have the potential to irreversibly affect the environment and adversely affect human health. World hunger and profits are not sufficient benefits to proceed when the general health of humans and the environment are at stake. No matter what, it’s harder to prove something is okay to continue. It’s safest to wait and protect against what we think is happening, like recycling and reducing carbon emissions for the sake of protecting the environment. The acceptance or rejection here depends on which side science feels like it’s on. GMO critics are criticizing the science saying that it’s safe. Millstein makes it clear that GMO critics are not anti-science.

As George Church commented in the CRISPR article, CRISPR concerns some scientists because it can have irreversible effects on the environment as well. The research on safety is seemingly minimal. The precautionary principle would lead us to reject its use for ecosystem engineering. I think this is the case because it’s like GMOs: research into applying it has progressed rapidly. With CRISPR, it’s not a matter of are we willing to apply it to humans or a variety of other organisms (been there, done that), but rather should we continue to do so and at this pace. We are eating GM crops and we are not sure of the effects because of the inconclusive nature of the research. CRISPR does not yet have much research to point to, except the cases of its control that haven’t yet gone wrong.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby KelseyBS » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:31 am

The Precautionary Principle argues that we should take new products or processes with caution before we learn anything about them. In other words "everything new is dangerous until proven safe," or "better safe than sorry." Millstein does not explain in detail why the Precautionary Principle leads us to accept the truth of climate change, but I will explain to the best of my ability. The Precautionary Principle gives us reason to accept climate change because if we are to ignore it and it is true, we will destroy our planet, whereas if we try to better our environment and climate change is a myth, nothing bad will come of it. Millstein gives us sufficient reason to believe that GMOs have not been tested sufficiently for safety: only some GMOs have been tested, testing is voluntary, and the safety that is tested is mainly the effect on livestock, which may have differing effects from GMOs compared to humans. Since GMOs have not been thoroughly proven for safety, the Precautionary Principle would cause us to view it as dangerous.

The Precautionary Principle could also be used to argue against the use of CRISPR to engineer ecosystems. Crisper is very new and has not been used enough to determine its safety. Since it's so new and its risk is completely unknown it should be considered dangerous until we have seen that it can be used safely. To use it with intent to modify ecosystems on the only planet we can currently live on is incredibly dangerous; you might even say that it is riskier than purposely introducing an invasive species to rid of another invasive species.

The use of Precautionary Principle argument with CRISPR and GMOs is fairly different from the issue of climate change. We can actually conduct several small representative experiments with CRISPR and GMOs, but we cannot experiment with climate change considering we only have one planet and we cannot repeat trials.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby eridolfi » Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:14 pm

The precautionary principle is that actions or objects are not safe or true until proven so without a doubt. The issue with this according to Millstein is that it comes with some assumptions that do not provide proper logic. The first assumption is that science is value free. We know that this is not true. Millstein states that climate change is the ultimate example of this. It is incredibly value laden. Scientists study the connections between humans and climate change because they are concerned about harm. Medical science is an example of this as well. GMO science is also value laden but because of the sources of those values it is much harder to convince critics of the science of its validity. The error I find in Millstein’s argument is she puts so much of an emphasis on values that her argument reduces to that. While there is very little value free science, Millstein assumes that humans are held captive by their values and are incapable of making choices outside of that context. I do not find this possible. She also makes assumptions about value systems in certain groups and heavily stereotypes. She assumes that anti-labelers are all operating under a value system, when they really could be using the precautionary principle themselves. She also treats regulatory organizations as if they are neutral when she first asserts that all people have values. If she wants her argument to seem unbiased she needs to assume all parties operate under values. The precautionary principle is needed for CRISPR in environmental engineering because of the vast amount of variables that exist. We have evidence from introduced species that issues can arrive and given this evidence we must weigh the consequences of this action. CRISPR is the same idea. CRISPR is more like the GMO issue in my opinion because public perception could be similar and the risk-benefit analysis will most likely follow a similar metric.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby nyonan » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:03 pm

The precautionary principle in all cases of risk management basically states a new thing is guilty until proven innocent. In other words, it must be tested and proven that it is not dangerous or harmful. The burden of proof falls on the safety side as opposed to the harm side simply because we cannot know the safety of something at a cursory glance and it is usually much better to assume a gun is loaded rather than assume it is empty when you have yet to fully check it.
According to Millstein, by virtue of the precautionary principle we would accept climate change and reject GMOs being safe by default. Again, this is the property of the principle which is “automatically assume the dangerous/harmful answer until further knowledge is acquired.” Climate change is a dangerous thing to us humans thus we would be inclined to accept it until research proves that it is not dangerous. Likewise, we would be inclined to reject GMOs being safe because they could be dangerous thus we would need research to prove that they are not.
I do not think there are many severe gaps, if any, in Millstein's argument. She takes a middle ground stating what basically most research states towards GMOs, which is “further testing is required.”
I think CRISPR is more like the GMO issue than the climate change one. Simply because it is nearly identical; it is genetic modification. It is “biologically new” to put it into the words of Millstein. We do not know the dangers that could occur due to CRISPR thus we would default to assuming that it is dangerous until further research shows its safety. The fact that there are some scientists that are concerned with how little time is allowed for safety checks is direct proof that it needs to be tested further. Some scientists worry that “edited organisms could disrupt entire ecosystems” which is something that could be devastating and irreversible. CRISPR is certainly more on the “assume doing it is more dangerous than not” side of the equation. We humans have history of doing new things and assuming it is safe until it wreaks havoc. Thus according to the precautionary principle, for both CRISPR and GMOs, further testing is absolutely necessary to clear everyone's doubts and ensure that such a thing is safe.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby jjquintanilla » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:32 pm

The idea of the precautionary principle is centered on the belief that what is unknown of something should be avoided in order to prevent unexpected negative outcomes. With regards to climate change, according to Millstein, the reason why climate change is taken seriously and accepted as a truth is simply because of the concept of value: there is a strong understanding of the energy output and benefits from the burning of fossil fuel, and according to her, the use of fossil fuel and climate change are closely intertwine and importance is placed upon whether or not human health and safety. Hence, understanding a value leads to the acceptance of something as truth. I feel that the reason why GMOs have not been shown to be safe is simply because there has not been sufficient data nor rigorous or established methods of testing to see if there is an indirect harm towards humans. Furthermore, because no evidence of harm is presented, as a result of improper methodology, people cannot be sure if there are long term risks of GMOs.
In terms of how the Precautionary Principles applies to other fields or subjects, and in this case CRISPR, is something that requires a deconstruction. With regards to the use of CRISPR for the construction or destruction of ecosystems, I feel that there cannot be a serious defining line to measure the outcomes of generating new ecosystems. This is because there is no means of conducting such experimental processes in a laboratory setting, and therefore this results in the absence of a proper understanding.
The lack of understanding and data of how CRISPR genetically engineered ecosystems will react in the wild therefore places CRISPR in a position that follow more the presentation of the GMOs issue rather than the Climate Change issue. Simple because the modified ecosystems does not provide accurate data of its value, it cannot be predicted if it will pose a serious problem to other organism is a different ecosystem or their respective ecosystems all together, thus in this case, it would not be surprising to utilize the Precautionary Principle.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby pkshah » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:08 pm

The precautionary principle is the notion that the introduction of some process and/or product whose ultimate effects are not known should be viewed with skepticism. Furthermore, the introduction of these processes and/or products into the environment should be resisted. According to Millstein, the precautionary principle allows leads us to accept the truth of climate change and reject the notion that it has been shown that all GMO products are safe to use.

Millstein says that the precautionary principle would reject the notion that all GMO products are safe to use by showing that the ultimate effects of introducing GMO’s into environments are not completely understood. For example, in the CRISPR article, environmental engineering could result in a multitude effects that are not completely understood. Furthermore, using the CRISPR method to eradicate or change a population of potentially malaria causing mosquitoes could have irredeemable and negative consequences. By the precautionary principle, potential consequences, good or bad, is why eradicating or altering the mosquitoes should be resisted.

Millstein says that the precautionary principle would incline us to accept the truth of climate change. I think that this claim is a bit incomplete. After years of creating carbon emissions, greenhouse gasses, and various forms of pollution we realized that the planet is heating up. The unintended consequence of pollution was global warming. Basically, if we had applied the precautionary principle earlier on we would have limited emission. As a result of all of this, efforts are being made in order to limit the amount of carbon emissions that every country can produce. A better way to make Millstein’s claim is to say that the precautionary principle would have indicated global warming is an unintended and negative side effect of pollution. In my opinion, climate change justifies the precautionary principle as opposed the precautionary principle justifying climate change. Furthermore, chronology is important as well. We accept that climate change, in retrospect, is an unintended consequence of global warming. However, the precautionary principle is also a method of determining a course of action for the future.

The example in the CRISPR article relates heavily with rejecting the idea that it has been shown that all GMO products are safe to use. This is because you are evaluating future action and the potential consequences of those actions as opposed to considering a string of events that has led to accepting a certain conclusion (climate change).

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby eugenekim » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:18 pm

The precautionary principle involves product, idea, or process whose end effects are disputed or unable to come to a consensus, and thus should be rejected. The reason why Millstein believes that it leads us to accept the truth of climate change yet rejects the truth of the claim that GMO’s are safe is because she believes that they should not be lumped together in the same category as GMO’s critics have a valid argument against the potential harm it may cause. She points to the fact that evolution needs to be comprehended in order to understand some of the concerns for GMOs. To exemplify this assertion even further, Millstein points to the fact there is something biologically new about GMOs. For example, using distantly related genes can affect other genes and affect the expression of other genes in unpredictable ways. As a result to think that all GMOs are the same would be faulty logic as one GMO could have a hugely diverse affect than another. It may be partially due to this factor that the evidence for the safety of GMO’s is subpar. Furthermore, testing for GMOs most of the time is voluntary and not mandatory with many of these tests being short term. I agree with Milstein that GMO critics have a stronger argument than evolutionary and climate change deniers. With CRISPR, people are worried that being easily able to manipulate the DNA of organisms and humans may play a potentially dangerous role in the future. For example, researchers are worried that although it may seem to be a good idea in the short-run to eradicate the world of mosquitoes, there could be serious consequences by creating such a move. In this case, it is more like the GMO issue than the climate change issue as like the GMO concern, manipulating genes could have serious unintended consequences when factoring in the role of other genes playing a part as well.

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Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby Selestine » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:20 pm

The precautionary principle is the resistance to the introduction of the GMOs since their effects to the human beings are still unknown. And scientists haven’t provided a concrete proof to indicate the short and long-term effects that could be resulted from the GMOs. The environmental effects that are resulted by the GMOs are mostly documented and scientists have been able to provide evidence as to why certain climate changes occurred as a result of introduction of some of the GMOs. As an example Millstein says that, “In 2012, the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) website listed 22 Roundup-resistant weed species in the United States. Dow AgroSciences estimates that 100 million acres in the United States are already impacted by Roundup-resistant weeds; Dow has used this estimate to argue for the deregulation of 2,4-D corn. 2,4-D is considered a more toxic herbicide, with a heightened risk of birth defects, more severe impacts on aquatic ecosystems, and more damage to nearby crops and plants” (Millstein, pg. 8). So this leads us to accept the truth of climate change. But I don’t think that having the environmental effects known out is the only reason as to why people accept the truth about the climate change. I do think that people are always very sensitive when it comes things that can affect them directly and not indirectly. So they tend to pay less attention to the environmental effects that can be resulted by GMOs and thus accept easily to the truth that is connected to climatic changes.

The precautionary principle is against the issue of using CRISPR to engineer ecosystems. CRISPR is a genome editing technology that results into GMOs. So the principle doesn’t support the introduction of GMOs since some people are scared of the negative effects that would result. As an example some people think that GMOs contain toxic and hence it would end up causing harm to them. Using CRISPR I do think that it is more of a GMO issue since it mainly intends in modifying some genomes in organisms so that they could have certain desired traits. As an example, in the talk show about CRISPR they talked about how it could be used to alter some genomes in unborn babies so that they could not continue to carry some inherited genes that are responsible in causing certain diseases.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby msnelmida » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:05 pm

I think in context that Roberta Millstein is referring to the “precautionary principle” in her article, GMOs? Not So Fast, it meant as a principle that people must act upon or follow when dealing with actions on a community or society that may lead to ultimate harm to society, global human health, or environment. Notably on a scientific stand point or perspective in reference to current scientific evidences or current accepted scientific theories and law. It often involves ethical issues that large group do that may negatively affect the environment and its inhabitants as well as the type of regulations must be suggested to prevent anything that may lead to harmful states or events. Now on Millstein’s article she talks about GMO labeling and claim that such “precautionary principle” may not work when discussing problems with GMO and will eventually lead people to deny anything beneficial about GMO products. Millstein reasoning is that when discussing about truth about climate change, evolution, and GMOs people will refer to current scientific theories and empirical evidences. An example would be physical and statistical data. Climate change has been shown time and time again from scientific data collected that it is occurring. Applying such to GMOs it can be shown that simple from “value free” science those genetically manipulating organisms may lead to unknown mutations which may be at times harmful. Now looking at past examples mistakes made by biotechnology companies with GMO that lead to unethical harmful events to the environment and a community this seem to indicate that gene splicing or editing only leads to harm. One cannot lump the two because GMO science is far from being “value free” because GMO is specifically made for the benefits of the consumers and even ridding of harmful alternatives. This reasoning is being denied by those that are anti GMO and evidences that GMO is not fully proven to be harmful by studies and lack of it thereof does not constitute it to be bad right away. Now in a similar situation there is CRISPR which focuses more on human physiology and health. I think CRISPR is more like the GMO issue we just needed more useful data about it and like GMO there will be some ethical issues and non-reversible harm can occur if not approached properly. It does not mean that we should abandon such idea altogether because there are some benefits to consider.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby sarahsilverman » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:07 pm

The precautionary principle states that if some proposed initiative could possibly cause harm to the public, and a consensus has not been reached by experts in the relevant field, then those who carry out that initiative are responsible for any harm that comes of it. Those individuals should likely choose to be conservative in their actions, lest they cause harm to the public. According to Millstein, even is there is no scientific consensus on the nature of climate change, those who want to further the use of fossil fuels and produce greenhouse gases should limit these activities in light of the cautionary principles (ie their activities are the ones that have the potential to cause harm). In this case, we should follow the vector of the scientific community and limit greenhouse gas emissions because of the potential harm. In the case of GMOs, the cautionary principle pushes us to go against the scientific community’s general opinion that GMOs are safe for human consumption. In this case, the potential for harm comes with producing and consuming GMOs, which scientists have thus far found to be safe. I think the only gap in Millstein’s argument is that the cautionary principle does not necessarily take into account the potential benefits of some of the the technologies in question. For example, a genetically modified mosquito could dramatically prevent the spread of deadly diseases, and that potential benefit needs to be weighed against the risks involved with the production of GMOs. Applying the cautionary principle to CRISPR would mean that until the scientific community reaches a consensus on the safety and potential collateral damage of CRISPR, we avoid using it, certainly on humans, and maybe on other organisms as well. I think that CRISPR is more akin to GMOs than to climate change in terms of the applicability of the cautionary principle because there are few potential benefits to the continued emission of greenhouse gases, but many potential benefits of the use of GMOs and CRISPR to improve human health and well being.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby kgbaidoo » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:23 pm

Precationary Principle is a principle that states that if an an action or policy has a suspected rick of causing harm to the public pr the environment, in the absence pf a scientific consensus that the action is not harmful, the burden of proof that is is not harmful falls on those taking an action.It can aslo be defined as the the principle used by policy maker to justify the discretionary decision in situations where there is possibility of harm from making certain decisions when extensive scientific knowlege on the matter is lacking.In Millstein's point of view precautinary principles are principles that needs to be agreed on by the the whole population for the safety of both the environment and the organims that live in it.I am a lover of of food and I do not not have any problem with GMOs because they make life easier for people in the poorer parts of the world by providing them with a lot of food and livestocks on which they survive.I certainly did not have any knowlege about how harmful GMOs are to living organisms and the envirionment
until I was done reading Millstein's article.
According to Millstein's article the precautionary periciples cause us to accept the the truth about climate but it also at the same time falsely decieves in to rejecting GMOs because GMOs unlike the climate changes does not affect the environment or humans.She explainst this by using the pharse value- laden.According to Millstein the public is made to believe that the value of burining of fossil fuel is evry beneficial but at the same time, they cause climate changes that are very harmful to to humans.According to Millstein, propponents of GMOs or the government makes us believe that bruning fossil fuel is bad but the consumption is of GMOs products are not harmless to humans and the environment even though they are.Her main arguement is that is that even though both climate science and GMOs are both value-ladened proponents of GMOs, the goverment, and GMOs farmers deny the fact GMOs have are bad for us and the envirionement.The government make people believe that burning fossil fuels is bad for our health and the enevirionment but the same goverment cause the public reject the fact GMOs are harmful for us.All she is trying to put across is that is both things under comaprism haves that are imortant to the public then they must treated equally.Even though GMOs are help in feeding most of the world's population, I just think it will be fair it they are labelled the safety people who are allergic GMOs products .I aslo think that one of Millstein's main agruement about why the public is made to reject the fact that GMOs are harmful is that GMO companies are yet to provide a longterm research to prove the safety of GMO product for Humans.Most people continue to eat gmo products beause there are no proofs to show that gmos are bad for the envirionment and for our health.I am very confident that if people knwe that some to the gmo foods can cause cancer, they avoid eating them.

I think the precationary principles applies to Crispr in the same as it applies to climate changes because they inform the public the truth about crispr.The pblic is informed that even though crispr is very impotant in the editing disease in our genome and helps in fixing disease causing mutation, it also it downsides.This is because Crispr has so many ethical concern, that may cause serious damage when used to a certain point in the human.Scientists as well as the goverment are are concerned about the negatives effects of crispr.They think the technology is not ready to be used yet eventhough it could be useful.Crispr is more like a cilmate change is because it its negative outcome are treated with much concern just as the climate change issues.After the experiment on the embryos in China, scientist are more careful and concern about how crisper might affect humans and the entire world as a whole.

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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby SamGarcia25 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:40 pm

The precautionary principle dictates that in the event where something, whose consequences are poorly understood and is thought to potentially threaten health or the environment, should have precautionary steps taken to prevent such harm. These steps suggested normally assume the form of policy, where environmental scientists work closely in conjunction with policymakers to predict and prevent damage before it becomes a problem.

In regard to why the precautionary principle leads us to accept the truth of climate change and reject the truth of the claim the GMOs have been shown to be safe, studies support a scientific consensus that the effects of climate change will negatively affect the planet and preventive action needs to be taken before the damage becomes irreversible. This has been demonstrated in the efforts to reduce harmful emissions and the hunt for alternative fuel sources. The difference in level of uncertainty between climate change studies and GMO studies is reflected in the multidisciplinary studies conducted on each topic. The consensus of climate change arose from the efforts of study on multiple levels; chemically, the change in the ocean’s composition; molecularly, the high mutation rate found in some marine organisms; ecologically, the odd mass migration of birds and high death rate of marine organisms. The focus of GMOs has been narrower, emphasizing on environment only rather than interactions between different levels of science. This lack of understanding in complexity, along with the absence of solid long-term studies on GMOs and lax oversight of regulation, has contributed to the high level of uncertainty.

The middle ground position the author takes avoids outrageous claims and I saw no clear inconsistencies in their argument. The precautionary principle in the context of CRISPR use to engineer ecosystems is analogous to the “do no harm” principle physicians uphold while examining sick patients. The unknown and potentially irreversible damage claims by scientists suggest measures should be taken to prevent this before proceeding. In this sense, I believe the CRISPR issue is more like the GMO issue than the climate change one because there is a lack of consensus on consequence and evident ambiguity on the matter.

Nancy Galeno
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Re: Fourth prompt (due Sunday, Sept. 6 by 11:59 p.m.)

Postby Nancy Galeno » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:47 pm

The “precautionary principle” that Millstein refers to has to do with the fact that many people tend to believe things not because they are informed but because they feel it is better to have precaution just in case. This precautionary principle applies to the issue of using CRISPR to engineer ecosystems because for the same reason as given in the article, it could affect predators higher up in the food chain. We have to not only think about the organism that is actually being altered but also the other organisms that it encounters who may also be impacted. Similarly, as in the argument given before people may believe that it is better that organisms are not modified in such way because we do not know the long lasting impacts. It is a way of being precautions towards something that we do not know to outcome.

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