When it comes to biological organisms, psychological essentialism refers to the tendency to think of species as being defined by some underlying essence that makes an individual the kind of organism that it is, and that gives rise to its core properties, such as what it looks like and how it tastes. Essentialist biases are one reason people have a hard time wrapping their heads around human evolution. Natural selection requires variation within a species (that’s what fuels differential reproduction!), whereas a shared essence highlights what’s common across individuals of a species, not how they differ. Moreover, the idea of common descent implies that new species can gradually evolve from earlier species, which challenges the idea that species boundaries are clear-cut, with each species corresponding to a unique essence.
When it comes to GMOs, essentialist beliefs arise in a few forms. One recent paper reported greater opposition to transgenic modifications (which involve crossing species boundaries) than to cisgentic modifications (within the same species), mirroring people’s greater resistance to macroevolution (which crosses putative “essence” boundaries) than to microevolution (which does not). Another study found that most Americans believe that tomatoes with catfish genes would taste “fishy,” mirroring other domains in which essentialist beliefs lead to inaccurate views about transmission. For instance, some people believe that the recipient of an organ transplant could acquire the personal characteristics of the donor, potentially because they believe that some of the donor’s essence is transmitted along with the organ.
I just signed a petition urging the FDA to keep GMO salmon out of the US. I think you should, too.
AquaBounty, the company creating the first-ever genetically modified salmon for human consumption, is playing fast and loose with environmental regulations, and we may end up paying the price.The FDA is still considering approval of the company’s dangerous GMO salmon. This could have huge ramifications if we don’t speak up to prevent it.
How would a labratory function in a solarpunk society? Do gmos have a place?
Laboratory is a very broad term – I don’t see why labs wouldn’t still exist in a huge diversity of ways in a solarpunk environment.
As for GMOs, that’s a difficult question: in theory, genetically modifying plants is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, that could be vastly helpful in generating the quantity and quality of food necessary to sustain a population with a far, far smaller land-use footprint – and modifying plants to use as technologies themselves is another fascinating and, I think, very solarpunk field. Bioluminescent plants for lighting comes to mind.
But GMOs as they exist today aren’t that. They’re proprietary seeds that are designed to produce commercially attractive vegetables (Make the oranges oranger, not make the oranges healthier) and they generate a mechanism by which major corporations can create artificial monopolies on control of natural resources.
It’s not the plants’ fault. GMOs aren’t dangerous because they’ve been fiddled with genetically. They’re dangerous because they’ve been granted patents, and they empower systems of structural oppression.
[…] the small number and type of animals used in the study mean that “no definitive conclusions can be reached.” The known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague–Dawley strain of rat ”cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups,” it added.
Its bad science, period. And it is an outlier. There have been hundreds if not thousands of studies performed. If this result came up often it would be a concern. It doesn’t.