VIDEO: Neil deGrasse Tyson says GMO critics need to ‘chill out’

Aside from defending climate science and battling creationists, Cosmos star Neil deGrasse Tyson has taken a strong stand on another controversial scientific topic: Genetically modified foods.

Aside from defending climate science and battling creationists, Cosmos star Neil deGrasse Tyson has taken a strong stand on another controversial scientific topic: Genetically modified foods.

“Practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food,” asserts Tyson. “There are no wild, seedless watermelons. There’s no wild cows…You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself, is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it’s not as large, it’s not as sweet, it’s not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it. We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called artificial selection.”




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    Jamie Acevedo

    July 31, 2014 at 1:24 am

    BOOO. Gross over0simplification. Clearly drinking the Monsanto kool-aid.

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    July 31, 2014 at 1:54 am

    what I object to in the GMO and GE food is the gene splicing of human genes with rice plants, spider genes with goats so the goat;s milk will be able to be spun to make fabric stronger than Kevlar for safety vests for the military. These are a couple of examples of GMO and GE experimentation.
    How would you like your rice to contain human genes in it ? What will it do to people who eat this altered food ? When asked why the scientists did it, they responded, because we can. They do not know what kind of outcome it might have on people.

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    Michael J. Pierce MD

    July 31, 2014 at 4:16 am

    Dude, you’re so wrong…and so is the person who asked you this question. You and he should know that your expertise is in physics and planetary science. You clearly are unable to distinguish between hybridization or natural/artificial selection and genetic modification. You really have no business commenting on it, and should have said so.

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    Skip Moreland

    July 31, 2014 at 8:33 am

    My problem with GMOs is that they say their products are safe, but we don’t hear from the outside scientists. Tobbacco used to use their own scientists to tout the benefits of smoking, much like montsano and others do with GMOs. We need to hear more from the scientists outside their control talking about safety.
    The next problem is their control and the cost for their seed. I understand they need to make a profit on their development, but like big pharm in this country has no limit to the profit they make, these GMOs won’t have any limit either. Which means the poor will be paying lots down the road. Will we be able to afford their prices as they edge out all the competition?

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    July 31, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Of all people in this world, I would say that NDT is not simply “drinking the kool-aid.” He has a scientists passion and is thus naturally skeptical about the unknown. He does his research before making comments in a public forum. He is far better educated, particularly in regards to science, than 99% of our world, and probably knows enough about genetics and its relationships to know whether tinkering with the genetic code of plants is going to endanger us.

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    July 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    He’s right in that there exists little evidence suggesting GMOs are nutritionally different from non-GMOs, if not superior. The problem is that you support horrible agribusiness: those who are strangling farmers with things like BT corn and killing the bee population / polluting the planet with insecticides and herbicides / profiting off of lawsuits for cross pollination etc…

    THAT, is what you have to keep in mind. GMOs aren’t the problem, but agribusiness is a horrible problem.

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    July 31, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I do eat wild apples and I appreciate their slight tartness, I prefer them over store apples anyday, they are more crisp and yummy that way. Also cross-breeding fruit is totally different than lab modified food, Neil you are a scientist quit spewing misinformation propaganda. I’m supposed to trust Mosanto, a corporation that got sued for dumping thousands of tons of chemicals into a lake, that they have my well being at heart? PS: You are a meat advocate so clearly you don’t have much of a conscience so no vegan is gonna take you seriously. PS2: Silks been around for millenia, so obviously it’s natural, Neil you are so full of bs

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    Brian Kilburn

    July 31, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    not everyone who disagrees with you is on the take.

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    Brian Kilburn

    July 31, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I agree completely. GMO foods should be looked at on a case by case basis to assess their value or harm and the same goes for the corporations that create them. Monsanto has a lot of very destructive business practices. They deserve to be criticized or boycotted and probably prosecuted. It’s unfortunate that the issue of Monsanto’s business practices get tangled up in a lot of anti-scientific hype about GMO foods.

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    Skip Moreland

    July 31, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    When I posted, I should have remembered all of those reasons too.
    Another thing to add to the list, Monsanto sues farmers who save seeds after a harvest. Keeping seeds after a harvest is something most farmers do to cut down the bill for buying new seed every year. But because the seed is a patented product, saving seed is stealing from Monsanto (their view). Which means that every year the farmer must buy all their seed, a great expense.
    Climate change studies show that the GMOs will yield more in the future than the current varieties that we have now. Which means by tightly controlling the seed, farmers will have to pay more and Monsanto hopes for a monopoly. In addition, farmers will not be able to cross breed, which means the diversity of our crops will drop to just a few select varieties.
    That can be bad because pests and diseases have a way of overcoming plant resistances. If that happened and we depend on one variety of say corn, a pest or disease could evolve to wipe out entire crops over the world. Think potato blight in Ireland back in the 19th century that wiped out their potato crop and caused a famine.
    The “lumper” was the potato of choice for the Irish. But because of the way it propagated, it became a clone with low genetic variety. So when the blight hit, the variety of potato they used had no way to fight and the Irish had no other variety to plant that might have resisted the blight better.
    That is just one issue with the GMO seed. The pesticide version which kills all insects, good or bad, birds too. They poison the land and water. Their seed may be safe to eat for us, but there are so many other issues to complain about.

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    joe manente

    August 3, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Thank you for explaining this distinction.

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    August 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    He is a Monsanto clone!

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