GENTECH archive


New lists and new years

With this message, I expect to sign off for the year. Not remarkable in
itself (and hold your applause please), but I wanted to comment publically
on the new list planned by Werner.

Returning to some of Werner's comments:

>>When i startet gentech in 1995 i thought there was a need to have a
>>discussion forum open for everyone which wasn't there at this time.
>>It wasn't my purpose to attract advocates of GM, although i thought there
>>could be valuable contributions of both sides. Now i think that the most
>>former discussions were of minor value for the majority of readers.
>>Moreover, probably the apparently expert level and the technically focused
>>exchange of arguments intimitated many readers and led them abstain from
>>discussions. I know many readers who left the list because they didn't want
>>to take part in boring quarrels.

I have always thought that it was a measure of the strength of one's ideas
to subject them to public scrutiny and debate.  It seems to me that this is
a strength of Gentech and would be a weakness of any server that suppressed
dissent. Perhaps a debate is what you have when you are interested in the
outcome, but that this is seen only as a quarrel when your mind is made up.

I am particularly concerned with the apparent retreat from any realistic
scientific debate about the claims made by opponents of genetic engineering
on the grounds that it is "too technical".  The claims made by opponents
are written in pseudo-scientific language ("techno-babble" I think they
call it in the movies, with claims of protein folding and the like). It
seems to me that you can't have honestly expect to have it both ways: to
make, endorse or spread scientific sounding claims while objecting to the
application of any real science on the grounds that it is too technical.
If you are going to participate knowledgeably in the GE debate, you need to
learn a little real science, not just the words.  And as I have said
before, it is really not that hard.

Inspite of this gentle nudge, I thank Werner for maintaining the Gentech
server for the benefit of all.

Best wishes for the new year,