Follow-up on "To GM or not to GM?"

In a previous post, I wrote about the controversy around a toxicity study of Monsanto crops. This post got a very valid comment, which I'd like to respond to here.

Paul wrote:
"de Vendomois' statistics are poor and not applicable to the Monsanto research data they used. The funding for their research was also funded in its entirity by Greenpeace. You have to ask yourself why Greenpeace/de Vendemois used the statistical approach they did knowing its flaws (as pointed out to them by the European Food Safety Authority in 2007). A cynic would suggest they conspired to use whatever method appeared to shed a negative light on GM crops. Would this collaboration have published truly independant research that showed no difference in toxicity between GM and Non-GM plants?
I'm no fan of multinational corporations profiting from our basic food needs, but the dodgy, deceitful and blindly prejudiced approaches used by NGOs such as Greenpeace as part of their scaremongering campaigns is far worse than the in-house research by companies like Monsanto as far as I can see."
This is a very good point.
One thing that made me rather uncomfortable when reading the Vendomois paper was my inability to follow the statistic acrobatics they performed. Which has prompted me to go and brush up on my statistics, but meanwhile, I can only pick up on the points that seem to be valid even without having to judge the validity of the statistics employed - the legal battle around data that was supposed to be public anyway, the fact that genetic manipulations as employed are more of a shotgun approach than anything else, and the failure of regulatory bodies to require elucidation of the (inadvertent) changes in the plants' genomes.

Generally, I'm in a bit of a troubling spot: I'm generally in favor of biotechnology, genetic manipulation, and whatnot, but also skeptical of how it is practiced today. I can stand neither the fear-mongering that Greenpeace and friends are spreading, nor the glorious promises and dubious practice of corporations like Monsanto. I'm trying to find my way in between these two extremes, which is rather difficult. Apparently, with the blog post in question, I haven't done a very good job at it.


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