Science versus Nature: The debate continues
|| March 13, 2010||
According to Specter, a New Yorker staff writer and the author of Denialism, the answer lies in the genetically engineered food "since 40 per cent of the land and 70 per cent of the available water is already being used."
Suman Sahai, convenor of Gene Campaign, disagreed. Sahai, a plant geneticist who was on the Planning Commission’s Task Force on Biodiversity and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for the XIth Plan, cautioned saying that the "the idea of genetically engineered food is replete with postulates that are yet to be substantiated."
Specter and Sahai were discussing "Does Science work against Nature?" at the India Today Conclave here on Saturday. While both agreed that Science was the key to all future solutions, their divergent positions over the applicability of the technology and their incisive logic stirred a thought provoking discussion on the issue.
Specter began the discussion by picking the example of BT Brinjal—a genetically engineered product designed to give the plant resistance against insects—saying that putting a ban over it is a huge mistake because in the development of the new variety of GM food lies the seed to solve the future food issues.
As Specter saw it, 100,000 people are joining the middle class every day. He perhaps implied that there are now fewer hands involved in agriculture and therefore it is high time to go for advanced technologies.
Specter also acknowledged that there are risks as there are benefits in all GM food; but he insisted that since the benefits outweigh the risks, the forward approach must not be restricted.
It is time to embrace new technologies, along with acknowledging their benefits and threats, he said. "Remember, the alarm clock is ticking," Specter summed up.
This was a provocative session and worth a headline as Specter and Sahai confronted each other with hard scientific opinions and logical constructs. This almost set the record right that Science does not work against Nature though there is surely more than one argument against its applicability.
from the chairman
After a rocky start to thelooks forward to the promise that
new millennium, the world
the new decade brings - resurgent
economic growth in Asia, a new
security architecture to fight terror,
a fresh wave of technological
innovations, action on climate
change and less conflict.
More than ever before,
this decade holds
for India and the
Aroon Purie, Chairman
The India Today Group