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Is Nassim Taleb a “dangerous imbecile” or just on the pay of the anti-GMO mafia? | Genetic Literacy Project

Taleb is known for his disagreeable personality–as Keith Kloor at Discover noted, the economist Noah Smith has called Taleb a “vulgar bombastic windbag”, adding, “and I like him a lot”–and he has a right to flaunt an ego bigger than the Goodyear blimp. But that doesn’t make his argument any more persuasive.

The crux of his claims: There is no comparison between conventional selective breeding of any kind, including mutagenesis which requires the irradiation or chemical dousing of seeds and has resulted in more than 2500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, almost all available in organic varieties versus what his calls the top-down engineering that occurs when a gene is taken from an organism and transferred to another ignoring that some forms of genetic engineering, including gene editing, do not involve gene transfers. Taleb goes on to argue that the chance of ecocide, or the destruction of the environment and potentially humans, increases incrementally with each additional transgenic trait introduced into the environment. In other words, in his mind it’s a classic “black swan” scenario.

via Is Nassim Taleb a “dangerous imbecile” or just on the pay of the anti-GMO mafia? | Genetic Literacy Project.

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