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# Plant scientists have been able to genetically engineer

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19 May 2005, 17:40
Another D.
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19 May 2005, 18:09
One more for D.
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19 May 2005, 20:24
I agree with Paul on B.
I think that the portion in Bold-Red is using external knowledge (though common sense) which is not encouraged by ETS

Supercat wrote:
I can see the argument for (B), but I think it's second best to (D).

The rest are flatly irrelevent.

I prefer (D) because that's simply the most important question anytime you'd introduce a new seed/technology/method to farming -- how does that affect ultimate yield? If the new thing causes yields to be significantly lower per acre, then a farmer can't afford to plant it: that would make for an extremely unproductive acre of framland. And even if he did, supply would then be so low that the produce would be too expensive to catch on with consumers.

Although these seeds currently cost more than conventional seeds, their cost is likely to decline

-- this refers to cost of seeds, an input cost to the farmer, and has no affect on my argument above. Even if seeds become cheap, that does not mitigate unacceptably low crop yields: the cheapness of seeds would not affect supply & demand, hence price, of produce in the marketplace, if the bottleneck is in low crop yields.

farmers planting them can use far less pesticide, and most consumers prefer vegetables grown with less pesticide

-- The reason I don't think (B) is best, is that while a farmer might still use unnecessary amounts of pesticide on the genetically modified seeds, common sense suggests that a farmer would not spend extra money on new costly seeds -- whose only advantage is that they need less pesticide -- and then douse them in pesticides anyway, ruining their whole advantage. In other words, this situation would not be typical for the farmer, keenly aware that he has bought a very expensive bag of newfangled Frankenstein seeds, and you'd not expect the farmer to behave in a typical manner with respect to pesticide use.

Hence (D)

Last edited by Vithal on 19 May 2005, 20:24, edited 1 time in total.
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19 May 2005, 20:24
I would go with B

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19 May 2005, 21:40
Quote:
-- The reason I don't think (B) is best, is that while a farmer might still use unnecessary amounts of pesticide on the genetically modified seeds, common sense suggests that a farmer would not spend extra money on new costly seeds -- whose only advantage is that they need less pesticide -- and then douse them in pesticides anyway, ruining their whole advantage. In other words, this situation would not be typical for the farmer, keenly aware that he has bought a very expensive bag of newfangled Frankenstein seeds, and you'd not expect the farmer to behave in a typical manner with respect to pesticide use.

Supercat, this might be playing devil's advocate but what if those farmers HAVE to use excess pesticide? For example, they could be using excess pesticide because if they don't, and crops end up being rotten by insects, a whole harvest season could be ruined. Hence, more is better than not enough.
That is why this more directly questions the conclusion at hand and will allow us to judge the soundness of the conclusion. I do agree though that D is the next best answer for sure.
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19 May 2005, 22:38
Fact: We now have insect resistant seed.
Premise: These seeds currently cost more but their cost is likely to decline.
Premise: Farmers can use far less pesticide.
Premise: Consumers prefer vegetables grown with less pesticide.
Conclusion: For crops for which these seeds are available their use is likely to become the norm.

Which of the following would be most useful to know in evaluating the argument above?

A)Whether plant scientists have developed insect-resistant seeds for every crop that is currently grown commercially?
No need for evaluating this argument. For this argument is only applicable for crops for which these seeds are available.

B)Whether farmers typically use agricultural pesticides in large amounts than is necessary to prevent crop damage?
This is useful. Because if farmers have been using unnecessarily large amount of pesticide then the use of such seeds would likely to be less economical then to educate the farmers to NOT use large amount of pesticide. The later will solve all problems without have to resort to the insect resistant seeds and lend the argument to its failure.

C)Whether plants grown from the new genetically engineered seeds can be kept completely free of insect damage?
As long as it keeps most of the insect away, even if it's not completely free of insect damage the argument still stands.

D)Whether seeds genetically engineered to produce insect-resistant crops generate significantly lower per acre crop yields than do currently used seeds?
This is talking about cost. One of the premise already said that it is currently costly. So this would not bring any new info into the understanding of the issue. As long as the cost can be lowered sufficiently in the future this is not going to be a problem for the insect resistant seeds to become the future norm.

E)Whether most varieties of crops currently grown commercially have greater natural resistance to insect damage than did similar varieties in the past.
Kind of irrelevant, don't you think?

So my choice would be B.
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21 May 2005, 11:38
Heck, we've all thrown in our chips, lets see the hand.
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21 May 2005, 12:00
B. The whole thing revolves around pesticides, and insect resistance, yeilds are out of scope imo
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21 May 2005, 16:55
I would go for B ....

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