Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Right to Equality... Species Equality: seeds & plants

When Bill Gates spoke at the World Economic Forum, in March 2011,
he stated that it is important to get "better seeds" to more countries.
He said this phrase twice, very easily,
as if they were just more words in a long conversation.
and his interviewer asked for no explanations.

I was shocked by the term "better seeds."
What makes one seed better than another?
Gates was referring to genetically-modified seeds, a very
controversial topic in the fields of agriculture and sustainability.
But by using the word better inserted for genetically-modified (GM),
Gates was able to dodge the controversy and no one paused.

Genetically modified (GM) soybean plants grow at Monsanto’s automated greenhouse in Raleigh, N.C.
So what is the meaning of equality in regards to seeds and plants?
I am reminded of plants referred to as 'parasites' or 'invasive.'
Or, I think of how we humans refer to ourselves as "top" of the food chain,
as thinking beings, "superior" beings to the rest of species,
an attitude with roots from Descartes's philosophy of "I think, therefore I am."

This is not a post about GM foods, which was posted here,
if you want to view this discussion.

This is a post about species equality.
We compare humans vs. humans, humans vs. other species,
and we compare plant specimens. And now seeds?
Why do humans feel the need to compare any tree as better or worse than another tree?

Iconic image of human vs. human inequality:
poor favelas next to high-rise luxury apartments in Brazil.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

From seeds we get plants, and plants are a living organism. Since plants are considered living in any sense, then plants have the right, just as humans and animals do, for equality. Is anything, simply because it is genetically enhanced, automatically considered better? I do not belive so, I just think it makes it different.

Mercy

Anonymous said...

Are we the top of the food chain? Should we care, or respect the rights of other species? Every species has a right to be treated with dignity, respect and care. We should live in balance with nature. Not abusing or discriminating against other species.

Help make a difference. mjd

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lN_YcWOuVqk

Anonymous said...

I guess, because the seed was "genetically modified", we consider it as better than one that is not. Humans really dont have the right to compare other species, we just do because we can!.....NYH

Anonymous said...

Humans should reflect about how much intervention is there towards plants, animals, or any living organism that is being genetically modified. How is this impacting nature? Is it healthy for humans? Nature has its course and there is a reason for things in life, just like there is a food chain. If we keep part taking on natural processes for plants, or animals to grow bigger, or seedless; eventually it will get to us somehow. Therefore, better seeds should be more naturally, healthy seeds, or plants that will benefit the ecosystem and the food chain. COCO.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, to obtain better seeds are a very good way to produce healthy plants, fruits, vegetables, etc. It is a basic concept, when you plant using a good seeds, the harvest is good too. MCC

Anonymous said...

Who are we to say which seed is better than the other. We are said to be at the top of the food chain. Whether we are on top or not these living organisms have rights too. AVJ

Anonymous said...

All seeds are equal, just as all humans are equal. Being humans we might believe their are some seeds that are superior to others, not because they are "king" seeds but because they might be more beneficial for us as consumers. They might carry more nutrients or vitamins that might be vital in our diets and daily lives.
AS

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, we have the obligation to respect plants and seeds not only because they are livings, but also because we need them to live. We all have a purpose of existence and depend from each other; therefore, there should not be comparisons. CPO.

Anonymous said...

Who are we to claim what is "superior or better'? We must always treat humans, plants and animals equally. We must never forget, that we share and benefit from each other.
Samrog

Anonymous said...

Its funny that when people hear words like "genetically modified", they start to think that its better for us, but if Im not mistaking, I have always heard that natural and being natural was always healthier.
A252

Anonymous said...

There is not specie that is better than the other. Our chromosomes are equally distributed in all the species. Our comparisons are sometime based on the material thing, which I think is very inappropriate. On the other hand, I agree to generically manipulation to make things more advance scientifically, but I have to mention that nothing is better than the natural creation that comes from the earth.
Apple

Anonymous said...

No matter what the species, every species has a right to grow on their own, and to be original. To be genetically inhanced does not make any species better than another. To be better than another is only the perception or opinion of another. J.A.

Anonymous said...

I think many people are getting caught up on these simple terms and phrases. G.M. or not, the fact is there are better seeds that can lead to better nutrition. Keep science in my health.

Anonymous said...

^^^L.O.

Anonymous said...

Bill Gates used the word, “better” because he is acknowledging acceptance. To accept genetically engineered seeds is opening the door to the unknown. When do we stop altering nature and where does it stop? If we fully understood the consequences and the effects, would we continue? We seem to want only what is easy, and what is fast. SAM

Anonymous said...

Humans feel the need to compare any tree as better or worse than another tree, because with everything in society, it is a comparison. We compare and contrast just about everything we can, because it is our way of voicing our opinion, Is it right? Of course it is not, especially when it is about equality. Humans, animals, plants and seeds should all be considered equal. -SA

Anonymous said...

Humans strive for perfection and will continuing looking for new ways to improve our society. Genetic engineering allows us to enhance desired traits such as resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. These genetic modifications are presumably “better” than the plants that have not been altered. ANC

Anonymous said...

The word better did not only mean genetically advanced. He also ment seeds that could survive in a harsher climate and an environment with very little oxygination. In my opinion he was not comparing one type of seed to the other. He was just stating a fact.

Anonymous said...

The word better did not only mean genetically advanced. He also ment seeds that could survive in a harsher climate and an environment with very little oxygination. In my opinion he was not comparing one type of seed to the other. He was just stating a fact.

RJA

Anonymous said...

We see ourselves as superiors to everything on earth and feel the need to perfect them further than Mother Earth has. Genetically-modified (GM) seeds is one examples of how we cause more harm than good. GM plants are linked to bee colonies disappearing. DDL
http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/47379683/#47379683

Anonymous said...


No matter how you look at it, a genetically modified seed is better than a seed that has not been genetically modified. No living organism is really created equally as all others of its species. Humans, for example, are not all equal. Sure, some of us have equal RIGHTS and we fight for them but we’re still not all equal physically or mentally. Seeds cannot fight for equality because they can’t speak or act like we can. Bill Gates was right in saying that some places are in need or “better seeds”. That way people can get better crops, plants, and produce.

JB

Anonymous said...

In reality and by natures preference one tree is not better than the other, its just a tree. But to us humans a tree gains its value according to how it can serve us, or how it could be of use to us. LMI

Anonymous said...

Well everything starts at the seed, and as genetically-enhanced seeds or "better seeds" these have been modified to produce more food from one seed and survive in harsh climates. For example, in Africa where only the weather is not adequate to grow crops, with "better seeds," crops can grow without the need for much water or places that do have the adequate weather can grow more crops for the country.


-AM

Anonymous said...

Nothing in this world is created equally, because if it were then all the problems we face today would be gone. I do believe that humans are the superior species because of our capabilities. It may be wrong for humans to label what is better or worse, good or bad, but it is in our nature to have the best things to help us survive. Therefore, if these “genetically-modified,” seeds were to benefit humans, then yes they should be labeled “better,” seeds.

JPK

Anonymous said...

Species of the same group of organism have equal ‘’rights’’ because they belong to the same ‘’family’’. The previous affirmation doesn’t mean that every specie have the same behavior or function. For instance, some trees may be better to construct houses and others are better to construct furniture. There is not better specie if we compare each organism of the same family; what we can compare is what specie would be better doing a function or behavior in certain way. HA

Anonymous said...

Actually, we as human beings are the one's who enjoy all species.I think all species were placed in this earth for us to delight our eyes with beautiful scenery, and our emmotions on how they transform them. In a graceful and pleasant view of many different species of plants we may feel sad or happy. We just express our feelings regarding each different kind of species of plants depending if we personally like them or not. Even though we know that comparing one specie to another is absurd, do to the fact that every specie has its own beauty. A M V

Anonymous said...

I think that all people are equal all that we ourselves put as difference is wealth by which has more money believed to be more important that which has less. The truth that as human beings and as good Christians would be ideal that has the ability to have more it should be able to help that has less and so we would be a better society.DAM

Anonymous said...

I believe with science humans should be able to genetically enhance crops to solve or help alleviate hunger around the world. With our intellect, it is our responsibility to experiment with nature, to an extent, especially if it will save lives. With that being said, we must treat nature with respect because without it there would be no human race. BB

Anonymous said...

The right of equality of every organism on earth is as important as anything else. I believe that whatever happens to nature is in our hands, if there are plants in danger, we should take care of them and prevent extinction from happening. Having to see "better" seeds means, in my opinion, the we are not taking care of what nature gave us. SVV

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, we have been raised to think of ourselves as superior. When one plants benefits us more than others do, our mind automatically thinks, ‘better’! In a perfect world, I would like to think that everyone and everything is equal. However, in reality, a plant has no choice what happens to it or if their being treated equally! HL

Anonymous said...

I feel humans generally think they are on top of the food chain and should manipulate things so they can benefit us. It’s selfish to think that way. We should leave things the way they are. BG

Anonymous said...

This comparison is based on means of survival the genetically modified seeds made to withstand harsher weathers and grow more efficiently but, you have to take into consideration are these seeds more beneficial or could they be harmful? I have always believed the natural way is the best way.
Rv646

Anonymous said...

Maybe we find that some trees serve a better purpose than other trees do. We seem to view everything that is beneficial to us as "better." ECZ

Anonymous said...

People have the need to find things greater in excellence or higher in quality. In this case it was trees or seeds. People always strive for more, but more is merely only one’s opinion. JPA

Anonymous said...

I believe this right or at least the argument being made to support this right conflicts with another key right. That right that I find the conflict with is the right to improvement or the right to refine. equality is taught to be the right thing when I find it to be lacking and in contradiction to the science of evolution, which is so strongly taught by liberal minded education. It is taught that survival of the fittest is the way are species progresses it can not progress if everything is always equal. MAR III

Anonymous said...

It is human nature to discriminate within same species, not only for humans, but plants, and animals also. We see a golden retriever, and immediately feel drawn and attracted towards it. On the other hand, if it is a pit-bull, most people tend to reject it. We brag about our rights of equality, but we do not see thing equally.

GS

Anonymous said...

Equality, a word use by many in an attempt to manipulate the will of others, especially people in power. Equality does not exit. EL

Anonymous said...

Whether it’s a human being, species, or a seed, everyone and everything should have the rights.
SM

Annabel Guerra said...

Nothing and no one is equal. We say that everyone and everything is equal, but it's not true.

Anonymous said...

The idea of comparing can possibly fall under our need to classify or categorize. Things can be equal legally, maybe even ethically, but classifying is part of how we think. Friend, foe, elder, partner, ect.
Although, maybe accepting these differences could be the key. The next step might be to have every member contribute to a cause, and to try and figure out what the right choices truely are.

Anonymous said...

The idea of comparing can possibly fall under our need to classify or categorize. Things can be equal legally, maybe even ethically, but classifying is part of how we think. Friend, foe, elder, partner, ect.
Although, maybe accepting these differences could be the key. The next step might be to have every member contribute to a cause, and to try and figure out what the right choices truely are. MV

Anonymous said...

Whether it makes someone sound pretentious or not, the reality is that every species is superior to one another in certain ways. Fish are superior to dogs when it comes to swimming. With that example in mind it is perfectly fine to say a certain species is superior to another. - ID

Anonymous said...

Who would dare say GOMs are "better seeds?" Did you ever think of what it can do to your health? Whatever occurs at the bottom of the food chain will affect the balance at the top. Just like pills, they help solve one problem, but create another. "Remember to much of something, can actually be bad for you."-Mark Twain

I believe plants are at the top of the food chain because if they all became instinct, well guess who would die? I'll give you a hint, us humans will.

http://www.organicauthority.com/foodie-buzz/eight-reasons-gmos-are-bad-for-you.html

SMiLeY

Anonymous said...

The right to equality expresses something that for the most part, I believe is going to be an issue. Why? Because there are always going to be arrogant people who just have to put down, or compare themselves to someone inferior to them. Unfortunately, this has been the case and because of it, there is so much corruption in the world.

DBP

Anonymous said...

What exactly makes a seed better than another seed? Who are we to say? Saying GM seeds are better than other seeds is like comparing someone who has more more money than someone else. You can't necessarily call it better because it has something different. If seeds grow into plants, and humans depend on plants, we shouldn't have to compare them to each other. They all serve their purpose.