Modifying Creation? GM Foods

If you are expecting this book to provide you with the definitive 'Christian Answer' to the issue of genetic modification (GM) and genetically modified foods, it does not give it. However, if you are looking for a book which will explain the science behind the GM debate in a simple fashion and provide you with balanced and thought provoking arguments both for and against GM from a Christian perspective, then it is well worth reading. The supporting scripture verses also demonstrate how the Bible can be used to inform decision making on the GM issue.

Not only does the book discuss the science of GM, but also the wider issues surrounding the public's expectations of the scientific community and political and corporate power structures in the 21st century. The British public expects science to be able to provide all the answers which, as Christians, we know it cannot. However, following various scares in recent years (BSE, Foot and Mouth), there is also a great mistrust of science and politicians almost as a matter of principal without any reference to the supporting data. It seems to have been forgotten that as recently as the 1950's the UK could not produce enough food to feed the population. Science has gone a long way to providing us with a safe and reliable food supply. Many people in other countries do not have this luxury and may view the risks of GM in a different way from those in the well-fed West.

As with so many current issues undergoing public scrutiny, this book demonstrates that the GM question does not have a clear-cut answer. The boundary between 'traditional' plant breeding and GM is not as obvious as the tabloid press would like us to believe. Such a situation also exists when discussing organic food, local production or fair-trade. The assertion that organic is 'more healthy' or 'more natural' needs to be viewed in the context of the fact that all farming systems are artificial when compared to the original landscape of Britain.

The key issue raised by the authors is not whether GM is inherently good or bad, but how the GM technology is being marketed and developed by the multi-national companies who have patented the technologies used. The book demonstrates how a Christian perspective should not preclude all scientific advances, but view such progress in the light of God's command to care for his creation.

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