The resurrection of a mammoth canola oil thread has brought this question to my mind. In that thread, people distrust the safety of canola oil because it comes from a genetically modified plant. I don't understand why people have such a negative reaction when the subject of GMOs is brought up. Doesn't everything we eat come from GMOs? In the modern day fruits are sweeter, vegetables larger, animals more docile, and foodstuffs of all kinds are cheaper than they ever have been thanks to increased productivity from selective breeding.
Speaking as a non-scientist and non-farmer, it seems the only difference between doing these manipulations in the barnyard, the greenhouse, the orchard, or the test tube is the level of precision and speed involved. When Europeans first landed in the Americas, an ear of maize was the size of your little finger. It took thousands of years of laborious selective planting for that finger-sized ear to turn into today's high-yield sweet corn. You think if those early farmers had access to modern agricultural GM technology, that they wouldn't have used it without a second thought? Bring on the modern GMOs I say. How else are we going to feed everyone on this overcrowded little dirt ball.
So for those opposed to GMOs, what am I missing? To you, what is the fundamental difference between the traditional and scientific approaches to genetic modification?