Daryl Ilbury

Posts Tagged ‘anti-science hypocrisy’

The anti-GM hypocrisy

In Eish!, Fools, Politics, Science, Scoundrels on January 15, 2015 at 6:05 am

figure6I am both fascinated and frustrated by people who use advances in science and technology to object to advances in science and technology – it reeks of hypocrisy; and I reserve a special frothy ire for those who use all the scientific and technical means at their disposal (such as social media) to object to biotechnology, especially around genetically modified (GM) food. 

The recent decision by the EU to allow its member states to decide for themselves whether they should allow GM crop cultivation, has shaken the anti-GM lobby from their slumber, and they’re beginning to make a noise again.

Unless you’re someone who understands the science of biotechnology and the context within which the research and development takes place, the chances are you’ll sway towards, at least, being cautious towards GM food, your head swimming with warnings of contamination, or fears that if you eat GM food you’ll give birth to a child with three heads. 

And yet, you still want the right to have children. Yes, GM food and your right to have children are linked.

First of all, as I’ve said before – content is king, context is King Kong; so first, a little context: Scientists suffer the popular misperception that they:

  1. Like to tinker with nature – they just can’t let it be;
  2. Think mechanically – they just can’t stand back and respect the aesthetics of nature;
  3. Like to play God – they just can’t let nature be;
  4. Like to retain an aura of exclusivity and mystery – they think they’re better than everyone else;
  5. Have evil designs on the world.

Every scientist I’ve interviewed – and I’ve interviewed a lot – does research for the same reason: they are deeply fascinated with the natural world (especially their focus area) and wish to contribute to the greater public understanding and appreciation of it; and where it’s applied to usable products (technology), how it can improve the human condition. And whereas one or two of the scientists I know may lack the social graces of writers and artists, they’re certainly not evil!

And yet the anti-GM lobby would have you believe scientists are evil, because it serves their agenda to drill into you one thing: fear (here’s a typical example of more tempered fear-mongering).

The reality is that you’re already eating food that has been genetically modified, but over thousands of years – it’s called evolution; and the developments in GM food – such as increased pest-resistance – would more than likely happen naturally, but eventually.  

That would take time, time that a rapidly growing, eternally hungry, increasingly urbanised human population, with limited resources at its disposal, doesn’t have. The anti-GM lobby – and I’ve met a lot of them – seem ignorant of this fact (and are certainly ignorant of the science of biotechnology) and are happy to live their own precious lives enriched with all the trappings of science and technology, content to denigrate the very same science and technology that has an eye on feeding the future.