I’ve done a lot of thinking lately about why people are so fervently spreading the anti-GMO rhetoric when so much of it is based on faulty science, hype, fear and propaganda – and they don’t even know it. Dr. Cami Ryan has apparently been thinking about it too and she has an excellent guest post here in Discover’s Collide-a-Scape. (Scroll down to May 30 entry.)
Ryan cites studies to back up the following four (paraphrased) assertions about jumping-on-the-bandwagon behavior. I will use the pronoun “we” to illustrate the point that this is common human behavior. Parenthetic additions are mine.
1. We love to buy into conspiracies.
2. We are heavily influenced by images (and they stick).
3. In order to adapt to any and all situations, we look for order (even if it’s not there or is wrong).
4. We want to fit in (though we may not admit it).
Source Article: Why GMO Myths Are So Appealing And Powerful by Cami Ryan
As a former anti-GMO pundit (I know, oxymoron, but bear with me) I’m going to flesh out the above assertions with some details. And yes, the ‘details’ are all anecdotal, but definitely firsthand.
My use of the pronoun “you” below is to be considered the collective “you”.
Your emotions are engaged right from the get go because you learn you’ve been eating GMO food, unbeknownst for just short of 20 years. With that comes an initial “yuck” factor. It’s artificial. It’s not natural. It must be bad.
Then if there is some kind of trigger like, say, you have an allergic child, a child with a disorder or a disease***, or in my case, you hike along a corn field that is being sprayed with a nasty chemical and you can’t breathe – that makes the initial finding out about GMOs a very negative experience if you aren’t already knowledgeable about the technology. So you google GMOs and what comes up? Anti-GMO websites – hundreds of them. And they all say the same thing, which you believe.
Then you get lazy because you see the same thing over and over and by the sheer repetition, you figure it must be true. Why do any research? You’ve got the facts right here on this and that website. You sometimes wonder why mainstream news outlets are such dummies and ignoring this issue and every now and then, a mainstream news outlet releases an anti-GMO leaning article and you feel vindicated.
If by chance you come across real science concerning GMOs, you probably ignore it or tow the party line and think it is “bought” somehow and couldn’t be true. You don’t trust science. Accusations fly.
But, every now and then, you might just stumble across information you simply can’t ignore, or accuse of being biased, as was the case with me, and some of the doubts you’ve been shoving under the carpet creep up into your conscious mind and bam, you are staring at the truth.
***I am not making light of disorders, diseases or allergies. I and members of my family have several, but I don’t blame them on GMOs.
~Julee K @ Sleuth4health
For further reading regarding anti-GMO views: Understanding Opposing Views
This article was updated on 6/3.