Here is an excellent post that touches on an interesting point: the classification of crops by technology instead of trait, and how that muddies the waters – and not in a good way. The author is specifically referring to EU regulations, but this could just as easily apply in the US, not so much from a policy standpoint, but from a public acceptance standpoint.
Here are the final two installments of the 10-part short video series put out by Greenstate TV titled “GMO Mythbusting”. This is an excellent at-a-glance series that so aptly touches on some of the main points of the public outcry against GMOs. The snippets are easily digestible and provide just enough information to hopefully make viewers want to know more.
GMO Research and the Non-Scientist
I speak often about non-scientists trying to comprehend science. I know I have repeated myself over and over but it’s so crucial to decide how one will interpret science in this day and age. As science and industry advance at what seems an ever increasing pace, we all have to decide how we are going to grapple with new technologies. When it comes to personal devices like tablets and phones, we can’t seem to get enough and we don’t care about the science, but crop biotechnology – a technology that has an impressive list of ways it has already helped and will help our global food production? Not so much.
Many non-scientists like myself are unable or more likely, unwilling to spend the time it would take to decipher and really understand complicated research so we have to put our trust in what others say about it. Every time we hear a news story, read an article or blog post about the newest threat, the latest “study” – it is incumbent on us as intelligent citizens to consider, at least, the following:
-Is the interpretation of the research correct in this post, article or story?
– Has the research or study met all criteria of the standard scientific method?
– Is the data being presented in its entirety or has it been cherry-picked to serve an agenda?
– Does any real data even exists at all? (this may seem obvious but some so-called studies make outlandish claims with no data whatsoever to support them)
– Correlation does not equal causation (perhaps THE most important point of all)
Believing the Experts
After once believing activists to the point of not questioning their often radical claims, I have since opted to trust public, independent scientists, institutions and agencies and to distrust activists. This is not because I believe activists are purposely lying. I am quite certain they unequivocally believe that GMOs will damage us and that mother earth’s natural biological processes are being harmed and will eventually be doomed.
Far worse than what they think is that they are sadly misinformed and unnecessarily frightened.
At some point I had to ask myself who the real experts are. There was only one answer. Surely those who have devoted their academic careers to this topic, who have presented and defended dissertations in a single area of expertise, who speak and breathe the vernacular of biology and genetics on a daily basis, who spend their Saturday evenings in a lab, surely they are the ones to believe!
And specifically, I’m not referring to scientists who work for companies but the ones who work independently and in universities, as their work is often, if not always a matter of public record. That is not to say that there is anything whatsoever wrong with scientists who work for companies. Everyone has to make a living and I feel for PhDs who work for Monsanto and the like. It must be disheartening to have your life’s work be so needlessly vilified.
As for public scientists? They hang their hats on their reputations. Dr. Folta, the molecular biologist featured in all ten videos is such a public, independent scientist. He also happens to be the academic who first alerted me to the error of my ways and once I looked deeper, there was no going back. I, Julee K, once an anti-GMO activist, had to admit that I had been completely and utterly wrong.
To summarize: I now find the science to be infinitely more believable when it comes from folks who do this work every day of their professional lives. When you’ve got good facts there is no need for propaganda, sensationalism, doomsday predictions or corporate bashing.
It’s just plain data.
And it doesn’t lie.
Video # 9: Are GMOs bad for the environment?
Video # 10: Are GMOs Dangerous?