If there’s one characteristic that nearly all cranks share it’s an intolerance of criticism and a tendency to want to shut it out. I just saw a story the other day that illustrates this principle by Blythe Nilson, who shared his experiences at anti-GMO activist Jeffrey Smith’s talk recently: Dissenters not allowed.
Remember the antivaccine conference Autism One a few years ago? For those of you not familiar with Autism One, it’s a yearly antivaccine autism quackfest where the quackiest of autism quack treatments are featured, treatments like homeopathy and bleach enemas. Ken Reibel and Jamie Bernstein tried to attend the quackfest back in 2011. Of course, someone recognized Ken, and Jamie and Ken were kicked out.
Now, at an anti-GMO rally, we see an anti-GMO activist trying to do the same sort of thing and doing his best to make sure that no one asked any “inconvenient” questions that he couldn’t answer.
As was the case with Autism One, the behavior of the organizers of Jeffery Smith’s talk was, above all else, indicative of fear, fear of criticism, fear of science that he can’t answer. Scientific meetings are not like this. Skeptical meetings are not like this either; indeed, at The Amazing Meeting (TAM) in 2010, a moon hoax believer managed to get to the front of the line to challenge Adam Savage about the Mythbusters episode on moon hoaxers. He was not expelled; in fact, Savage respectfully answered him and he was later seen at various other events at TAM.
Blythe Nilson compares the anti-GMO movement to a “cult,” but the same could be said about just about any crank movement. Such a description is especially appropriate for the antivaccine movement, as I’ve described many times.
The more I see events like this, the more obvious the traits shared by antivaccine activists and anti-GMO activists become.
Read the full, original article: The cult of anti-GMO: A lot like the cult of antivaccine