Why we should be concerned by anti-GMO conspiracy theories

Contrails are the wispy white clouds of frozen water vapor that streak across the sky in the wake of jet engines. But according to 17 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds—my generation—contrails are actually “chemtrails,” poisonous chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons.

As the world becomes an increasingly scary and complex place with no simple answers, the temptation to create narratives explaining all of its evil will grow. And here lies the heart of the modern conspiracy theory. Yet when fantasy overtakes reality, progress suffers.

Like preventable childhood diseases, malnutrition is another great moral failing of our time. GMOs such as Golden Rice—rice modified to contain high levels of beta carotene in order to compensate for the vitamin A deficiency which kills hundreds of thousands of children around the world and blinds many more every year—and drought resistant crops, which will become increasingly vital in the global south due climate change, have vast potential to help those who don’t shop at Whole Foods.

But real progress has been stymied by the paranoid and misinformed, who clamor that GMOs, which are biologically no different than “natural” foods, are somehow poisonous. Behind it all is of course an evil corporation: Monsanto.

It is time to embrace reality. Doing so will make the world a complex, scary place to live, but also perhaps a better one. Turning on the closet light and revealing that the monster was just pile of socks may let you see that you window has been unlocked all along.

Read full original articleConspiracies against progress: why the rise of the modern conspiracy theory should concern us all

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