A recent New Yorker article by Michael Specter does an excellent job of putting the activism of anti-GMO campaigner, Vandana Shiva, into perspective. Specter illustrates several example. There are definitely religious undertones to her activism. For example, Specter quotes her from a speech earlier this year:
“G.M.O. stands for ‘God, Move Over,’ we are the creators now,”
Shiva’s tweets have often been notorious, such as this one comparing selling GMO seed to rape:
#MarkLynas saying farmers shd be free to grow #GMOs which can contaminate #organic farms is like saying #rapists shd have freedom to rape.”
When criticized for this tweet, Shiva responded:
“We need to move from a patriarchal, anthropocentric worldview to one based on #EarthDemocracy,”
It’s clear she has what most people would consider an extreme political view, mixed with religious sentiments. I actually have no problem with that – people can believe whatever they want. They can advocate for the values and morals that suit them.
I think it’s a strength of an open society that many points of view can be championed. We are all better off if no one has absolute power and if various interests are being championed, keeping an important check on each other. Hopefully a good compromise will emerge.
What I do have a problem with is the other feature of Shiva that Specter discusses – getting the facts wrong. She uses dubious science and questionable claims in order to support her ideological position. As I have pointed out many time, this is a double failure. It puts misinformation out into the public, and it squanders the credibility of her own position (which, even if I disagree with it, has its place in the discussion)
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