Scientific consensus on GMO safety stronger than for global warming

A Pew Research Center study on science literacy, undertaken in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and released on January 29, contains a blockbuster: In sharp contrast to public skepticism about GMOs, 88% of scientists believe genetically modified foods are safe.

That overwhelming consensus exceeds the percentage of scientists, 87%, who believe global warming is the result of human activity. However, the public appears far more suspicious of scientific claims about GMO safety than they do about the consensus on climate change.

Some 57 percent of Americans say GM foods are unsafe and a startling 67% do not trust scientists, believing they don’t understand the science behind GMOs. Scientists blame poor reporting by mainstream scientists for the trust and literacy gaps.

The survey also contrasts sharply with a statement published earlier this week in a marginal pay-for-play European journal by a group of anti-GMO scientists and activists, including Michael Hansen of the Center for Food Safety, and philosopher Vandana Shiva, claiming, “no scientific consensus on GMO safety.”

A huge literacy gap between scientists and the public on biotechnology is one of the many disturbing nuggets that emerged from the Pew Research Center survey, which was conducted in cooperation with the AAAS, the world’s largest independent general scientific society. The full study, released on January 29, is available here.

This survey, the first of several reports to be released in coming months, compares the views of scientists and the general public on the role of science in the United States and globally.

The eye opening take-away: The American population in general borders on scientific illiteracy. The gap between what scientists believe, grounded on empirical evidence, often sharply differs from what the general public thinks is true. The differences are sharpest over biomedical research, including GMOs.

  • 88% of AAAS scientists think eating GM food is safe, while only 37% of the public believes that’s true—a 51-percentage point gap
  • 68% of scientists say it is safe to eat food grown with pesticides, compared with 28% of citizens—a 40% gap.
  • A 42-percentage point gap over the issue of using animals in research—89% of scientists favor it, while only 47% of the public backs the idea.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 7.41.35 PMThe scientist/public gap is less pronounced over climate, energy and space issues.

  • 37-percentage point gap over whether humans are the primary cause of climate change—87% of AAAS scientists say it is, while 50% of the public does.
  • 33-percentage point gap on the question about whether humans have evolved over time—98% of scientists say we have, compared with 65% of the public.
  • By a 20-percentage point margin, citizens are more likely than scientists to favor offshore oil drilling.
  • By a 12-point margin, the public is more likely to say that astronauts are essential for the future of the U.S. space program.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 7.43.50 PM

The survey represents a sample of 2,002 adult citizens and 3,748 scientists who are all members of the AAAS.

“As scientists size up the culture and their place in it,” Pew said in a statement. “Scientists are notably less upbeat than they were five years ago and express serious concerns about public knowledge of science and the way scientific findings are covered by journalists.”

The scientists believe that media hype is one possible reason for large gaps in opinion between their views and that of the public, particularly in the debate over GMOs. Seventy-nine percent of scientists said that the media doesn’t distinguish between “well-founded” and “not well-founded” scientific research. Additionally, 52 percent agreed that the media oversimplifies the science.

Three years ago, the AAAS released an unequivocal statement on the safety of GM foods and why a consensus of its members oppose mandatory labelling:

There are several current efforts to require labeling of foods containing products derived from genetically modified crop plants, commonly known as GM crops or GMOs. These efforts are not driven by evidence that GM foods are actually dangerous. Indeed, the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe. Rather, these initiatives are driven by a variety of factors, ranging from the persistent perception that such foods are somehow “unnatural” and potentially dangerous to the desire to gain competitive advantage by legislating attachment of a label meant to alarm. Another misconception used as a rationale for labeling is that GM crops are untested.

The AAAS also has addressed claims by anti-GMO advocacy groups, frequently echoed in the media and on activist websites, that GM foods are less tested or nutritionally deficient when compared to organic or other conventional foods.

… contrary to popular misconceptions, GM crops are the most extensively tested crops ever added to our food supply. There are occasional claims that feeding GM foods to animals causes aberrations ranging from digestive disorders, to sterility, tumors and premature death. Although such claims are often sensationalized and receive a great deal of media attention, none have stood up to rigorous scientific scrutiny. Indeed, a recent review of a dozen well-designed long-term animal feeding studies comparing GM and non-GM potatoes, soy, rice, corn and triticale found that the GM and their non-GM counterparts are nutritionally equivalent.

Looking further at the demographics of respondents, the survey finds that those with a college degree are split on GMO safety: 49% say it’s generally safe while 47% say it’s generally unsafe. Women are more wary than men: only 28% of women think eating GM foods are safe compared to 47% of men. Race also divides the issue with blacks (24% say its safe) and Hispanics (32%) being more cautious than whites (41%).

Related article:  NGOs usually considered trustworthy, but often not when it comes to GMOs

The demographics of respondents on pesticide are quite similar to the responses on GMOs. More men say foods with pesticides are safe than women do. Those with more education are more likely to say food grown with pesticides are safe.Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 7.39.53 PM

When it comes to GM labeling, exactly half of respondents said they “always” or “sometimes” check for a non-GMO label when they are shopping. Of course, those who check labels correlate higher with those who think genetically modified foods are unsafe to eat

So why are citizens so out of step with scientists on GMO safety?

“One possible reason for the gap: when it comes to GM crops, two-thirds of the public say scientists do not have a clear understanding about the health effects,” surmised the researchers.

Yet, oddly enough for a society that doesn’t trust scientists on the GMO debate, science itself still holds an esteemed position in the minds of adults. Seventy-nine percent of respondents believe that science has contributed positively to society with 62% saying it has been beneficial for the quality of food. However, the percent of people who believe that science has contributed negatively to food is up 10 points from 2009: 34% of respondents say that science has had a negative affect on food.

The public also highly values government investment in science research: 71% support government-funded basic science research and 61% said government funding is essential for scientific progress.

Pew also asked scientists another question: How good is the general state of science is today? Scientists were more negative this year than they were in 2009. Only 52% say that it is a good time for Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 7.36.53 PMscience today while 74% said it was good in 2009.

And due to the public perception of GMOs at least, scientists’ more sober assessment might make sense.

Who’s to blame? Scientists (75%) say lack of STEM education in grades K-12 is the biggest culprit. The release of the next report is expected in mid-February.

How can scientists and the government bridge the disturbing literacy gap between the mainstream scientific community and a skeptical public? asks Alan Leshner, CEO of the AAAS, in an editorial accompanying the survey release?

Speaking up for the importance of science to society is our only hope, and scientists must not shy away from engaging with the public, even on the most polarizing science-based topics. Scientists need to speak clearly with journalists who provide a great vehicle for translating the nature and implications of their work. Scientists should also meet with members of the public and discuss what makes each side uncomfortable. In these situations, scientists must respond forthrightly to public concerns. In other words, there needs to be a conversation, not a lecture. The public’s perceptions of scientists’ expertise and trustworthiness are very important but they are not enough. Acceptance of scientific facts is not based solely on comprehension levels. It can be compromised anytime information confronts people’s personal, religious, or political views, and whenever scientific facts provoke fear or make people feel that they have no control over a situation. The only recourse is to have genuine, respectful dialogues with people.

134 thoughts on “Scientific consensus on GMO safety stronger than for global warming”

  1. The media does bear some of this, but I think the reason can be more pointed than just “oversimplification” or “hype”. It’s that the media almost without exception will find one person stating the evidence-based side of an issue and one person stating the total opposite (as in Vani Hari and GMOs). This one-to-one type of interview leaves the public to believe that half of the scientific community believe the way the non-evidence based person believes. See John Oliver’s climate change report where he starts out with Bill Nye and a denier, but then brings 96 other scientists on the side of Nye into the room at the same time. This is what’s needed. Not 1-on-1 interviews. We need proportional reporting to show the public on which side of an issue the evidence sits. The media will also let people like Vandana Shiva or Vani Hari simply state whatever they think, even if it’s untrue, and there’s no fact checking of any kind. If Vani Hari brings up the Seralini study on GMOs which was retracted by the journal as embarrassment, the reporter doesn’t say, “But that was retracted as terrible science.” The public just believes it’s fine because hey, one of the “experts” said so.

    • Bill Nye and 96 other “experts,” Shiva, Hari, et al. I don’t trust any of them and I’m not going to take their word on anything because they all have their own agenda. Consensus be damned (because if you or your industry has a lot of money, you can make your own consensus). The media, our own government, experts and scientists have sold themselves down the river on any number of issues. Case in point: HFCS is bad for you says one study, HFCS isn’t bad for you (research sponsored by the corn industry).

      Here’s the thing: if I drink a Coke made with HFCS, I feel like crap, but my brain is screaming for more. If I drink a lot of coke, I’ll get used to feeling like crap, but I’ll also get fat. Cut out the coke, and I lose weight. I think I just answered my question. Now some other guy may have a different response, but for me I avoid HFCS (and most processed food) mainly because I feel better after I eat it. And I’m also at a good weight …well, almost.

      • Wow, Monsanto has bribed 88 percent of the scientific community into extolling the virtues of GMOs; yet Shell Oil, which pulled over 30x the revenue in 2013, can shill only 13 percent into denying human-induced climate change. What’s your secret, Monsanto?

        • Um, no…88% of the people who used proper scientific methodology to demonstrate that transgenic crops are safe are probably the same 87% who claim that climate change is caused by humans. That’s what I would expect. I

          • How can there have been a safety study…whom did they feed gmo’s to with no change? I cant find it anywhere…scientists have no idea how a seed turns into a plant….none. we do not know what the effects r….but we do know this…testing does show higher nutrition from cow manure than from man made manure…so wen they can get feces right i may try their seeds but for now….no science just big corps.

          • Of course we know how a seed turns into a plant. It’s the same process that makes eggs turn into chickens. And cow manure has more nutrients because cows can’t get all the nutrients out of their food. Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to feed gmos to people to see if it is safe, you can analyze them for the chemicals that make up food, as well as those that are toxic.

          • Monsanto only did 90 day studies of certain breed of rats for bt corn and the FDA approved it
            When Seralini in France tested 200 of the same rats with the same strain of bt corn, the rats were fine up to 90 days… then they developed tumors. I saw the rats at 2 years of age when the study was published and was horrified at the size and number of the tumors. Monsanto arranged to have the study retracted. Seralini won his defamation law suit nov 2014 and is continuing to test gmos… it is an independent study. I doubt Monsanto will make the same mistake again when seralini resubmits his new findings which will be the same, no doubt… tumors and tumors

          • Yep, “tumors and tumors”. Tumors on the rats (mice acutally) fed “GMO” and tumors on the mice fed “nonGMO”. Mice bred specifically to naturally develop tumors after 90 days of life. Big honkin’ tumors no matter what.

            So Seralini, knowing this about those mice, fed them and kept most of them alive long enough for all of them to grow their biggest, ugliest tumors (some of the “nonGMO” mice died, as did some of the “GMO” mice before the experiment was completed). Then he measured the tumors and the “GMO” mice had tumors slightly larger than the “nonGMO” mice, which could mean any of three or four things:

            1) The “GMO” food inexplicably caused slightly larger tumors

            2) More of the “nonGMO” mice with the biggest tumors died before the experiment was completed, thus reducing the average tumor size in surviving “nonGMO” mice

            3) The “GMO” mice had slightly larger tumors because the “GMO” food was more nutritious than the “nonGMO” food supporting inhanced growth and survival, an advantage over the “nonGMO” mice

            4) Absolutely meaningless exercise in mouse abuse to create a stunning photo op — wrong strain of mice deliberately used inappropriately to illustrate forgone conclusions that these mice are known to grow big ugly scary looking tumors. So what?

          • Why hasn’t anyone done the work correctly? They may have better results but certainly will come to the same conclusion- GMOs are a health risk. That is why he was attacked and guys like you are pawns to keep the public ignorant. Do unbiased studies without fear of retribution and then I will have respect for GMO work.

          • Pawns… you’re hilarious. No one has tried to recreate Seralinis study because people already had. And contrary to what you believe they found no issues.

            Please reference “Assessment of the health impact of GM plant diets in long-term and multigenerational animal feeding trials: A literature review” for evidence. 24 long term feeding studies.

            They conclude “The studies reviewed present evidence to show that GM plants are nutritionally equivalent to their non-GM counterparts and can be safely used in food and feed.”

            I’m afraid you are the one being played, friend.

          • May….. cause your hair to all grow back? May…. give you super powers? May….. clear up that pesky skin condition?

          • Or maybe it will end you before natural causes would; reducing the time the world will have to read comments popping from your donut hole or fingers :) Jokes aside. Do not get me wrong, I think GMO is great science. However, great that should stay in a lab. You may beg to differ and eat the stuff. Great. Neither of our opinions is wrong.

          • Like I suggested, if your fear is that high (and it obviously is), you should NOT eat GE foods. Stay far away from them. Eat organic. Eat non-GMO certified.

          • Or… maybe any other food you eat will end you before natural causes? The only difference is that gmo food ingredients have actually been studied extensively. Others haven’t.

            And actually… one of our opinions is wrong because it’s not in line with what the evidence says is true.

          • Also:
            May …. Make you irresistible to women
            May… Give you strange compulsions to wear tinfoil on your head.

          • The type of rat they used, Sprague-Dawley, is prone to tumors with age. An older rat would be very likely to have tumors that have nothing to do with what it ate . Additionally, the control rats of the same age, which did not eat GE food, also had tumors. Seralini amneglected to mention that. It was a poorly designed study.

          • Yes, the study may have been poorly designed. However, the control group did have much more tumor-issues. That merits more studies and raises concerns about GMO. But no, the entire work was trashed. That smells like a coverup to me.

          • Serilini used as close as possible the methodology Monsanto used to show GMO are harmless (based on the little they have told the public). He just took it further. So Monsanto must have done bad work themselves if he did bad work; since he was inspired by them. But no one criticizing Serilini thinks about this. No one cite other scientists’ bad work. Serilini is made to stand out like a sore thumb and idiot. That is an attack on scientific integrity to me.

          • Spell your hero’s name correctly at least, Phil.
            Your speculations are absolute nonsense. But you will do anything to justify Seralini’s totally debunked “study,” because like all good little activists in lockstep, you desperately need to believe it is valid and true.
            I think you should definitely avoid all GE food. You should definitely stick to organic and non-GMO certified. Labeled in big green letters. You won’t even have to think.

          • He is not my hero. I listened to both sides of the argument on GMO with an open minded and came to my conclusion that GMOs is yet another DDT-like disasters waiting to happen. Other think different and it is a free country.

          • I’m curious to know: what was the most convincing piece of evidence you found to lead you to the conclusion that GMOs are “disasters waiting to happen?”

          • TLDR;
            Great question. It is a matter of looking at history and gut feeling. If I have to pick one reason, its because animals when given a choice between GMO feed and non-GMO generally go for non-GMO. They go for the GMO as the last choice and if starving. When rats are leaving a ship, you better recognize something is wrong before the Titanic sinks.

            Long Story
            Now, here is my thought in more details- The biggest GMO company have a checkered history with human safety (like made DDT and PCB.) After the public learned they were unsafe, victims were paid little compensation compared to profit the company gained. So it makes business-sense to push products that may be bad. Akin to car company not recalling a deadly car defect given that compensation paid will be less than the recall cost. Nature never allows cross-species breeding. That does not mean it is bad, but it gets interesting when Monsanto does test and say food produced this way is safe. The few scientist that try to use some of Monsanto’s same experimental techniques (the same animal model and food) but over a longer time (like Seralini and Pusztai) get destroyed and their work were labeled flawed. The scientist that say their work was okay are not listened to or are avoid to talk aloud out of fear of retribution. Plus, no one has bothered to repeat their work and do it the right way. My guess is that the work will show different data but come to the same
            conclusion. Otherwise, GMO companies would rush at it. America is one of the largest consumers of GMOs and one of the most ill people on the planet. It is not like we are not spending a lot of money on healthcare (we spend like a trillion dollars). Is GMO to blame? Not sure. However, there is a data showing allergy increase like gluten-sensitivity and others that coincide with GMO introduction. GMO companies have FDA virtually in its control. Its employee come and go from it like a revolving door. And FDA is like a rubber stamp- they say GMOs are okay and need not be test. The GMO companies say they are not regulatory body. Anyway, who is responsible for human safety? That tells me they have political control over their own oversight agency. How can you trust a judge who is also the defendant? The are few studies suggest that the DNA of food enters the gut and continue pesticide production of what some GMO crops do. Well, non-GMO crops probably do the same; but they are not thousands of times higher is concentration as the GMO crops do. That may relate to increase in allergy. The bad business practices and what seem like abuse of farmers is unfortunate, but not directly related to the health consequences of eating GMOs. I do not factor those in. In all, I am suspicious of these when considered together. The sugar and tobacco industries have used tactics like GMO companies do to hide the face that their product are bad (sugar in excess). And scientist also said sugar and tobacco are okay for you. The small number of scientist that said they are not okay get a beat down. All in all, some think all this mean nothing and do not care. I personally beg to differ and choose to not eat it based on what I noticed.

            Now, there are scientist and scientific bodies that say GMOs are safe. Also, cross-breeding has been done for thousands of years (although its has been same-species); still breeding itself is not new. GMO looks, taste, feel and smell like non-GMO (with a few exceptions) and no one dies one day after eating it. The feed-the-world and “vitamin A in rice” has no bearing to the health effects of eating GMOs.

            Considering the two sides, there is more information showing GMOs’ bad effects or possibility of bad effects than there are good. GMO supports I hear always herald marketing things like “increase yield” (which I personally think is lying [a long story for another day].) However, they shy away from showing some data like anti-GMO activities do. If knowledge is power, then ignorance is control. The failed GMO labeling in America and attack on any scientific work against GMO tell me more so something is wrong than this just being a big business and they way big businesses act.

            In general, my gamble is that GMOs are unsafe. I will rather spend the extra money on organic food and let time prove me right or wrong, then risk GMO.

          • Ok, let’s see here. You seem to have quite a few misconceptions.

            First, I’ve never seen any substantiation that animals choose any other source of food over GM. If you have some kind of proof of this, I’d be interested in seeing it.

            Second, the Monsanto that manufactured DDT and PCBs has nothing to do with the current iteration of the company. The chemical branch of the company has been through several mergers and sales since then and I believe is now part of Pfizer.

            Third, Seralini and Puztazi studies were discredited because they were flat out demonstrably bad studies. It doesn’t matter who you think is behind the discrediting, the shortcomings of the studies stand regardless.

            Fourth, “GMO companies” in no way “have the FDA in control.” The poster child for the “revolving door” claim that anti-GMO activists like to trot out, Michael Taylor, had a 9 year space between working for Monsanto and the FDA. I think it would be quite the stretch to think he was some kind of sleeper agent for that long.

            Fifth, there is no evidence that pesticides are continued to be produced from GM crops after digestion. I’m not even sure how a plausible mechanism for this happening would work.

            Sixth, to say that there is more evidence for GMOs being unhealthy compared to healthy betrays, I think, a bit of a hole in your research. I’d invite you to look into the NAS review of literature, you can find it here:

            Seventh, there should not be “scientific work against” (or for, for that matter) GMOs. That would be searching for confirmation to support a desired conclusion, and that’s not science.

          • False. Animals do not “choose” non-GE foods over GE foods.

            And a labeling bill was signed into law. Oh, you won’t like it, of course, because it doesn’t contain the specific utterly meaningless but preferred demonization language sought by anti-GE activists.

            And yes, you should definitely stick with organic food. Science is a bit beyond your grasp, and from your perspective, you should defer to the fearmongering so that you will feel good about what you eat. Of course, don’t look up organic food poisonings, e.coli, salmonella, and listeria contamination, or recalls, or eat at Chipotle.

          • You donut-hole brain pawn, I know more science than you and your momma combined. Throw in your granny in the mix and I still know more. Saying I am afraid or fearmonging is a straight out lie. Let me throw a bit of advice even though there is a chance you are a lost cause- try to think for once in your life and do not limit yourself to marketing genius’ words or what biased people tell you to believe.

          • Wow….you are the pot calling the kettle black. You’ve been repeating nothing but activist propaganda which is something biased people tell you to believe!!

            Try a little critical thinking some time. I think you’ll like it.

          • He is laughably predictable. Every single thing he says is straight out of the anti-GE activist playbook. Every single one of these arguments we have heard before and have debunked numerous times on this site. After awhile it gets kind of boring, because they don’t even think for themselves to come up with a new creative bogus argument against GE.

          • No they haven’t. This site cites opinion polls and finds poor science and glimpses a quote here or there while shedding it in a dishonest light or contrary context to that intended hoping no one will think too hard and stick with culture wars affiliations.

          • Kind of like a current candidate. The more he is shown to be erroneous (with, in this case, his activist presumptions), the more frustrated he gets, and the more insulting he gets. A straight linear predictive correlation.

          • Translation: I couldn’t give two shits about science – its just another flag – what bothers me is political leftism.

          • Phil, I am a farmer and cattle or pigs (don’t have any other animals eating feed) do not care if it is GMO or not.
            Gmos are just plant traits, not a type of plant. Just like humans couldn’t tell the difference between rust resistant wheat and non rust resistant wheat, They are just plant traits. Could you tell what type of barley was grown to make your beer? There are over 200 different kinds.

            The biggest GMO company in the US is Pioneer and they just sell corn and soy seed. But I am assuming that you mean Monsanto, they sold the chemical division back in the early 90s to Kodak, so every time you take a picture with film you are supporting the company that made PCB and DDT. Hundreds of companies made DDT and PCB.

            So it makes business-sense to push products that may be bad.

            How so? I would think that that would be bad for business. Look at Samsung, no one died due to the problems with the phone, but they are losing billions. Making a bad product can kill your company.

            America is one of the largest consumers of GMOs and one of the most ill people on the planet.

            Well that is just Crazy talk.. America is one of the healthiest countries on the planet.

          • If I have to pick one reason, its because animals when given a choice between GMO feed and non-GMO generally go for non-GMO. They go for the GMO as the last choice and if starving. When rats are leaving a ship, you better recognize something is wrong before the Titanic sinks.

            That’s easily one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever seen in print. If you honestly believe that then you’re beyond help.

            The rest of your “long story” is just one big misconception after another. But this takes the cake:

            Considering the two sides, there is more information showing GMOs’ bad effects or possibility of bad effects than there are good. GMO supports I hear always herald marketing things like “increase yield” (which I personally think is lying [a long story for another day].) However, they shy away from showing some data like anti-GMO activities do.

            Reality is literally the exact opposite of that. Studies showing safety outnumber those that don’t LITERALLY a thousand to one. There are endless amounts of data showing safety and organizations promoting GM technology share it readily. Organizations who oppose GMOs do nothing but claim “we don’t know” and spin fantastic yarns about what might happen. They share no data what so ever.

            Feel free to waste your money on organics if that’s what floats your boat, but saying all those idiotic things about other cropping methods just shows everyone that you haven’t bothered to educate yourself on this issue even a little bit.

          • According to the Wikipedia page on MON 810, Seralini had already lost “it” years before his rat study. His 2007 and 2009 interpretations of the original Monsanto studies were unanimously rejected for the inappropriate statistical methods employed, also by the EFSA. The famous Seralini rat study you refer to had only two Things in common with the Monsanto feeding study: the rat type and the corn used, all other Parameters were different. Seralini’s was a completely different Experiment from that done by Monsanto so it had to be judged on ist own merits and they were considered not too great. By the way, have you read his study? Seralini’s reputation as an idiot is self-made but he seems to make a good living from it.

          • He just took it further.

            Yes he did. But you cant use cancer rats for long term tox studies because over 80% get tumors in 2 years.

          • Phil, my friend. You do know that the best health outcomes for any rat group were male rats that ate the most herbicide? Far better than the control rats.

            Does this prove that eating Monsanto’s herbicide is good for Males?

          • Wow. Uh, yes they do know how a seed turns into a plant. Just because you don’t know the science behind it, doesn’t then mean no one knows. Get over yourself. People always defend their beliefs as being better than actual fact, because it’s part of the human mind to protect what it thinks as real and true. Becoming enlightened, educated, smarter, means opening up your thinking and pushing back the urge to protect your beliefs as fact while actual researched facts be damned. Don’t be ignorant, look up the information and be open to understanding it. Don’t be stupid after then knowing something and still not wanting to accept it because you’d rather “believe” in the contrary.

      • Lol, EVERYONE has their own agenda. I guess you might as well ignore everything you’ve ever read and everything you’ve ever been told. Everything you know came from someone with an agenda.

          • Neither are GMOs, necessarily. Just like everything else, eating in moderation is key. For example, overeating with healthy foods can still lead to obesity. Also, your assertion that “cut out the coke, and I lose weight” is completely false. That’s not how it works–your body doesn’t automatically steer itself back to “healthy mode” when you stop drinking soda (or eating fast food, or whatever). To say that not drinking soda makes you lose weight only makes you look incredibly ignorant. You also seem to have no real grasp of how the media works… you think the media has sold out to (someone, you never do say who), and that thus they–the infamous “they”–are evil.

            The problem here is really the fact that you’re stubbornly refusing to do any actual research; it’s easier to say that scientists are owned by companies who only put out information they want you to hear so you’ll buy their products than it is to actually read studies/educate yourself on a subject. You also fail to realize that what you’re doing–spreading ignorance and misinformation (what your unfounded claims amount to)–is dangerous.

          • Actually, cutting the coke and processed foods isn’t false. I weighed 290 in 2013, I’m a semi-healthy 200 pounds now (I could lose another 20). You mistook my brevity for ignorance. And yes, it is far more complicated than this. There are two decent documentaries on fast food – Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Hungry for a Change. Both do a decent job and yes, each has their own agenda. We didn’t evolve by eating HFCS, or high amounts of sodium …or are you the type of person who doesn’t believe in evolution? You tell me – eat pizza and other food that you don’t prepare yourself. Drink the soda with HFCS. Do this for a year and tell me what your health is like. We may be different – you may be healthier in a year.

            Excellent use of the English language, by the way. Your clever response still doesn’t hold water, no matter how artfully you write it (and you managed to insult me as well – bravo!). You made a lot of assumptions yourself. I’ve read the studies (in fact I grew up in corn country and have firsthand knowledge of how Monsanto and ADM operate) and no, I’m not convinced. A good number of those studies (not all) were produced/funded by those selling the food! Conflict of interest anyone? The food libel laws alone make you wonder. Thirteen states now make it easier for food producers to sue for libel. Those laws were written by legislators who had campaigns financed by the likes of the food industry. I know I certainly didn’t ask them to that.

            Here is a case in point of what is going on: Princeton University publishes a study of HFCS, needless to say it isn’t flattering (amazingly the rats fed HFCS got fatter – who knew?!). Another researcher, employed by Monell Chemical Senses Center (whose homepage has a very cute picture of a smiling baby eating from a spoon) criticizes the work and cleverly points out the flaws. Who sponsors ‘The Monell Center’ as they prefer to be known? Companies like PepsiCo. and The Sugar Association (headquartered, of course, in Washington DC).

            All this was found in five minutes and is one study about HFCS.

            So much for unfounded claims.

          • You misunderstood my comment. You claimed that simply cutting coke out of your diet automatically makes your body switch to “lose weight” mode. That isn’t true. While cutting sugary drinks out of your diet no doubt helps, it does not trigger such a response in your body by default (likewise, you can drink coke without getting fat from it…). “If I drink a lot of coke, I’ll get used to feeling like crap, but I’ll also get fat. Cut out the coke, and I lose weight.” That’s not how it works. You do not automatically lose weight. If you can’t wrap your head around that, it’s not my problem.

            Congrats on losing weight. I’m assuming you did a little more than cut coke out of your diet (you seem to have been trying to lose weight, as opposed to miraculously losing weight by simply cutting out soda, as you originally claimed).

            It’s funny that you assume I’m unaware of conflicts of interest in research, lol. I don’t really care if you think I’m stupid, though.

            edit: Also, “We didn’t evolve by eating HFCS, or high amounts of sodium …or are you the type of person who doesn’t believe in evolution?” is a stupid argument. We also do not have vaccines for diseases like smallpox in our systems by default–should we give those up too? Your logic is faulty as fuck my friend.

          • It is not OUR job to do actual research, so your argument is saying people are responsible for testing their food for safety.
            It is the responsibility of the FDA but the FDA is Monsanto and that is not right by any moral standard.
            Having said that, the groups against Monsanto are getting far more involved than would be thought. There is now a product to flush out glyphosate from the gut and test gut foods for chemicals and percentages. My province banned Bayer spraying last summer and our bees are back… that was because of people, nothing but people, certainly not the scientists working in Monsanto labs or any chemical company lab.
            As for myself, I deleted gmos from my diet including all derivatives. That was 4 yrs ago after seeing the rats. I am happy to report the success of my new diet. More nutrients, better taste and gut problems resolved, no out of control food cravings.
            One thing that escapes people like yourself.
            France has the lowest rate of heart attack deaths, next is the rest of Europe, then Canada and USA is highest. Now look at a map of gmo foods. The correlation is clear to me. I did not include other western countries but it is still aligned the same way.

          • Yeah, too bad she’s a victim of a side effect — what little was left of her brains were also flushed out. That’s a serious downside risk for True Believers who have shit for brains. I suppose if you looked at a map you would clearly see there are more of those in the US and Canada than in Europe and especially France, where they more often have stinky cheese for brains.

          • Say more about this product that “flushes quite the site from your gut. “What is it, how much does it cost, and who sells it? I could make a speculation or two, but I would like to hear your experience.

          • I first thought this referred to Mr. Seralinis independent work for the Sevene Company studying the detoxifying capacity of their (homeopathic) plant extracts on Roundup residues. Some Googling showed me that others have jumped this bandwagon Long ago and the stuf Natural News/Mercola are offering seems a garantee for some sweating guts. By the way, visiting a Sauna is also said to work.

    • Since you wrote this, likely you now know Seralini won his defamation court case Nov 2015, which is now a fraud case against the party who arranged the retraction. I am sure everyone following Seralini knows of Monsanto’s involvement in the retraction. Although indirect, it is enough for people to once again question their cover up motives. Why would Monsanto do this? My problem is that I saw the Seralini rat study video before retraction and the tumors were more than could be thought. When it was retracted, I assumed it must have been flawed. That is me, and there are many me’s around. How can one trust Monsanto;s bt corn now? I cannot so much as eat a kernel without thinking it is poison.

  2. Small typo: “88 percent of AAAS scientists think eating GM food is safe, while 37 percent of the public believes that it’s not—a 51-percentage point gap” should be “88 percent of AAAS scientists think eating GM food is safe, while 37 percent of the public believe eating GM food is safe—a 51-percentage point gap”

  3. I don’t understand the PEW Research Centeer question about people who “seek out GMO labels” (25% always look, etc.) – since there are no functioning mandatory GMO labels in the U.S., I wonder what the PEW was referring to; European labels? Or did they get the question backward, and mean to refer to people who checked to see if food did NOT contain gmos?

    • There aren’t any “official” labels you mean? As required by the USDA, for example? I have to admit to looking for the “non-GMO” label and I would rather buy non-GMO if it comes down to it. Of course, can you trust any label for that matter? (Government required or not.)

      Frankly I don’t trust an industry that is this litigous (the question comes to mind why can’t people speak their minds on this?). But as with the climate change argument, we really have no idea at this stage. Feed a controlled population GMO foods for 20 years and tell me what the effects are …even then you may not have a true picture.

    • Well, I don’t seek them out. But when I see them, I point it out to my wife and we both laugh at how stupid they are. Especially on products made from cereal grains, or vegetables, and other ingredients that could not possibly be “contaminated” with transgenics of any kind. But as far as I’m concerned, bring on the labels. I couldn’t care less. I eat what I want, when I want. No activist can change that.

  4. As a small farmer with a little experience, this article reminds me that the world is insane:

    What the hell does “food grown with pesticides” mean?

    Every pesticide is different. Even “organic” ones.

    Every crop is different in its requirements for pest protection.

    Every farmer’s needs and procedures are different.

    Anyone want the hair I just ripped out of my head to make a wig with?

  5. Jon Entine is a Monsanto Lapdog that can skew any lies to meet his propaganda. Lets feed his kids the GMO’s and we will see if he is such a strong advocate when they develop Autism

  6. Given the 3.1 point margin of error for the poll, the title of this article is misleading. A better one would state that consensus for GMO safety is “as strong” or “not significantly different than” consensus for anthropogenic climate change.

  7. Democracy is NOT about people getting government to do stuff, regardless of what. It is about using the people’s collective diversity and stability as one of the CHECKS on the government over-extending its power in any direction, i.e. throwing the bastards out.

    It ought not therefore to matter if people in general were 100% wrong or 100% right on anything besides their judgment of the over-all state of affairs as affects they themselves (which is the only thing most of us can be trusted to grasp accurately at all).

    Leave arguments about harm to lawsuits for damages. Let those who think they can mobilize capital, workers, ideas, and organization to produce goods and services that will provide an attractive investment attempt to do so, whether they frack, nuke, gene splice, rocket, Uber, burn coal, or whatever. Those opposed need not buy. Those damaged can sue. Those providing allegedly more attractive alternatives can try their luck too.

    • Good point. Also, the pro GMO scientists & the FDA have been bought off by Monsanto; so the bastards are lying for the sake of profit & greed. A friend of family is a nutritionist PhD who has studied GMO’s for years and the real word is that GMO’s are bad for health and the environment but are now so widespread that avoiding them takes a lot of effort. It’s no small indication that nearly all of Europe along with Japan and other nations have banned GMO’s as well as growth hormones injected in livestock, that our corrupt government sees fit to allow so as to use us as lab rats. We need to kick all of our “leaders” out.

  8. The public belief in climate change is not necessarily an informed belief. Climate change has been sold better and they have even used the old evangelists doomsday fear factor. But even before they sold it they used Islamic tactics with the other scientists – either you go along with our sacred doomsday climate beliefs or we will cut off your funding.
    Amazing that the old ways of fear and salesmanship still work on a gullible public and timid scientists.

    • No, you don’t get to use that argument. That’s the same argument anti-GMO people use to claim about the consensus on GMOs.

      The science behind the safety of GMOs is sound, just as the science behind anthropogenic climate change is sound and only getting more concrete for both as more experiments and studies are done.

      • Yes GMOs are actual science and probably cause no harm, although some of the stuff like tomatoes taste like crap.The idea we can somehow control future climate fluctuations is pure speculation. There is no science which can predict the future. With the possible exception of when you are dealing in a much smaller more controlled arena, but not on anything not man made and as global as climate trends. Just doesn’t fly. There is absolutely no proof or even probability anything we can do will be effective. What the warmies want us to do is spend billions even trillions to conduct an experiment form them to see if their hypothesis is correct. This is not unlike the alchemists of the dark ages trying to turn iron into gold.

  9. I don’t know if GMO foods are safe. Maybe GMO food is safe. But…I don’t want to eat it. I don’t trust Monsanto. I think organically grown food that is not doused with gobs of roundup is safer and more nutritious.

    So why can’t we have GMO foods labeled if it’s so safe. Huh? Why does Monsanto fight labeling their (so called) safe GMO foods. Because of GMO Coke and GMO Pepsi and EMO cereal and GMO milk and GMO baby foods and pet foods.
    I don’t want to eat GMO. i want it labeled. I think it’s a dangerous way to grow our crops. It spreads more pesticides (from Monsanto) on our soils. It’s just another Corporate profit making scam without taking the health of the soil or citizen into account. We are the guinea pigs.

    • “But…I don’t want to eat it. I don’t trust Monsanto. I think
      organically grown food that is not doused with gobs of roundup is safer
      and more nutritious.”

      The food you prefer is ALREADY labeled as ‘Organic.’ Are you that dense?

    • My family DOES want to eat GMOs. We don’t want more labels on food. I refuse to buy or eat food that is labeled to contain no GMOs. That’s enough labeling for anyone to make a buying decision. Can’t you read?

    • You do release that if the anti-transgenic posse gets its way, and glyphosate and RR crops are abolished (not going to happen), the alternatives would be a throwback to a much, much unhealthier weed-control scenario? Or, that organic growers routinely spray Bt on crops to manage insects? Did you also know that in “GM Watch”‘s posted rebuttals to the inconvenient Bt truth, authors refer to sprayable Bt as an “insecticidal protein” so readers don’t make the connection between it and transgenic corn expressing Bt?

    • Your “pakilolo” (sic) is genetically modified. As is almost all of your “organic” food. You are a much more a “guinea pig” of the “organic” industry, than those that consume the GMOs you don’t want to eat.

    • My family does NOT WANT MORE LABELING of the food items that we purchase. Most of all, WE want NO labeling that puts transgenic crops (GMOs) at a marketing disadvantage. You don’t speak for all, or even a majority, of the people. There’s enough labeling of food already.

      • WOW now that is a SHILL response if I ever heard one! Has anyone here EVER heard of a family complaining that their food had too many informative labels? Seriously you are a horrible SHILL!

        • Right. He must be a shill.

          Or … he could be someone who can’t fucking afford more expensive food because selfish dicks and their labeling schemes increase the cost.

          Do you bloody fools ever actually use your brains or are you too busy making people aware of your veganism?

  10. GMO is scientific.
    Climate Change is Cloud cuckoo land make believe.
    But if you oppose “Climate Change” you will lose your tenure application and be turfed out to drive taxicabs.
    You have to obey The Man or you don’t have a future in the science technocracy.

      • Whatever. You haven’t been following Watts Up With That very well. I am just happy the Hockey Stick is getting its day in court soon in Mann vs. Steyn. Steyn has countersued so hide-the-decline Mann won’t be able to weasel out of it.

        • The scientific understanding of climate change is not based on a single graph, nor is a blog site a reliable source for accurate information. Scientists publish in peer-reviewed journals. Pseudoscientists publish on blogs.

          • Anyone who actually read all the emails in “climategate” found that climate change deniers purposefully took them out of context from what was a simple disagreement in said emails into some sort of conspiracy.

          • Pseudoscientists also make bank traveling around the world, lecturing as self-proclaimed “experts” on agriculture and human health, and delivering screeds vilifying biotechnology while imploring their audiences to rely on “ancient wisdom”, “subtle energies” and “paramagnetism.” Complete frauds.

  11. Grab is a big-organic lapdog that frequently addresses every subject with the anti-capitalistic vapor that permeates the degraded hippocampuses of the potheads in his commune. Let him feed his kids the half-rotten, insect and disease infested “food” that they grow in their gardens fertilized with human and animal manure. If they get sick, they’ll most certainly be cured with holistic medicines and free-range granola. They aren’t vaccinated, so they’ll just rely upon shaman chants to pull them through their next disease cycle. [So there, take that!!!!]

  12. Just proves Monsanto has more money than whoever wants to promote the human caused global warming lie. I understand the science behind GMOs and it scares the hell outta me. Scientists as a group do not have a great reputation for either accuracy or common sense.

  13. It says right at the beginning “in cooperation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)”. its obvious this article was going to take this platform for GMOs. The advancement of science will take any coarse to proceed, disregarding morals, & even their own thorough methodology of objective experimentation & scrutiny. This article was basically a waste of time to read because it never actually says anything scientific about GMOs. it just states irrelevant stats about peoples opinions on things. It states percentage based scientific views as “facts” which goes against the scientific method inwhich a well tested hypothesis is repeated my multiple different sources with similar results, to then be called a theory. These scientists must be pretty high up on themselves to beleive their knowlegde of a product thats only been around for about 80 years can be considered “scientific fact”. I found the pompus tone of this article insulting of anyone without a wide background knowledge of science, or of anyone with an open mind or opposing opinion. This article read to me ‘you silly humans and your concerns… let us intelligent intelectuals decide whats safe for your life.’

  14. Just like it takes most MDs a while to figure out that the pharmaceutical industrial complex bought their college medical departments, took over the staffs and indoctrinated them into believing that pharmaceuticals are the cat’s meow (and some never figure it out), it will take scientists a while to figure out that bio-tech corporations have hijacked their education and indoctrinated them into believing that GMOs are the ultimate. Plus too many of their careers depend on loving bio-tech, especially in the U.S. (and of course, AAAS begins with the word “American”)! AAAS has 126,995 members of the 7M full time science researchers in the world, yet the press is calling out “all scientists” and calling this a global warming flip-flop! Ha!

  15. The idea that GMO’s are inherently safety is anti-scientific and preposterous based on the following indisputable fact:
    GMO technology is a tool, not a food in itself. This tool can theoretically be used to create deadly poisonous foods, although obviously that is not the intent. There is nothing inherently safe about it, it just depends on the genes and traits that are introduced into the food. Thus, GMO safety depends entirely on the “Devil in the details” regarding any particular food and its effect on the environment and the body. What could be the unintended consequences.
    Calling all GMOs safe would be the same as calling all new chemicals inherently safe, can’t be done. Even Hybrid technology can be dangerous as evidence by the toxic Lenape potato, how many more dangerous combinations are possible when the restriction of nature’s laws are bypassed and the combinations become infinite?

  16. I think a lot of the anti-science cynicism that permeates modern thought can be traced to the Cold War, growing up under the threat of the mushroom cloud, the Drug War, institutionalized governmental lying/propaganda, and bad 1950’s B-grade sci-fi movies. Folks are not well schooled in logical thinking. It’s been many, many, many years since Igor worked in the laboratory.

    • That’s actually an excellent point. After all, people were taught to duck and cover in the case of nuclear warhead detonations in the USA, and they believed that would help.

  17. I watched a local scientist speak from his University about science and cloning animals, 10 years before news Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned. This scientist spoke about science needing people to guide or halt science that was acceptable or not acceptable in the human sphere of the world. He told his audience Dolly was soon going to be cloned. I remember thinking wow. Ten years later Clinton had to make a law to restrict human cloning. The scientist on tv warned that ‘science does what it does and it is people who need to say yea or nay by paying attention’. He knew then that people provide the moral collective human approach to guide science, not to rule the world with it. My scientist cousin told me in ’98 GE food was safe, so I continued as before and found food to not have the right taste and it bored me. Cheap food is cheap, no taste. I now allocate more thought and money to food and weirdly eat significantly less while feeling better. I am fully versed on what to eat to avoid chemicals while supporting the environment and ensuring Monsanto is not supported in my family.
    We as people have to remember, by not getting involved, we are missing the boat on what is happening around and about us from science run by heartless global corporations. Companies like Monsanto will exploit for profit in all ways possible: GE, dead ending seeds forcing annual contracts with farmers world wide, using law suits to intimidate or gag law the farmers from talking; tricking farmers to grow gmos as done in SA and this is only since the 90’s.
    Monsanto by past deeds turns people off and rightfully so. Could you trust that Monsanto would understand if you had a few plants growing on your property that blew and grew on the wrong side of the fence and then had to pay far more than what one would ever have paid in the past. I cry when I watch the videos of these farmers being interviewed. Imagine turning neighbors into whistle blowers for Monsanto.
    The Science cannot be trusted because the companies employing the scientists cannot be trusted. The lobbyists are powerful and have many a politician in their pockets, especially in USA since 2010’s bad supreme court decision, politics favors corporations,Glyphosate is classified as a probable carcinogen, over a year now and if Monsanto can get that retracted, then we know, people will have to become more pointed in the approach to these corporations. If this does not indicate the level of distrust to those of you who trust, it will only make things more unsettled. In my view, Monsanto has to suck it up regarding GMOs.
    I have recently read more about Bayer, also with a troubling past, unleashing approved products that had to be removed once people started dying. Bayer and Monsanto work together at times (agent orange)l Interesting… double trouble or ultimate trouble if merges.
    We are becoming human guinea pigs without pay or play. Until Monsanto and the other chemical companies world wide provide long term studies per food meant to make believable testing available for scrutiny, it is a cover up of a slow death from chemicals making it essential to strengthen our immune systems but for how long? There is a reason all baby food up to age 3 is NON GMO.

    • Ha, ha, ha, ha…ever notice how these moral absolutist evangelists so often start out in their comment as if they are calm and thoughtful (but you can sense the extreme effort to be so self restrained, you know it can’t last long). Incrementally they get themselves worked into a hysterical lather as they admonish us about evil over good and the injustice of life in general. Finally their fear and loathing get the better of them and they spin entirely out of control and into an incoherent rant condemning Monsanto and reciting the most recent scare mongering tripe they’ve been indoctrinated with. It’s like riding on a runaway bus. A crazy bus. With the wheels falling off. It must suck to be that sort of doomsday kook and have to live inside their head.

  18. So 88% of (AAAS) Scientists believe genetically modified foods are safe. Tell me…how many of them are actually specialists with any real knowledge of Agricultural Science?

    Frankly I don’t give a crap what a Professor of Mathematics, Geology or Ornithology thinks about GMO’s.

    So once we have narrowed down this ridiculously broad claim to those that do in fact have intimate knowledge of this subject, how many of those in this much smaller group are in fact employed by the GMO industry or at least derive their living from working for or with the corporations that profit from the sale of all things GM?

    Surely it is safe to assume that it would be extremely difficult for these Scientists to bite the hand that literally feeds them? In fact in a recent in a survey of over 3,000 scientists, 16% admitted to “changing the design, methodology or results of a study in response pressure from a funding source” within the previous three years. Among mid-career scientists, 21% admitted to this.

    “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

    • You start with a fair Point. It’s indeed interesting to compare the specializations of the 88% scientists in favour of GMO with that of the 12% against it. But then you say that you’re not interested in scientists’ opinion anyway. My advise: don’t waste words, just say you don’t like and never will like GMO no matter what and end the discussion.

  19. I think people are so fucking stupid. Sure a scientist is going to say that GMO is safe and maybe it is. It’s not about the genetic modification, to create hardy strains. It’s about the poison that the GMO can withstand that kills everything in it’s path. I have a lovely glyphosate filled corn on the cob and there is not a weed or an insect left standing. So what are birds supposed to eat, the bees, the insects. What about Queen Ann’s Lace, Dandelions and milk weed?

    • Your response is very jumbled and pretty unintelligible. Please tell me you don’t think glyphosate kills weeds AND insects … Surely you know glyphosate is only an herbicide and has nothing to do with killing insects. And I don’t even have to ask for your citations on “poison” on GE crops, because I know you don’t have any. Glyphosate is not a “thing in” your corn, but from your description I don’t expect you to understand that.

  20. How can the science be trusted when scientist that beg to differ from what GMO companies want you to believe are persecuted/fired and their work marked as bad. How can they be trusted when there are no long terms studying backing their support? None really have data from unbiased sources backing their support. It is such scientists that said DDT and tobacco are safe. And you want us to again trust these type of scientists. Be for real. Only ignorant people trust them and that is why GMO companies fought GMO labeling in America and these lackey scientists on payroll help them. Be fair and act like good scientists and they will have trust.

    • The only scientist I know of that lost his Job because of a GMO affair was Pusztai in 1998. The guy was 67 years old at the time and went public with preliminary results without Consulting his collaegues. That was misconduct on his side but one can argue that his Institute overreacted a bit. You can check Wikipedia if you don’t believe me, and for a good Analysis I recommend:
      Do you know of any other scientist that lost his/her Job? Also, GMOs are on the market for some 20 years now and yes, initially there were all kinda claims of GMO causing health problems. Yet they never materialized and even Greenpeace don’t use that arguement anymore. Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace’s chief scientist put it like this “If those who are cautious about it like us are wrong, the upshot will be a few years’ delay on some returns to shareholders for large international companies”. If you do some fact checking, you may not feel the need to call others ignorant.

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