Being anti-GMO ‘doesn’t make you anti-science’

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Pro-GMO rhetoric has increased tremendously in news media. And a new rhetorical talking point has come to the forefront, which threatens anyone who speaks out against this technology: If you are anti-GMOs you are anti-science.

This is a brilliant strategy to promote genetic engineering. People don’t want to be characterized as anti-science. But, there is absolutely no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs.

So why have we fallen for the distortion that concern about GMOs is indicative of one’s lack of scientific knowledge? Because a select group of scientists and media have told us so.

Research has shown that upstream scientists – such as biotechnologists, agricultural technicians – carry far less concern for potential risks than do downstream scientists – such as epidemiologists, and environmental toxicologists.

And scientists tend to support other scientists – especially those with money and prestige, who are largely upstream scientists. Downstream scientists have to produce immaculate, rigorous research – and even then they are questioned by the industrial PR machine.

At the heart of this new rhetoric by Monsanto is the popularity of technology and science in our society. However, science and technology are not equivalent. Science and technology are all too often conflated and this has been exploited by the GMO industry to support the acceptance of their products under the guise of scientific authority.

We should not be bullied into blindly accepting a controversial technology. As of now, GMOs do nothing for society but enlarge the coffers agrichemical giants. They have not alleviated hunger or increased environmental sustainability. To question their value – and risk – is scientific at its core.

Read full, original post: GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science

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