Never swayed by science? Why arguing with anti-GMO activists could strengthen their skepticism

GMO protester e
GMO protester. Image: Steve Savage.

Genetic engineering is revolutionizing crop farming, bringing benefits to farmers, the environment and consumer health. Its opponents, however, are not swayed by any of the science. On the contrary, it makes them believe the exact opposite of the truth.

A recent study of 21 years of GM (genetically modified) maize production in Spain and Portugal found that genetically engineered crops outperformed conventional crops in every respect. But don’t tell people who are irrationally afraid of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). They don’t want to hear it, and if they do, it’ll just make them more stubbornly opposed. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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People who are strongly opposed to GM respond just as negatively to a message that says GM is safe as to a message warning of its dangers, according to a study published in February 2019 in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. This confirms the findings of a previous study. It found 64% of US consumers were opposed to GM food, and of those, 71%….were “absolutely” opposed. It concluded that “many opponents are evidence insensitive and will not be influenced by arguments about risks and benefits”

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