GLP Podcast: Biotech’s ‘dark side’; Pro-science consumers spread ‘misinformation’; Mandatory HPV shots?

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Biotechnology has launched a revolution in food and medicine, but it can also be badly misused by governments and individual scientists. How big of a threat are these bad actors? If you “trust science,” you’re more likely to believe and promote falsehoods online, says a new study. The HPV vaccine prevents the spread of some very aggressive cancers. But relatively few teenagers are getting the shot. Is it time for mandates?

Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:

Genetically engineered crops and vaccines are enormously useful applications of biotechnology. But how do we encourage the continued development of these life-saving tools without allowing rouge governments to produce deadly bioweapons? The simple fact is that biotech, like all innovations, can be used for good or evil. Encouraging the former and stopping the latter is not always an easy balance to maintain.

People who believe they “trust science” are more inclined to spread false information. This is because “misinformation” can be dressed up in the trappings of reliable scientific research, misleading even those who think they know how to tell fact from fallacy. The key to properly spotting bad science, according to a new study, is developing a healthy skepticism of every source of information until it proves itself trustworthy. In short, becoming a critical thinker is the best defense against being bamboozled.

Is it time to mandate HPV vaccines for all teenagers? The question raises difficult ethical questions and stirs up a rebellious urge for manny Americans, who feel this is yet another example of big government encroaching on their right to make health care decisions for their families. Do they have a point, or is HPV such a threat that vaccine mandates make sense?

Recommended Twitter follows: @InglesDietitian and @TheBabylonBee

Kevin M. Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Follow Professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta

Cameron J. English is the director of bio-sciences at the American Council on Science and Health. Follow ACSH on Twitter @ACSHorg

Related article:  Why autism looks so different in girls
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