Is it anti-science to be anti-GMOs?
“The science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.” So asserts the consensus statement on genetically modified organisms released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science last October. At the beginning of this year, Mark Lynas, an environmentalist known for his anti-GMO activities – and who helped to start the anti-GMO movement – apologized for spreading false misinformation and reversed his position. His distrust of GMOs had been anti-science, he explained, in the same way that climate change denial is.
Why do so many read something unnatural, and even sinister, into what scientists see not only as safe, but as an important advancement toward addressing food and nutritional deficiencies? The latest iteration of this in the Western world was an investigation into genetically modified corn published in Elle magazine, which reporter Caitlin Shetterly blamed for a series of chronic health problems. Slate's Jon Entire revealed the article to be biased to the point of blatant inaccuracy: Almost all of the scientists Shetterly named in the article, when contacted by Entine, claimed that she had either misquoted them or misrepresented their position.