The pro-GM lobby’s seven sins against science
17 December 2012
The role that genetically modified (GM) food should play in our food chain is a highly contested political issues. One interesting facet of the debate in the past year has been the pro-GM lobby’s interest in staking the ‘scientific high-ground’; simultaneously positioning itself as the voice of reason and progress, while painting its opponents as unsophisticated ‘anti-science’ luddites, whose arguments are full of dogma and emotion, but lack scientific rigour. In this essay Peter Melchett explores how such crude characterisations are themselves based on logic that is itself profoundly damaging to the concept and representation of ‘science’ in our national culture.
Powerful forces in Western society have been promoting genetic engineering (now usually genetic modification – GM) in agricultural crops since the mid-1990s. They have included many governments, in particular those of the USA and UK, powerful individual politicians like George Bush and Tony Blair, scientific bodies like the UK’s Royal Society, research councils, successive UK Government chief scientists, many individual scientists, and companies selling GM products. They have ignored the views of citizens, and most sales of GM food have relied on secrecy – denying consumers information on what they are buying (20 US States are currently embroiled in fierce battles over GM labelling, strenuously opposed by Monsanto). Worse, they have consistently promoted GM in ways which are not only unscientific, but which have been positively damaging to the integrity of science.
This is, of course, an argument usually aimed at those who, like me, are opposed to GM crops. We are accused of being ‘anti-science’, emotional and irrational, and more recently, of being as bad as ‘Nazi book burners’ by the President of the National Farmers’ Union. This criticism has been effective in framing the debate about GM crops in the media in the UK, where the conflict over GM is routinely presented as a debate between those who are pro and those who are anti-science. This is reinforced by the fact that those selected to speak in favour of GM are usually themselves scientists (albeit often working for GM companies, or funded to work on GM crops), and those selected to oppose GM crops are usually environmentalists, farmers, or citizens concerned about the safety of the food they eat. Scientists who are critical of GM crops are almost never interviewed by the media.
The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination
“While We Were Sleeping”
Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD
About News From Underground
News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.
If you'd like to receive updates delivered to your inbox daily, sign up for News From Underground Alerts:
Help News From Underground!
Message from Mark: "I am a one-man operation, although assisted greatly by some volunteers, and, now and then, by people paid by others for one-time projects. There is no shortage of skilled, dedicated folks out there who want to help me. There is, however, nothing I can pay them with, unless you decide you can contribute something."
Please donate via the PayPal button above or via PayPal by email to: email@example.com
- Joe Biden spreads the “fracking gospel” in Ukraine!
- Obama (finally!) sacks his pardons attorney
- BBC takes a close look at those NYTimes photographs of “Russian troops”
- Four years later, BP’s Gulf is still a hell on earth
- In Washington, you can get away with murder (and that’s not all), but NOT with blowing the whistle on it
- ray on Don’t buy these products from Koch Industries!
- Bruce P., M.D. on After David Koch leaves NIH board, NIH classifies formaldehyde—a big Koch product—as a cause of cancer
- Jonny Fredagsvik on MetroPCS is blocking Netflix, Skype and other sites–unless you pay extra
- Uncle Sam on Don’t buy these products from Koch Industries!
- Brian on In California, GMO food labeling law will be on ballots on Election Day!
- NATO moving in on Russia (2 items)
- EU spy chief sees NO Russian troops in East Ukraine
- Don't buy these products from Koch Industries!
- NYU Law School trustee subpoenas NYU law students' emails
- Joe Biden spreads the "fracking gospel" in Ukraine!
- Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
- The International Human Press
- Early America
- Suburban Guerrilla
- alias Bruce
- Writers Voice
- Democratic Undergroud
- Talking Points Memo
- Evil GOP Bastards
- William Betz
- Richard Charnin
- Barry Gordon
- The Ostroy Report
- Words of Power
- History Unfolding
- Veterans for Common Sense
Need a bigger font size?
- Your link could be here too, contact us for pricing details.