Watch out for facts!

posted in: Commentary | 32

Sometimes I get the feeling that I’m in a loosing battle. I have so much peer-reviewed, confirmed, substantiated information about biotechnology, but this information can not be easily compacted into a soundbite. The impact of all this information is not as great as a single picture of a needle sticking a tomato. It doesn’t matter whether the terminator gene has never been used, even Ben Goldacre wrote about it in a way that implied it has been used in his book Bad Science that was about lies perpetuated about science! I can spend days carefully writing a pages-long post based on research but it has a tiny tiny fraction of the impact of someone tweeting “GMOs are evil”.

Sometimes I think there’s a formula that people are using, consciously or subconsciously, to push science about biotechnology away from them as quickly as possible. Well, I think I found the formula, thanks to a commenter at Pharyngula: Oh, No! It’s Making Well-Reasoned Arguments Backed With Facts! Run! by Matthew Barnes. Of course, not everyone who has concerns with biotechnology follows this formula in full or at all, but it is in use by a lot of people. We’ve all seen parts of it in comment boards, interviews, etc all over the place.


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Anastasia is Policy Director of Biology Fortified, Inc. and the Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. She has a PhD in genetics with a minor in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Her favorite produce is artichokes!