Another day, another demonization of genetic engineering.
Yesterday, as I sat in on a meeting of a group of highly educated, highly credentialed college administrators and faculty members, the casual conversation that precedes most formal meetings turned to the subject of food. It’s the holiday season. It’s what people love to discuss, especially in the context of “I have to stop snacking/indulging/overeating or else I’m going to regret it.”
One of the attendees, who holds an advanced degree and who can cite statistics and studies until the sun goes down about academic excellence and student success, chimed in with this bromide:
“Well, with all the GMOs that are in our food now, it’s a wonder we’re not all getting sick.”
As if it’s common knowledge, shared wisdom, accepted “truth” that our food supply is contaminated with deadly substances that will sicken or even kill us as we sit at the dinner table or the breakfast nook with the family. Poisons that were deliberately and consciously engineered into the most basic of commodities essential to maintaining life, liberty and the American way.
And this statement was uttered by someone who, by any reasonable definition, is a member of the intelligentsia, the elite, intellectually speaking. Which raises the question: What chance do the proponents of biotechnology have in convincing “ordinary” people that the science of genetic engineering isn’t causing food products to be turned into packaged death if so-called smart people readily accept the Frankenfoods argument?
Here was my response to her comment.
Security in science
First of all, I asked this woman if she trusts in the credibility of the PhDs and the scientists employed as faculty and researchers at the college. Does she believe that they’re reputable, that they subscribe to the scientific method, that they bring the proper level of skepticism required of anyone who makes a career of scientific inquiry.
The answer was yes, of course.
I asked if her if she believed that the faculty who teach chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics are properly trained. Does she feel confident they have the requisite knowledge, the broad understanding of the research and discovery that underlies the information they share with students.
At this point, she agreed, but started getting annoyed, because it became obvious where I was going with my argument.
Yes, but what does that have to do with GMOs? she asked.