Over the weekend I noticed the “Say No To GMO” protest at Parkinson (A rec center here that holds the off season farmers market). I was a little confused. Did the people protesting understand that almost everything we eat has been genetically modified. Or that our species has been genetically modifying the food we grow for thousands of years. Granted today we can modify the plants in a lab, instead of selective pollinating out in the field. But does that make it bad?
Science says no. Everything bio-tech product that comes out of a lab is strictly regulated, and rigorously tested before it is allowed to come to market. The benefits of being able to target certain genes in a lab, makes the process faster and safer then selective pollinating in the field. There are great things being done in the biotechnology field, we can now make plants more pest resistant, which means less pesticide. Higher yield crops means more food on less space. They can now even enhance the vitamin content of the food to make it even more healthy. Why, after all of that, would you still want to say no to GMO?
The truth is, the argument against biotechnology is one of ignorance and fear. Like most new technology on the market people are afraid of it. Some don't really understand it. And ever prevalent is the naturalistic logical fallacy, the belief that everything natural is good and anything done in a lab is bad for you. While I can give you numerous examples of instances where this is not true, I will try to keep this letter short.
So, instead of saying no to GMO, say yes to science education and scientific literacy.