Genetically modified foods are now being touted as the magic bullet that can help feed the world, cut back on our energy use, and soothe the broken environment. The only problem is that the darn environmentalists keep getting in the way. In the November issue of Prospect, Dick Taverne argues that an irrational distrust of genetically modified (GM) foods have forced governments to slap GM crops with “costly, time-consuming, and unnecessary regulatory obstacles before they can be licensed.”
The whole debate over genetically modified foods is intellectually misguided, Taverne writes. The debate should be simple: GM foods help feed people. So if you don’t like GM foods, you don’t like feeding people.
In reality, the argument is a bit more complex. Surprisingly, the comments page of the Prospect article is filled with good information on the GM debate, hidden inside a flurry of insults and obscenities. The anti-GM posters accuse GM adherents ignoring the grim hand of “Corporate America.” The GM supporters paint their detractors as anti-scientific troglodytes. Ingo Potrykus—one of the creators a strain of rice called Golden Rice, genetically infused with vitamin A—even gives his two cents, assuring readers that he is not, in fact, a corporate shill.
The piece de résistance of the comment board is a new conspiracy theory. Did you know that there is a “Veganist Jihad” who’s “true agenda” is “mass famine” and“ widespread disease.” They also want a feudalistic society of global enslavement. And here I was thinking that vegans just liked cows.
(Thanks Arts and Letters Daily.)