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Are GMO bans akin to climate change denial? A piece in this week's New York Times examines the challenges a Hawaiian politician is facing in finding credible information about genetically modified foods, amidst passionate anti-GMO pleas and charges from agricultural researchers that GMO bans are anti-science.

[via Discovery Blogs]


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Er, no. One is a policy that may or may not be informed by scientific evidence as well as a consideration of public preference, however ill- or well-informed. The other is a stance that seeks to undermine confidence in scientific evidence. If there is a comparison, it is between people who deny the scientific evidence for climate change, and those who deny and ignore evidence related to the pros and cons of GMOs. Those pros and cons will not be the same for all GMOs. It is also worth remembering that not all opposition to GMOs is based on a belief that they are dangerous in and of themselves. A lot of opposition is focused around the political economy of GMOs and food production, and the control that widespread adoption of GMOs will give to large corporations.

A lot of opposition to GMOs may based on sentiment and questionable science, but claims that GMO bans are anti-science, and comparisons with climate denial, are in large part desperate attempts by commercial interests to discredit critics and to pretend that the debate about GM is all about the science, when it is often about the political economy of who controls our food supply.