Today I discovered a new blog, Illumination, written by Kevin Folta, a molecular biologist and tenured professor, whose blog tagline is: An old adage says, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. I think we better do both.
Gotta love that.
Anyway, I’ve been making my way through his posts.
This particular one was quite the read. In it he gives up on trying to discuss genetically modified food with the naysayers.
. . . I swing from left to right on issue to issue, so my political philosophies don’t fit conveniently in a box. However, I absolutely relate to a more left-leaning mindset, especially on social issues. It is a shame to witness the people I agree with on so many levels go completely off the deep end on the science of transgenic crops. I expect this from the evolution hating, stem cell bashing, earth cooling goofballs on the right, but from those that allegedly embrace learning and education?
I’ve found many that oppose biotechnology to be some of the meanest, nastiest, narrow-minded people I have ever encountered. Those that say they honor nature, reason, and peace are such hypocrites. They too can be pointy, ignorant, arrogant and unchangeable, anchored in the mud of lies and misinformation that they refuse to be pulled out of. They blatantly shun the lifeline of logic.
Oh man, I feel your pain. I can’t even discuss this issue with my husband. Thom Hartmann says GMOs are bad, so it must be true, right? (Let’s just forget that whole “Argument from Authority” fallacy.)
It’s been a while since I’ve really gotten into it with any of my left-leaning friends, but then again, I’ve been otherwise occupied with making photographs. Or maybe it’s because I’ve come to the same conclusions as Kevin: Why bother?
His post reminded me of one I wrote awhile back: Denialism, it ain’t just on the right:
It frustrates me to no end to see intelligent people on the left crowing about how stupid and science-denying the right is when it comes to things like evolution and climate change and then turn around and insist that the government, big pharma, the NIH, yada yada yada, are in cahoots to either “keep us all sick” or “kill us all.” That cell phones will give us all cancer. That apricots will cure cancer. (Does that mean I should be munching on an apricot while on my iPhone, just to balance things out?)
In recent days I’ve tried to gently discuss the newest food fad, gluten-free food, with a co-worker who swears it is making her feel better and more energetic. I asked her if she’d been diagnosed with Celiac disease, a real ailment that really does require restricting gluten. Oh, no, she hadn’t gone to a doctor, but cutting out flour made her feel So Much Better. <sigh> I didn’t even bother trying to talk about confirmation bias or the bandwagon effect. I just poured my coffee and went back to my desk.
Seriously, it’s like pissing into the wind sometimes. Still, I suspect I’ll keep plugging.