Regarding the May 18 Politics & the Nation article “Are GMO crops safe? Focus on the plant, not the process, scientists say”:
Enough already! How many National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reports does it take to give the answer that after decades of research there is no conclusive evidence that genetically engineered crops pose heightened health risks or environmental problems?
Whether it is GMOs, climate change or evolution, two critical issues persist. First, how do you stop partisans from ignoring the weight of scientific evidence and cherry-picking or buying research findings that suit their prejudices or self-interest? And second, how do you build public trust in and regulate scientific and technological knowledge that is hitting us, to quote Isaac Asimov, “faster than society gathers wisdom”?
The media aid and abet this horrific state by striving for so-called balanced journalism. It gives the false impression that the opinion or work of a handful of academics is equivalent to the conclusions of the National Academies or government research institutions. Citizens are left fearful, bad policies are made, valuable technologies are discarded, and dangerous medical and environmental practices continue.
Meaningful global action to reduce carbon pollution and minimize the impacts of climate change is not taken. And in the case of vaccine safety, children die.
Better science education is one answer. Also needed are brave and informed decision-makers, honest industry and nonprofit executives, responsible editors and reporters, and scientists willing to engage the public. To paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), everyone is entitled to his own opinions but not his own facts.
Julia A. Moore, Bethesda