Need Safeguards for Gene-Tinkered Foods
mhollowa at ic.sunysb.edu
Thu Jun 24 13:30:23 EST 1993
In article <1993Jun22.172144.19198 at news.unige.ch> hauriex at divsun.unige.ch (HAURIE Xavier) writes:
>Dr. Cummings is RIGHT, in my view, to invite people NOT trained in the area
>of genetic "tinkering" to join the debate.
> Now Dr. Cummings may be wrong, and that
>is what exactly Mr. Erickson should be focusing on, trying to disprove Dr. Cummings
>claims. THAT is, I believe, the proper attitude. After having read Dr. Cummings
>detailed explanations and Mr. Erickson groundless attacks, I am more enclined to
>believe Dr. Cummings.
Paul Schlosser's response is not only the right attitude to take for the
sake of public relations when confronting pseudo-science, he also does a
decent job of pointing out some of the more obvious nonsense in the
propaganda, though he and everyone else have missed the most glaring lie in
the drivel. In relating the tryptophan story they conveniently fail to
mention that the cause of the ill effects due to the pills had been found
to be traces of phenol left from the extraction and purification process.
The problems with the pills had nothing to do with "gene-tinkering". Cummings,
et.al. have to know this if they've read any of the reports on the subject.
What's often missed by academics when confronted with something like this
is that these are not honorable people motivated by honorable principles.
You shouldn't view these folks as a isolated phenomenon but look at them
along side of their other psuedo-scientific, anti-science, hysterical
brethern: the scientific creationists, the animal rights activists,
astrologers and spoon-benders, etc. You can point out their glaring errors
in fact to them privately or in a public forum but you can bet that not only
will they be ready to obfuscate things further but they will use the same
"fact" the very next chance they get. They have no interest in the facts.
They have an agenda and usually some vested interest of their own, like an
book or an organization that employs them. By insisting on giving them the
benefit of the doubt and treating their arguments with respect you have
given them a legitimacy that they would not have enjoyed if you had just
ignored them. I don't recommend ignoring them however. We've seen how well
that works. Scientific creationism is still a force in our public schools
and animal rights activists are still making headway in the government and
with the public. They have to be denounced for the liers that they are.
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