The science deniers of the world, whether they deny evolution, global warming, vaccines, or GMO safety, spend their time inventing pseudoscience to support their beliefs and claims. As I wrote a few weeks ago, “Pseudoscience is easy. It doesn’t take work. It’s the lazy man’s (or woman’s) “science.” But it has no value, and because it lacks high quality evidence in support of it, it should be dismissed, and it should not be a part of the conversation.”
Alternatively, real science is really hard. And it takes time. And it’s based on high quality evidence. And it is repeated. And it is almost always published in high quality journals. As I’ve said a thousand times, real science takes hard work and is intellectually challenging. You just don’t wake up one day and say “I’m a scientist.” No, it requires college, graduate school, teaching, working in world class laboratories, publishing, defending your ideas to your peers, and one day, if you don’t stop, you will be an authority in your little field of science.
The anti-GMO crowd is mostly lazy. They have this luddite belief that all technology is bad, but have absolutely no evidence to support it. Sure, they pick out one or two poorly done articles and then shout for all the world to hear “GMO’s are dangerous to…bees, humans, babies, whales, trees” over and over and over again. Yet what do the GMO refusers really bring to the table?
Without really trying (though it took several days to read through the articles), I found 112 peer-reviewed articles, mostly published in moderate to high impact factor journals that support the safety of GMO crops over a wide range of hypotheses: from transgenic particles in bovine milk to how non targeted insects survive (or don’t). I found several meta reviews, which, as I’ve said before, are the highest quality sources of evidence. None of this research was sponsored by corporations, and frankly, I didn’t have enough time to read all those articles in addition to the ones included here. I even went to the effort to find the 2012 Impact Factors for each of the journals, so you know the quality of the journal. Note that impact factors, though I rely on them, are an imperfect measurement, much like a batting average for a baseball player doesn’t fully explain the skills that he may or may not have.
There were hundreds of other articles I could have included. But these are the ones I judged to be the best. And if you add up all of the conclusions written, a consensus forms. And that is that GMO’s are generally safe. There will be no transgenic DNA in your glass of milk. The transgenic DNA isn’t going to be absorbed through your intestine and cause some autoimmune reaction.
BUT, if the GMO refusers want to provide real scientific evidence that something does happen, I’ll be glad to read it. But be forewarned, if it is junk science, I will call it junk science, like Gilles-Eric Séralini et al.’s paper about GMO corn causing cancer. Except it was poorly designed, utilized bad statistics, and really provided no evidence whatsoever for anything except that Séralini is an incompetent scientist.
Science has provided substantial evidence supporting the assertion that GMO’s are safe. GMO refusers have provided precious little evidence, save for Cherry Picking, Special Pleading, and a few Strawman Arguments. Oh, and the occasional Poisoning the Well with the Big Agra shill accusations. Like I said in another article, “The typical pseudoscientist will use logical fallacies to state very definitively that “it’s proven.” It’s the same whether it’s creationism (the belief that some magical being created the world some small number of years ago), alternative medicine (homeopathy, which is nothing but water, has magical properties to cure everything from cancer to male pattern baldness), or vaccine denialists. The worst problem is that in the world of the internet, if you Google these beliefs, the number of websites and hits that seem to state that they are THE TRUTH™ overwhelm those that are more skeptical or critical.”
But the most important thing is that science isn’t a vote based on the number of papers published. But when the consensus is so heavily weighted to the safety of GMO’s, it’s hard to see anything but a landslide. Now, I know that the typical GMO refuser will cherry pick a couple of poorly designed studies and try to refute all of these. Or they’ll read one or two of the articles, and pick out a sentence that might say “GMO fields showed slightly less insect activity than unused land” (while ignoring all of the other sentences).
You’re asserting that GMO’s are dangerous. Provide evidence. And it better be published in a relatively high impact journal.