Friday, January 10, 2014

Winning the War of the Mind - GMO's

Here is an objective look at the GMO debate (I know its coming from me but I am trying to be as objective as possible here). Right now there is a huge disconnect between what the bio tech folks are saying and what the anti-GMO folks are hearing. You can read it all over the internet in threads from articles about GMOs (both for and against). The reason for this disconnect are the motivating factors behind the beliefs. Let's look at the anti-GMO folks. Their big motivation is fear. Fear of disease, of allergies, of neurological disorders, of environmental disaster, of corporate monopolies of paid politicians, of the unknown. Fear is a huge motivator. Especially when you have children. Many of the anti's (as they so lovingly call us) are parents and now have the responsibility of protecting our offspring the best we can. One of the biggest ways we can control this is by what we give our children to eat and if there is a shred of doubt as to the safety of a certain product, we will not give it to our kids. We don't need to drown ourselves in scientific studies to create or assuage this fear either, frankly, its human nature and this is very important to understand.

Now lets look at the pro-science guys (I'm supposed to call them that because pro-GMO isn't fair apparently). What is their motivator? What motivates them to spend HOURS upon HOURS refuting the anti claims, slamming studies down their throats and claiming they know more than anyone else on the subject? I would suppose its money. I mean, no sane person would spend that much time on this unless there was some reward or paycheck at the end of it all. I have come to find that most of these pro-science folks work for bio techs, food companies or chemical companies and the like. The know that the burden of proof lies with them otherwise they will be out of a job. They work hard at trying to prove with scientific studies (double blind, peer reviewed) that GMOs are safe, do not increase the use of herbicides, benefit the farmer, feed the starving and are sustainable. However, whether that is all true or not is not the issue, the issue is their delivery. They come off as condescending, smug, glib and downright pompous. They insult the intelligence of the anti's by calling them anti-science when frankly, this is just not true. These bio tech folks need to take a page out of a marketing text book and realize that they need to start appealing to the fears of the anti's and stop attacking them with character insults. This derogatory behavior only leads to strengthening the anti's position and making them distrust the bio techs even more.

So to summarize, its really the way the pro-science guys are speaking to the anti-GMO crowd that seems to be the issue. The key for them will not be with their science, it will be with psychology. But they don't seem to know or understand that and therefore they will most likely lose this battle. I do believe there is a huge food revolution growing right now and its in the opposite direction of where the GMO's are going. (OK this last part wasn't so objective....sorry, it is a green blog after all ;))