The Consequences of Science Denial

Michael Specter, a staff writer for the New Yorker, gives a great talk about the consequences of science denial in his TED Talk: The danger of science denial.  He eloquently expresses my feelings about why the objections to genetically modified organisms (GMO) and vaccines are stupid and harmful.

Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.

I cannot help but draw parallels to the climate change denial campaign that is underway today.  Question the claims, debate the magnitude, and challenge the scientific rigor, certainly, but that is part of what it means to be peer-reviewed, and the scientific evidence is clear: Humanity is having a drastic negative impact on the climate, which will continue to get worse until we address the issue!

Think before you blindly accept some non-scientific statement like “vaccines cause autism.”  It may just save some lives.

Happy Greening!

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  1. Great talk! Thanks for sharing it!
    I totally agree with the vaccine issue and my entire family is up to date on all vaccines, but in the same light, I don’t think it’s right to force people to vaccinate against their will. They need real education and a choice.

    That’s the same issue I have with GMO. If it’s a choice, it should be a clear choice. I think it’s important for everyone to be able to know what they are eating, GMO or otherwise.

  2. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for the comments and thoughts.

    The challenge with vaccinations as I see it is that if everyone that can doesn’t get vaccinated, then they can become potential carriers and can infect those that cannot get vaccinated for some reason, such as egg allergies (many vaccines and shots use some sort of egg derivative as a base).

    As for the GMO, Michael makes a point that since we began cultivating food, we have been modifying the genetics with selective breeding of plants (and animals) before we understood genes. Now we are doing it with more discipline and detail, but it is still genetic modification in both cases. I’m all for making it clear what is in our food through labeling, but I also think this is not a useful way of categorizing food.


  3. Hey, Jon (and Alicia)!

    I really love your blog! You give your readers a lot of food for thought!

    I never thought about that point you made about the vaccines….Our dear neighbor has an egg allergy and can’t be vaccinated for that reason. Good point!

    I still think GMO has a hard road ahead of it because people associate a lot of GMO with Monsanto, which unfortunately doesn’t have the best environmental reputation. I’m not really that educated on the subject, so I can’t say much about it either way. I’m a vegetarian (although my family is not) and I’ve heard talk from other vegetarians that they wouldn’t want to find out that were unknowingly eating animals with some GMO foods. I have no idea how that even works or if it’s even possible, but if it is, I agree that it would be nice to know.

    Thanks for your reply! 🙂

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