Map of the day

Social liberalism/conservatism by state.  More here.

Photo of the day

From the National Geographic tumblr:

Alan Shepard waits to become the first American in space, Cape Canaveral, 1961.Photograph by NASA

Alan Shepard waits to become the first American in space, Cape Canaveral, 1961.PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA

GMO’s: liberals’ climate change

Ugh.  Just finished a really depressing NYT piece about the GMO controversy in Hawaii and a single politician who was willing to stand up to the hysteric anti-GMO crowd and actually learn about the science.  And what does the science have to say:

He heard many times that there were no independent studies of the safety of genetically modified organisms. But Biofortified, which received no funding from industry, listed more than a hundred such studies, including a 2010 comprehensive review sponsored by the European Union, that found “no scientific evidence associating G.M.O.s with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.” It echoed similar statements by the World Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  [emphasis mine]

Look there’s plenty of reason to be concerned about the business practices of Monsanto.  There’s potentially legitimate concerns about cross-pollination, and similar problems.  But there’s actually zero evidence that GMO foods, when eaten, pose any greater threat to human health than non GMO foods.  There’s clear scientific consensus on this.  Just as much as there is on anthropogenic climate change.  Sadly, liberals are just as good at completely ignoring science they don’t like as are conservatives.

The comments on the Times article are a depressing bunch of comments that would not seem out of place in a climate change discussion.  Rather than a scientific conspiracy to get tenure and please the liberal media (or whatever supposed motivation all the climate scientists have), the scientists cannot be trusted because every last one is in the pocket of big agribusiness.  And many raise some very legitimate concerns about how modern agribusiness is practiced (just like there’s some real concerns of the economic impact of various approaches to climate change).  Or, the fact that science has been wrong about things before!  But that just doesn’t get around the fact that the science is very clearly saying something and the people just don’t like it so they are ignoring and/or discounting it for ideological reasons.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  Throughout history, science has been wrong lots.  Alas, its the best thing we’ve got for understanding the world.  Given the choice of science or not science, I’ll take science every single time.  Will it be wrong some?  Sure (but thanks to the way science works, it is largely self-correcting over time), but over the long run you just aren’t going to find anything better to understand the natural world.

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