Skepticism of Science
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April 3rd, 2013 (07:36 PM).
Join Date: Jul 2008
If an aspiring scientist may add his opinion:
I think a lot of science skepticism is BS. Especially GMO's (I'm majoring in political science and biochem, so I have a bit of expertise here). It's common knowledge that one gene --> one protein. GMO's are basically regular every day organisms with extra genes here or there. These genes may introduce a new protein which provides some nutrient altogether, or a protein that increases the expression of another protein, so that'll increase the nutrient indirectly. That's it. It's hard to create Franken-foods, in fact, from a biochemical perspective, I can't even envision that as possible. If you want to engineer a chicken with two heads, you'll have to identify that gene which causes "head-budding" and then you have to get the protein product to the proper place when the embryo is developing, so you'll need another gene, and so on and so forth. We know what genes look like, what coding begins them, and what coding ends them. So I think it's hard to insert a gene within another gene "by accident" because that would mean you are an incompetent biochemist and did not pay attention in Grade 12 biology.
As for adding genes, I would say it is highly unlikely to make food unsafe, or poisonous. It's a common theme in biology that biological systems are highly regulated. Things evolved for millions of years to get to where they are now. If you inadvertently introduced a toxin into an organism, most likely that organism will die because it did not have a mechanism for keeping itself safe from that toxin.
The only negative aspects of GMO's are economic, and that gene flow into the ecosystem can screw up biodiversity, but that again is economic as well because most of the crops we grow are bioengineered anyways through breeding and are not native to the ecosystem they're in. It's a big threat to farmers who don't have as high yields, but I wouldn't call the food itself unsafe.
but why do we as a society tend to not merely question science but try to deny it (or prove it wrong, in a very unscientific way)?
I don't think I'll ever understand how an intellectually less rigourous answer could defeat something that has a lot more substance. And I don't know why people try. If they want to prove it wrong, then they should follow scientific principles. I feel that a lot of this is brought up by politicians and journalists that have no expertise in these matters, and more concerned about their own interests.
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To me at least, the skepticism from the left comes from misgivings about how humans will handle such technology, and how things economics, politics, and human error can play a factor.
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A scientist would say "that's the engineer's problem". We're here to come up with ideas and experiments, engineers turn them into realities XD
Climate change is pretty legit. Scientists across the board agree that it is happening. Dissenting views tend to be propagated by the media. Science doesn't lie. You have hypothesis that are supported or not by evidence. Everybody can look at the evidence, and some people can have differing views, but all of those views are backed by evidence. It's not stuff that is somehow far away, inaccessible to the average person, though that's what the media would like you to think. Everybody can educate themselves in science, or at least basic concepts and understand where these scientific claims are coming from.
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