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Could it be that science will win?

By Holly Martin

Could it be that science will win? Forgive me for being pessimistic, but until recently, I didn’t think so.

Normally, I’m an optimist—which is almost a given of anyone involved in the agriculture industry. We see our wheat crop freeze, not once or twice, but three times and still hold out hope. We watch a cow lose a calf and immediately hope for a better outcome next year.

But when it comes to the whole struggle with critics of biotechnology, I was afraid science was losing. Europe had gone crazy rebuffing the technology. The anti-GMO movement in the United States was in full swing. And most recently there was a push to have genetically modified foods labeled.

It was a struggle I wasn’t sure science could win. It seemed logic had been thrown out the window and “unscience,” as it has been called, was in the driver’s seat.

But even the Californians showed a rational side by rejecting a GMO labeling proposition. And then I recently came across a blog called Sleuth 4 Health, written by a woman in Portland. I do not know her background other than what she says of herself. She readily admits being on the anti-GMO bandwagon with both feet, two arms and her hind end planted in the seat.

And then reason took over. She entered into a virtual debate with a real, honest-to-goodness scientist. She asked. He answered. And now? Now she says this, “Scientific evidence, the real kind, the kind that is peer-reviewed and published in respectable journals does NOT show harm from eating genetically modified food.”

She says, “Scientists are laughing at us—but they’re also crying because movements like this wield a lot of power and well meaning folks can, unbeknownst, do more harm than good.” Perhaps her biggest revelation was that there is essentially no debate in science community on the safety of GMOs.

If that sounds familiar, you might remember that just a few months ago, I wrote about renowned anti-GMO activist Mark Lynas, who stood up and announced he had been wrong. The more he researched, the more he came to know that the science behind biotechnology is sound.

He said, “I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.”

And these two aren’t alone. With increasing regularity, I’m seeing articles popping up in mainstream media that reveal science has won a few battles in the GMO war.

Just as these two activists have changed their minds about GMOs, I too have changed my mind. I think science can win in the end and I’ll be happy to be a witness.

To be honest, I’m not sure what has actually changed, but it would be worth the agriculture industry’s time to examine this important turn of events.

But I do know a couple of things. I know that biotechnology is the future of our world. Biotechnology has a place in sustainably feeding the population that is growing exponentially.

And I hope that this trend we are seeing touting the benefits of biotechnology soon far outweighs the critics. And when it does, it will be a good day for agriculture.

Holly Martin can be reached by phone at 1-800-452-7171 ext. 1806, or by email at hmartin@hpj.com.

Date: 5/13/2013

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