There’s a lot of buzz about Mark Lynas having done an about face on GMOs:

In a January 2013 lecture to the Oxford Farming Conference, Lynas detailed his conversion from an organizer of the the anti-GMO food movement in Europe to becoming a supporter of the technology.

Lynas is an environmentalist and author in Britain who appears quite cognizant of the dangers of climate change, but who is taking more of a pro-nuclear energy line, such  as Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catolog among other wonderful things, has been promoting of late.

There’ve been lots of responses to Lynas on this. Roberta L. Millstein, who teaches philosophy at UC Davis, makes some interesting and useful comments here. Millstein makes a reasoned argument for caution on GMOs, pointing out a number of half-truths in Lynas’ reasoning, arguing that it’s probably necessary to consider the safety of GMOs on a case-by-case basis.

I agree with Millstein. I’d add that the efficacy of individual GMOs should also be looked at critically. It’s easy for a firm that’s invested huge amounts of money to believe that they’re developing the best thing since peanut butter, especially when their marketing people get engaged. But often there’s no “there there.”


ADVERTISEMENT