By Daniel Javier, Director of CSR in WORLDCOB
I am an Agricultural Engineer and have a scientific background, so it always irritates me when people are against something without any scientific reason but instead because they “feel” that something isn’t right.
One of the the things scientific training teaches you is to question everything constantly, to not take anything as a given, to assume that you can always be mistaken and that you should only surrender to proof, to evidence.
However, I have come across many people in this life who have an easy time saying NO, only because it seems like a good idea…and personally I believe PROHIBITING something should only happen in extremis, as a tested and proven last resort.
To give an example, the Catholic church has fought against science for hundreds of years and reluctantly has had to adjust little by little to reality and stop forcing reality to adapt to dogma (a little) by giving in to scientific evidence…but whenever they had enough power they took it upon themselves to extinguish any opposing opinions: “E pur si muove”.
Dogmas – fixed and solid immovable truths, be they true or false – are the columns which support political ideologies, belief systems and moral values.
In general, behind this “denial” lies very human reasons – ignorance and fear. Science can be a little frightening to people – this fear also being driven by very human characteristics, such as curiosity and sometimes ambition. It moves so quickly that it puts our mental capacity, our intellect, our spirits to the test in order to keep up.
But in general, in this still imperfect human world – partly because it’s constantly changing – science and technology have shown over and over again that they are positive forces that have improved our prospects and quality of life. And even though at times they create new issues, they also bring about new solutions.
So why on earth am I going on like this?
It’s because not too long ago more than 100 Nobel prize winners signed a letter in support of GENETICALLY MODIFIED PRODUCTS.
They have reignited the controversy and confronted organizations like Greenpeace (who, yes, do good things but can also really botch things up).
For years I have gone around debating, arguing and listening to all manner of reasons why genetically modified products should be banned and never, not once, has anyone given one single piece of scientific evidence to prove their hypothesis.
On the contrary, the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has been widely supported on a global scale. Today, more than 240 international scientific organizations back the safety of genetically modified crops and foods. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have recognized their safety as well as their key role in achieving a more sustainable agriculture that will contribute to the fight against hunger and climate change, and respond to the growing demand for food arising from population growth and changes in dietary habits.
So let’s be categorical here – there is no scientific reason to ban genetically modified products!
If the problem is accessing technology on the part of producers, or the big laboratories, or the “tariffs”, then that is a separate matter – an economic issue which must be resolved by other methods. But there certainly is no risk to people’s health or the environment.
And please do not worry, because scientists will always be on the lookout for new evidence and will question everything.
Banning something “just in case”, because it sounds strange to you or because a slogan or cute phrase told you to is nonsense…it’s good instead to be informed, to educate yourself, to learn and to question things, to be curious, to be critical of things including yourself, and to listen to what those who have studied and specialized in a subject have to say.
As the saying goes, intelligent people are full of doubts, while the foolish ones are full of confidence.