Friday, May 10, 2013

Problems With Genetic Engineering & Genetically Modified Organisms (A Basic Overview Of The Issues)

Public Relations & Political Influence

The controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms has persisted as the agricultural biotech industry has continued to promote its creations around the world. Unfortunately, many people still do not understand the issues relating to genetic engineering and the products of that process. The ignorance surrounding this subject can largely be credited to the PR efforts of corporate agribusiness. These PR efforts have been so successful that at this point in time it can very difficult to engage in honest civil discussion about the issues related to genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms.

A popular accusation used against the opponents of GMO technology is that they are the “climate change deniers of the left.” This dismissive accusation, while quite cleverly crafted, entirely misses the substance and reality of the issues at hand. For one thing, it serves to inaccurately classify the opponents of GMO technology as leftists. This serves to marginalize them along the arbitrary lines of a left/right political dichotomy and casts the issue in a political light which is largely irrelevant. But suffice it say that it's not just leftists who oppose this technology. The next attribute of this phrase, equating them to “climate change deniers,” also serves to create another false parallel which can potentially serve to divide people. People on the right side of the political spectrum don't want to be seen as sympathizing with an issue of “the left” and informed people of any political persuasion do not want to be equated with any sort of climate change denial. But the reality of this accusation is that it obfuscates the real issues at hand.