Who's More Ignorant, Liberals or Conservatives?
The news has been filled the past few days with sparkling examples of scientific know-nothingism from the left and the right. The only question is, whose willful ignorance is more disheartening?
Liberal ignorance was captured in a wonderful New York Times article over the weekend about the successful campaign to legally bar genetically modified crops in Hawaii.
The willingness of the anti-GM crusaders to disregard empirical evidence was breathtaking. The usual ills ascribed to GM foods were on full display during the debate leading up to the ban -- cancer in laboratory rats, childhood autoimmune diseases, overuse of pesticides, genetic contamination, disappearance of butterflies and bees. Never mind that none of these claims are supported by research, and all the available evidence indicates that GM foods are indistinguishable from other foods. And then there are the Hawaiian papaya farmers whose livelihoods were saved by genetic engineering.
No one was more dismayed by the wild and unfounded assertions than the scientists who were called as expert witnesses during hearings on the bill: "'These are my people, they're lefties, I'm with them on almost everything,' said Michael Shintaku, a plant pathologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who testified several times against the bill. 'It hurts.'"
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