By Tom Rhodes, 2/3/2015
Pew Research survey shows there is a huge gap between what scientists believe and what the average person believes. "On the whole, as compared to most members of the public, scientists are likely drawing from a larger scientific knowledge base — and thinking more scientifically — about each of these issues," George Mason Univ. communications professor Edward Mailbach wrote in an email. "Therefore, their views appear to be more in line with a completely dispassionate reading of the risks versus the benefits."
The biggest split between scientists and the general public is on GMO foods. Fully 88 percent of the scientists surveyed said it is safe to eat genetically modified foods, while only 37 percent of the public say it is safe and 57 percent say it is unsafe. Over two thirds, 68 percent of scientists indicated it is safe to eat foods grown with pesticides, compared with only 28 percent of the general public.
Dispassionately looking at the facts, the war on GMO is clearly emotional not rational. Libertarians in general are somewhat more scientific, that’s why differences in libertarians opinions on GMO’s are more towards labeling issues, not banning issues. I generally like to point out the average US lifespan before the general use of pesticides, antibiotics, and GMOs compared to after their general use. The data is clear, pesticides, GMO’s, and antibiotics in our food production has accompanied a huge increase in our lifespan.
Consider the type 2 diabetes, there is an obvious and measurable increase in type 2 diabetes. Lots and lots of people want to blame our diet, GMOs, etc. What people don’t recognize or look at is the fact that we have a lot more people living long enough to get it. The average person who is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is over 50. Now 100 years ago the average lifespan in the USA was under 50. The increase in type 2 diabetes very closely matches the increase in our population’s age. More older people more old people diseases. Not to say that our food does not contribute to the problem, but would you rather large numbers of people didn’t live to 50, or having to deal with diseases that generally don’t happen until 50? The real reason we are seeing more type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases is we have a lot more people surviving long enough to get those diseases. Let’s face it, we are better off with more people dying of old age diseases in their 60’s to 80’s than when people died in their 20’s to 40’s of the flu or foodborne disease, or animal borne pathogens. Those disease increases are an indicator, they mean we’re living longer fuller lives. More than medicine, engineering has prolonged our lives, from cheap refrigerators, cheap electricity, cheap HVAC, indoor plumbing, clean water, and safely processed food, we live a lot longer.
A hundred years ago the Spanish Flu killed around 100,000,000 people. Fully 2% of the people who got it died. The last flu pandemic in 2009 less than 400,000 people died, equally about 0.03% of the people who catch the flu dying. Because of better diets that pesticides, antibiotics, and GMO’s and other technology provide we have a 100 fold increase in the entire world’s population surviving a common disease, the flu.
Want to drink raw unpasteurized milk, go ahead, but know that the science and facts are clear, you’re at greater risk of getting sick and dying drinking raw milk than of any of the complications that may exist from drinking pasteurized milk. But you can’t compare milk borne diseases of 100 years ago to today either, the same tech that makes indoor plumbing and refrigeration common, has made milk processing safer at every stage. The chances of getting a raw milk disease are also a lot less than in the past. Pasteurized may be safer overall, but if you know the farmer and trust his practices, for that dairy (not all dairies) the raw may be safer than pasteurized. More importantly if you’re an adult, the science is clear, the health benefits of milk are questionable at best be it pasteurized or not.
Rational based decisions by the general public are not that common. Scientists generally say the way to clean safe cheap energy is nuclear, not what the general population thinks. The science on anthropogenic global warming is also pretty clear, but then neither the ruling elite nor general population want rational scientific decisions for what to do about global warming. Neither do the scientists, who make a bazillion dollars of researching global warming and climate change so long as their results are what the people controlling the money want. In the case of global warming, the ruling elite, who control the money, want more government so they can have more control. Follow the money, still more accurate than just about any indicator. Money from the government is just as tainted as money from some industry. TANSTAAFL
Take the current measles scare. It is a scare not a problem. The fact is there have been zero measles deaths in the past decade according to the CDC. If you look in the VAERS database you notice another fact, in the past decade there have been about 108 deaths due to complications from measles vaccines. Another fact is there have been over 6000 deaths of children from bicycle accidents in that same decade. You really care about children ignore measles and outlaw bicycles. Statistically there is a greater chance of your child dying from the MMR vaccine than from catching measles. Like the flu in the USA people generally don’t die from measles.
We need to learn to think like scientists and make rational decisions. But then I may be biased, I’m a professional chemist.