At The New York Times, Amy Harmon has a fascinating long read about the battle over banning GMOs on the island of Hawaii, and the story of a county council member who came to believe GM plants, as plants, are safe after researching the scary claims made by the ban's proponents. It's an interesting story and reminds me of how I ended up not being afraid of genetically modified food (at least not of the plants, themselves, in any blanket way). Basically, when the claims the anti-GMO people made kept turning out to be mixed-up, misleading, confused, and flat-out wrong, I started questioning whether they actually knew what they were talking about.
Another interesting thing happening in this piece is the comparison Harmon makes between the anti-GMO crowd on the political left and the climate change denialists on the political right. In both cases, you get anti-science, conspiracy-laden rhetoric that tends to ignore any data that doesn't fit ideology. The difference, of course, is that the same people on the left who spread incorrect scare stories about GMOs are often the same people who jump to correct the climate change deniers and lecture them about good science. At the New Republic, Isaac Chotiner writes about this weird inconsistency, and what it means in the context of politics and culture wars.
Thanks to Pesco for the New Republic link!
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.