Only about 37% of American adults bothered to get a flu shot this past flu season. That's actually a decrease from the previous season, when about 43% got one. Partially as a result, 80,000 Americans died from the flu. On the flip side, we did buy more organic food than ever before.
Europeans, who overwhelmingly claim to accept the science consensus on climate change, deny a far stronger consensus on biotechnology and believe GMOs are a crime against nature because a gene has been precisely modified by scientists.
The myth that "natural is better" is widespread and pernicious. Though it can manifest in relatively harmless ways (e.g., consuming overpriced organic food), the relentless pursuit of all-things natural can be dangerous or even deadly. It is not an exaggeration to say that society's obsession with natural remedies is itself an illness. The latest weirdness comes from Germany, which according to New Scientist, is considering approval of parasite eggs as a food additive. After eating the eggs, little worms hatch, and people believe that these worms will cure them of their maladies. Most likely, they won't.
European researchers have created genetically engineered yeast that are capable of reducing various kinds of heavy metal pollution by 80%.
One final observation on our great post-war successes in controlling malaria by targeting its vector, the Anopheles mosquito. By using that most marvelous insecticide DDT, we were beginning to gain the upper hand in our conquest of malaria as clearly demonstrated in the table below. Country Malaria occurrence per annum prior to introduction of DDT Malaria occurrence per annum after the introduction of DDT Sardinia
The Pew Research Center asked scientists and non-scientists their opinions on various scientific topics: GMOs, global warming, pesticide usage, etc. The results are not surprising - there is a big gap between what those two groups think. The question is - why and what can be done to shrink the gap?
The controversy over GMOs lives on, despite the scientific community's best efforts to quell the scaremongering. In order to gather the public's concerns, the FDA is requesting comments on the topic of genome editing, in the production of plants that would be eaten by both humans and animals.
Why America's supposed newspaper of record has become a voice for anti-biotechnology food activists remains a profound mystery. Maybe it's calculated, in that the paper is tailoring its reportage to its customers, consisting of mostly affluent, organic-food-eating elites. Evidence plays a small part in the Times' coverage of controversial scientific issues.
John Podesta, campaign manager and a close advisor to Hillary Clinton, believes the government has not divulged everything it knows about UFOs and Area 51. Given his predilection for conspiratorial beliefs, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that he has a fear of biotechnology.
Once the weapon of choice for prepubescent teens, cyberbullying is now deployed, with ruthless efficiency, against PhDs who have committed the unspeakable crime of conducting research on, and publicly advocating, GMOs. The goal is straightforward: Biotech scientists must be destroyed professionally. Failing that, they must be destroyed emotionally.
As a society, we never grew up beyond high school. Not being smart continues to be cool. Rejecting the collective wisdom of scientists, economists, academics, and journalists is applauded. Spurning the "establishment" has become the new national pastime.
With the defeat of a federal law designed to prevent 50 individual states from penning their own GMO labeling laws, General Mills has decided to switch rather than fight. It's going to label all their foods that contain GMOs, everywhere — because it's too cumbersome to label, or not label its products, on a state-by-state basis.