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How "Fear of Science" Is Harming Our Future

December 10, 2010
Michael Specter, staff writer at The New Yorker, told attendees at the GrowCanada Conference last week that irrational thinking about scientific advancements like plant biotechnology may present unique concerns to the world. 
This is the greatest time there has ever been on this planet, by any measure that you wish to choose,” Specter says. “And yet the chilling effect caused by denying the scientific evidence on a whole range of topics, including genetically modified foods, may actually prevent useful science from coming to fruition.”

“Plant biotechnology benefits Canadian farmers by offering them a tool that can help increase yields and enhances on-farm sustainability by giving farmers the option to reduce or eliminate tilling, which improves soil quality and reduces erosion,” said Trish Jordan, president of the Council for Biotechnology Information, which sponsored Specter's lecture. “It's absolutely imperative that when it comes down to making choices about how we're going to feed the world and protect the environment that facts – not urban myths or manufactured worries – are what we base our decisions on.”  

Specter has been a writer for the New Yorker for more than a decade, where he writes about science and politics. His book, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives, dives into the complex science bias and critical issues in making the right choices for our future.