Friday, July 17, 2015

More Food for Thought

When they launch a rocket, to resupply the space station for example, the fuel is liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.  When they combine, it causes a big explosion, which provides the thrust for the rocket.  The residue of this explosion is water vapor, H2O.  When the vapor cools and condenses into drops and falls to the earth as rain, does anyone suspect that this rain is not the same as the other water falling from the sky?  Is it considered dangerous or looked on with suspicion because it is synthetic or man-made as opposed to being natural?  Do parents worry more about their children being caught in the rain near Cape Canaveral because of this possibility?   It wouldn't come as a surprise since we seem to decide what to be scared of without regard to science.

According to a Yale/Gallup poll from last month, 71 percent of Americans are personally convinced that global warming is happening.  At the same time about 40 percent “believed there is a lot of disagreement among scientists.”  They conclude, “many Americans appeared to have already made up their minds, without waiting for a perceived scientific consensus.”  Well, science is about evidence and not consensus anyway, but compare this with the GMO scare.

About 90 percent of Americans are concerned enough about GMOs to favor a requirement that they be labeled as such, despite the fact that a consensus of scientists agree that they are safe and a “large scientific study from 2013 found no significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops."  In this case, a recent Pew Research Center survey finds that “two-thirds of the Americans they interviewed think scientists themselves don't fully understand all of the ways GMOs could affect health.”

What are the long term implications when so many Americans make up their minds about scientific issues on the basis of what they think should be the answer and justify it by declaring that the scientists don’t know for sure either?

In the end it’s all about marketing.  If you frown and say “chemical fertilizer,” you will hear a chorus of boos; but if you smile and say “plant food,” they haul out the Miracle-Gro sprayers.  People will trust and believe in anything they buy at a “health food” store, despite the fact that these packages are more likely to contain contaminants or be inaccurately labeled.  To solve the GMO fear, maybe they just have to call it something like crop enrichment instead.

See how we are controlled and manipulated by marketing and social media when we let our emotional responses override our critical thinking!

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