Mad scientist.

GMO's en nep-wetenschap

STANFORD – In het hedendaagse medialandschap, waar ongefundeerde meningen, hypes en geruchten welig tieren, moet de wetenschappelijke methode – het instrument waarmee we vaststellen wat waar is, gebaseerd op empirische en meetbare bewijzen – een hoeksteen van de werkelijkheid zijn. De wetenschap stelt ons in staat te toetsen wat we denken te weten en te identificeren wat we niet weten. Het belangrijkste is dat valse beweringen, die worden gedaan om persoonlijke of politieke redenen, erdoor worden ontkracht – althans, dat zou moeten gebeuren.

Maar zo nu en dan gaan wetenschappers hun boekje te buiten en lappen ze de wetenschappelijke methode aan hun laars – dikwijls omwille van bekendheid of economische belangen – om propaganda te produceren en angst te zaaien onder een publiek dat de nodige deskundigheid ontbeert, maar hongerig is naar informatie. Dit misbruik van het wetenschappelijk gezag is vooral wijdverbreid in de 'organische' en 'natuur-'voedingssector, die handig inspeelt op de angst onder mensen voor synthetische of 'onnatuurlijke' producten.

Een recent voorbeeld is de Indiaas-Amerikaanse wetenschapper V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, die, samen met Prabhakar Deonikar, het inmiddels alom belachelijke gemaakte artikel “Do GMOs Accumulate Formaldehyde and Disrupt Molecular Systems Equilibria? Systems Biology May Provide Answers” (“Slaan GMO's formaldehyde op en ontwrichten ze moleculaire systemen? De systeembiologie biedt wellicht antwoorden”) schreef. “GMO's” zijn “genetisch gemodificeerde organismen,” op zichzelf al een misleidende en dikwijls onterecht gestigmatiseerde non-categorie, waarmee uiteenlopende organismen worden aangeduid die met de meest moderne en precieze technieken van genetische manipulatie zijn gemodificeerd.)

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