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Psychology of the appeal of being anti-GMO

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posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 06:57 AM
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A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. In a paper published April 10 in Trends in Plant Science, they argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by certain environmental groups and other opponents of GMOs. The researchers urge the general public to form opinions on GMOs on a case-by-case basis, thereby not focusing on the technology but on the resulting product.

"The popularity and typical features of the opposition to GMOs can be explained in terms of underlying cognitive processes. Anti-GMO messages strongly appeal to particular intuitions and emotions," says lead author Stefaan Blancke, a philosopher with the Ghent University Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences. "Negative representations of GMOs--for instance, like claims that GMOs cause diseases and contaminate the environment--tap into our feelings of disgust and this sticks to the mind. These emotions are very difficult to counter, in particular because the science of GMOs is complex to communicate."

[Edit for brevity. --DJW001] Contributing to this public opposition, the researchers suspect, is a lack of scientific understanding of genetics (not even half of the respondents in a US survey rejected the claim that a fish gene introduced into a tomato would give it a fishy taste) as well as moral objections to scientists "playing God."

"Anti-GMO arguments tap into our intuitions that all organisms have an unobservable immutable core, an essence, and that things in the natural world exist or happen for a purpose," Blancke explains "This reasoning of course conflicts with evolutionary theory--the idea that in evolution one species can change into another. It also makes us very susceptible to the idea that nature is a force that has a purpose or even intentions that we shouldn't' meddle with."


www.sciencedaily.com... [Emphasis mine. --DJW001]

Most of the objections to GMOs are speculative, hypothetical, or, at best, anecdotal. What if they make you sick? What if they cross pollinate with non-GMO plants? What if they are not nutritious? All of these represent fear of the unknown. Controlled experiments have shown that GMOs are no different than non-GMOs in terms of health effects, yet there is a lingering suspicion that they are unhealthy in some way. There are valid environmental and economic concerns, but these would not make it necessary to label GMO products.

What I find most interesting about the philosophical approach to the question is the degree to which public debate is actually religious in nature: the underlying assumption is that every species has an underlying essence, and that by changing that species in any way, scientists are "playing God." In effect, it is the updated version of the Creation vs. Evolution debate. Note how many Creationists argue that macro-evolution is impossible, because one species cannot turn into another. That is essentialist thinking at work.

Humanity has been "playing God" for millennia. Every domesticated plant and animal is the result of generations of cross breeding, a form of genetic modification. When wheat and rye were cross bred to create triticale over a hundred years ago, was a new essence brought into being? Or are species fluid, because everything is part of a continuum subject to continual change?

Your thoughts?






edit on 2-4-2016 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)

edit on 2-4-2016 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)

edit on 2-4-2016 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:06 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

Fear is nothing rational. If sensationalist media portray GMO as evil, then that's what the majority of people will believe.

Yet these same people are absolutely ready to eat animals and plants which are the result of millions years of evolution - the greatest GMO generator ever. Nature is such a big bucket of random mutations, carcinogens and genetic editing, yet no one cares - but if the hand of science is applied to guide the genetic processes, then suddenly everyone is panicking.

And before anyone calls me a Monsanto shill (how unimaginative): No, I do not support Monsanto nor do I receive momentary gain from it. I actually dislike Monsanto, because it has created a monopole over food which is incompatible with the purpose of decentralisation of food production (so to augment mankind's chances of survival in the event of a catastrophe occuring at the center of production).



edit on 2-4-2016 by swanne because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:09 AM
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a reply to: swanne

There is also the "if it's natural it must be good" fallacy. Poisons occur in nature too.


+4 more 
posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:24 AM
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I notice the graph doesn't mention these:

1. A lot of people simply don't trust Monsanto & other similar multinational companies with their food supply. After all, Monsanto openly works with the company formerly known as Blackwater (here). That sounds like a real life "Umbrella Corporation", if you get the reference.

2. A lot people don't like the concept of companies owning the rights to seeds and being able to sue you for not paying royalties to grow freaking plants. Who wants multinational for-profit corporations to monopolize the world's food supply? That's just as bad as Nestle's CEO saying water shouldn't be treated as a human right, but as a "foodstuff" with value (2:24 onwards).


3. Several different State and federal agencies don't want customers to know the origins of GMO products. The constant push to reject mandatory GMO labeling is obviously going to make people defensive about them. After all, haven't we been constantly told that "what's there to fear if we don't have something to hide"?

And for the record, how can you be surprised that many of the other reasons for objecting to GMOS are religious based? Most people in the world are religious to some degree. And every individual has a different interpretation of what crosses the line of "Playing God". So of course there will be differences of opinion on that.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:30 AM
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I don't like the power that corperations have that includes Monsanto or the other hundred or so corps that create GMOs, but as far as GMOs and the science behind them it doesn't faze me.

I drink way too much Coca Cola if I were to make a fuss over health and GMOs I would be a total hypocrite.
edit on 2-4-2016 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:30 AM
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a reply to: enlightenedservant

Yup. And these are the reasons why I hate Monsanto.

GMO sciences has so much potential, but like so many sciences it's all getting used to suit corporate greed & interests.




posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:32 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

The flow chart does a neat job of rounding up opponents into a single category - irrational. The presentation implies there are no grounds for criticising GMO.

People are concerned that patenting plant genes will turn ownership of plants to corporations. They're worried that supportive GMO trials have been reported inaccurately. There are numerous articles highlighting that pro-GMO groups use as much bad science to promote the benefits as some anti-GMO groups do to oppose them. There are many more articles that demonstrate how easy it is for corporate entities to influence the outcomes of reports and that's something that informs people's lack of trust in the powerful forces who are promoting GMOs.

It's essentially a growth market for the future and businesses want in. It could be like the oil industry in terms of it being essential to our lives. People can understand why the push is in favour of GMO and also understand that media isn't an honest entity...or neutral. There are monopolies waiting to happen and that explains why industry wants in and the rest of us are cautious about yet more cornered markets.

None of these concerns are unreasonable or unfounded.

ETA - adding a smile
because what I wrote looks so dry and know-it-all when it was intended as speaking openly with a smile.

edit on 4.2.2016 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:45 AM
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a reply to: swanne

I agree. I think GMOs have the potential to be amazing. But there has to be an open dialogue about them, as well as long term studies to identify any real threats from them. But those studies don't have to be negative. They can be used to identify and correct the issues with GMOs so they can become a part of our long term growth as civilizations.

Unfortunately, right now they're treated more like asbestos during its reign as the "Miracle Mineral". Anyone who had concerns was mocked and ridiculed, while its producers and investors made a killing from it. Unfortunately, they literally made a killing from it, as longer term studies proved its risks were even worse than previously thought.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:47 AM
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The American Psychological Association is in bed with the CIA. This study was probably funded by Monsanto. NO to GMO! Monsanto and GMO is a soft kill arm of the eugenics operation.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 07:55 AM
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GMOs contain many stacked Cry Toxins/Proteins which are used for insecticides. These are shown to be toxic towards human cells. (Mizuki 1999).

A certain Cry Toxin used in GMO has the same structure as Ricin. And another indistinguishable from Anthrax.

GMOs are resistant to herbicides. This makes farmers able to spray more herbicides onto their crops. Like Glyphosphate which is BAD. Even Monsanto agree here. (Born. 2014.)

GMOs modify the herbicide glufosinate so now when you eat GMO glufosinate is still present I your body months later. It's hazardous to mammals. (Droge. 1992).

I could go on and on but the style of ATS skeptics is to never change their mind.

Do some more research please.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:08 AM
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Double stranded RNA GMO as researched by Latham in 2015 highlights further dangers.

As does Cauliflower Mosaic Virus. Google that too if you care to change your agenda.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:09 AM
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That's an interesting study. I am still out on a verdict regarding GMOs.

I actually heard an interview with Monsanto's CEO the other day. And man, was he slick. They have done a great job filling that position because he was so smooth and I was very taken with him, all the while knowing that (regardless of whether or not GMOs are evil), he is the CEO of such a company, and he is there to smile and make everything seem ok. And he did just that. I could have listened to him for days. It wasn't just his accent, the man had charisma that seeped through the radio speakers!



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:11 AM
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a reply to: and14263


GMOs contain many stacked Cry Toxins/Proteins which are used for insecticides. These are shown to be toxic towards human cells. (Mizuki 1999).


All GMOs?


A certain Cry Toxin used in GMO has the same structure as Ricin. And another indistinguishable from Anthrax.


All GMOs?


GMOs are resistant to herbicides. This makes farmers able to spray more herbicides onto their crops. Like Glyphosphate which is BAD. Even Monsanto agree here. (Born. 2014.)


All GMOs?


GMOs modify the herbicide glufosinate so now when you eat GMO glufosinate is still present I your body months later. It's hazardous to mammals. (Droge. 1992).


All GMOs?


I could go on and on but the style of ATS skeptics is to never change their mind.


All ATS skeptics?


Do some more research please.


Try reading the OP with an open mind, please.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:12 AM
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originally posted by: HUMBLEONE
The American Psychological Association is in bed with the CIA. This study was probably funded by Monsanto. NO to GMO! Monsanto and GMO is a soft kill arm of the eugenics operation.


The study was not done by the American Psychological Association.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:14 AM
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a reply to: enlightenedservant

Have a star. The OP is not meant to criticize those who take a reasonable approach to GMOs, rather it identifies the sources of fear-base resistance to all genetic manipulation.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:17 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

I'm not going to debate further with you good man because I know which way this will go and I'm feeling terribly negative today.

But I must remind you the OP which I read with an open mind stated arguments against GMOs were hypothetical, speculative and anecdotal.

I've proved that is clearly bollocks.

Thanks for your reply though. Have a good day, whatever your agenda may be.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:19 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky


The flow chart does a neat job of rounding up opponents into a single category - irrational. The presentation implies there are no grounds for criticising GMO.


You will note that I mentioned that there are genuine environmental and economic issues, but that these cannot be addressed by labeling. Why is there a growing movement to make labeling mandatory, but no discussion of setting standards of testing for cross pollination before crops can be grown in the open?



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:21 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

Point taken.


It just irks me sometimes when I see lists like this because they tend to intentionally leave off the business and economic concerns. I don't mean that at you in particular, which is why I tried to address the graph itself. A lot of times, they try to rationalize why we should like or dislike something or someone while ignoring the people who'll profit if their argument is successful (lol that was quite the run-on sentence...).



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:23 AM
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a reply to: and14263


But I must remind you the OP which I read with an open mind stated arguments against GMOs were hypothetical, speculative and anecdotal.


Apparently, you didn't see the word "most." "Most" does not mean "all," as I have patiently tried to explain.


I've proved that is clearly bollocks.


No, you have bravely defeated your straw man, whatever your agenda is.



posted on Apr, 2 2016 @ 08:27 AM
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I'm all for GMO if they can hurry up and produce a type of corn that doesn't come out the same way it goes in.



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