Sound Science Struggling To Win Over Skeptics [Opinion]

When it comes to certain issues, there is just no convincing people contrary to what they already believe. Call them stubborn, bull-headed, or crazy. They’ll likely call you the same. It doesn’t matter how foolproof you think your argument is, there will be no budging.

This is unfortunate. As connected as we are to vast resources of information, along with the ability to capture and share imagery and video, skepticism still reigns supreme.

“That’s Photoshopped.” I hear that argument plenty. I often think it as well — especially when coming across images on social media that look too good to be true. The same goes for video. But what about a scientific paper or presentation? You’d think the scientific community would be able to garner the respect that would put to rest arguments and debate using unbiased data.

John VanSickle, UF/IFAS economics professor and longtime contributor to Florida Grower® magazine, makes a stout case for science’s sake in a recently published article. He writes, “Science holds the responsibility for separating fact from fiction.” Sounds reasonable to me.

GMOs Under The Microscope

Without a doubt, the most debated topic worldwide currently involving agriculture is genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Just recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a study that found no difference in the risks to human health between genetically engineered crops and traditionally bred crops. In addition, the study found no conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from GMOs.

Bam! There you go: scientific evidence saying GMOs pose no health risk. Case closed, right?

Our online version of this newsworthy study included a poll asking readers:

How much impact will this report have on those with already formed opinions on GMOs?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

 

The results are resounding no matter how you interpret them.

News Roundup

If you’ve been following the news lately, then you know research has been on a roll. At the conclusion of a recent joint meeting of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, experts on pesticide residues ruled glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans through exposure to glyphosate-treated crops. Experts also say there is no convincing evidence of a carcinogenic risk from malathion and diazinon when crops treated with the insecticides are consumed.

Wow. That’s two wins in a row for agribusiness based on scientific fact. So, how do we feel? As I wrote this, there was one reader comment related to the post about the glyphosate ruling.

“Sadly, rather than silencing the critics, this news will simply give them incentive to increase their mendacity. It’s discouraging that no amount of accuracy or legit scientific evidence will overcome activism.”

Plain and simple: Attitudes must change in order for progress to occur. And we shouldn’t require a doctoral thesis explaining why to accept and act on this fact.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Sound Science Struggling To Win Over Skeptics [Opinion]

  1. What is driving this is skepticism of all things either science, big business or government. In the case of studies of GMO’s you have all three involved. You can’t get any bigger than Monsanto, can’t get any more skeptical of anything government so when put together in studies probably funded to some degree by end users such as Monsanto, their influence can skew any study since they are providing funding. I personally have an issue with these studies since I believe that only time will tell how these changes will influence us all. Even though studies are done with certain products that have been used for quite a while, anything new that is being developed has to be time tested.

Citrus Stories
honeybees
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research on Honeybee Health
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
stack of lemons
Citrus
May 23, 2017
California Lemon Growers Sue USDA
Lemon industry files suit against rule allowing importation of Argentine lemons. Read More
Bee Vectoring Technologies experimental hives
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interesting Field Trips
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
Tango mandarin orange sliced in half
Varieties & Rootstocks
May 23, 2017
In Quest for Low-Seeded Citrus, It Takes Two to Tango
Momentum for viable mandarin hybrids for Florida reaching a peak in the land down under. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How to Dig Down Deep
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
seattle port shipping
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines
Citrus Achievement Award
May 18, 2017
Meet the 2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award Winner
Cheers to Ed Pines for putting the positive back in citrus. Read More
Sugar Belle oranges
Varieties & Rootstocks
May 18, 2017
Unique Citrus Variety Standing Up to Deadly Disease
University of Florida researchers are peeling back the layers to find out what’s helping specific mandarin hybrid hold serve against HLB. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
First California Red Scale Aerosol Mating Disruption Product Approved
EPA, California officials grant Semios approval of pheromone pest control solution for widespread citrus problem. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
EPA Seeks States’ Input On Waters of the U.S. Rule
As the agency considers scaling back the water rule, states are asked to define protected waters. Read More
Orie Lee, 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Florida Citrus Innovator Passes Away at 90
Orie Lee spent half his life cultivating the industry he cared deeply for. Read More
Burn ban sign posted along S.R. A1A in Flagler County, FL, due to drought conditions
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central Florida
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Citrus
May 11, 2017
Late Season Rally in Forecast for Florida Orange Crop
Latest estimate from USDA reveals first increase in several months; grapefruit continues to sour. Read More
Citrus
May 9, 2017
Barn Owls Can be an Effective Control for Rodents and Gophers
The predators are already getting results in vineyards and orchards. Research is showing they’re just as effective in vegetable and fruit fields. Read More
Citrus
May 5, 2017
USDA Angers California Lemon Growers
Industry leaders extremely disappointed by Argentine lemon rule. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Ove…
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan …
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Ag…
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research o…
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
California Lemon Growers Sue USDA
Lemon industry files suit against rule allowing importation of Argentine lemons. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interest…
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How…
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
First California Red Scale Aerosol Matin…
EPA, California officials grant Semios approval of pheromone pest control solution for widespread citrus problem. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
EPA Seeks States’ Input On Waters of the…
As the agency considers scaling back the water rule, states are asked to define protected waters. Read More
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Florida Citrus Innovator Passes Away at …
Orie Lee spent half his life cultivating the industry he cared deeply for. Read More
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central…
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Citrus
May 11, 2017
Late Season Rally in Forecast for Florid…
Latest estimate from USDA reveals first increase in several months; grapefruit continues to sour. Read More
Citrus
May 9, 2017
Barn Owls Can be an Effective Control fo…
The predators are already getting results in vineyards and orchards. Research is showing they’re just as effective in vegetable and fruit fields. Read More
Citrus
May 5, 2017
USDA Angers California Lemon Growers
Industry leaders extremely disappointed by Argentine lemon rule. Read More
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe…
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2017
EPA Approves New Plant Growth Stimulant
RIO from Arysta LifeScience North America is labeled for use on citrus, vegetables, tree fruit, strawberries, grapes, and nuts. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
The California Citrus Grower Defines Lea…
While HLB wreaked havoc elsewhere, the California citrus industry came together and formed an action plan. Read More