Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Carlo Petrini, who is going to preach to the converted in a couple minutes, has something intelligent to say:
Coming back to the issue of GMOs, even though the recently published research findings of the British Royal Society -- fairly critical -- are being treated in Italy like election results, where everyone has won and scientific data can be used to support diametrically opposed points of view, it is clear that the real split on this issue is within the scientific community. So the supposed daggers-drawn Manichean conflict between scientists and environmentalists is nonsense. It has become a ridiculous partisan game where people feel they can only win through mockery and derision. Things are a lot more complex. There are many other matters to be considered in this issue -- questions involving economics, ethical values, work culture, conservation and sharing of resources. There is much discussion about world hunger and models of development; there are discussions whether it is really economically viable to embark on massive use of GM crops in our agricultural system. Perhaps we can only find ways to resolve these issues by calmly addressing the complexity of the problem.

Update [BBC]: A similar point from the UK:

Lord May, president of the Royal Society, says opponents and supporters of GM spun the outcome of farm-scale trials to suit their own arguments.

Lord May said some members of both the biotech industry and environmental campaigns had represented the results "in a biased and selective way".

Update 2: It is probably for the best that an enormous crowd filled up the venue for Petrini's appearance last night well before it began -- at least I got to watch the uncommonly shitty MNF game. And it is supposed to show up as a webcast here, if you really want people to tell you what you already know in the most annoying way possible.

update 3: Actually, having watched half of it, it was well worth the hour spent, but I promise to double my Niman Ranch intake if Orville Schell can put up a transcript of these things instead of the fucking webcasts. But if you care enough to read this, you should watch it.

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