I first learned about GMOs as a sophomore microbiology major in college. (They weren’t called GMOs then; they were simply referred to as “transgenic crops.”) I remember feeling exhilarated — the sort of thrill that only accountants or geeky academics can usually understand — at how basic knowledge of DNA sequences was leading to a huge technological revolution. The opportunities were limitless.
Years later I entered journalism. And I saw breathtaking ignorance and vitriol aimed at scientists like me coming from supposedly educated people. Never in a million years would I have anticipated that our passion for science would be used as a bludgeon or as a scarlet letter.
That is the milieu in which we find the current GMO “debate,” which in actuality has devolved into a vicious, relentless assault by organic food activists against the biotechnology community. It doesn’t matter if you are a professor, industry scientist, journalist, or private citizen; if you support biotechnology, anti-GMO activists will harass you using their keyboards as weapons of mass defamation.
Their goal is straightforward: Biotech scientists must be destroyed professionally. Failing that, they must be destroyed emotionally.