It’s been a busy few days, and in the meantime lots of other people (who may be more articulate than I am right now) have done some great coverage of the Take the Flour Back protest, and GM stuff in general. I kinda want to get out of my little Rothamsted loop and talk about something else, so here are some links to articles and blog pieces I enjoyed.
...One of the things that struck me, and indeed all the protestors I spoke to, was how much we have in common. I was pleased to be interviewed by a journalist near a Take the Flour Back banner saying ‘Biodiversity not big corporations’ and was able to say ‘that’s what I think too’. The difference was that I’m not too keen on conspiracy theories, and that I want to keep an open mind about solutions to the extreme challenge of sustainably feeding billions of people in a changing climate.
6. Don’t pretend your experiment is the endgame
7. Think about what you’re doing for the public perception of science
8. Don’t expect a YouTube video to change anyone’s mind
9. Don’t claim you have a public mandate just because some other scientists approved your grant proposal
Michael Brooks at the New Statesman
The Rothamsted scientists made an interesting move in proactively setting the agenda on the trial. The early involvement of Sense about Science rapidly turned this into a fight between pro- and anti-science. I’ve written before about how dumb this is. But if nothing else, Manichean rhetoric mobilises certain groups. Pretending that an issue is about more than it is expands the constituencies on either side (to include, in this case Stephen Fry, whose volley (“The latest assault on what remains of Castle Enlightenment”) was as ludicrous as anyone’s).
I also found plenty to challenge me here at The Ecologist (though obviously there’s plenty I don’t agree with!)