GMO-phobia

Steven Pinker on the irrational fear of genetically modified foods (from The Blank Slate, pp.  229-30):

Genetically modified foods are no more dangerous than “natural” foods because they are not fundamentally different from natural foods. Virtually every animal and vegetable sold in a health-food store has been “genetically modified” for millennia by selective breeding and hybridization…. Plants are Darwinian creatures with no particular desire to be eaten, so they did not go out of their way to be tasty, healthy, or easy for us to grow and harvest. On the contrary: they did go out of their way to deter us from eating them, by evolving irritants, toxins, and bitter-tasting compounds. So there is nothing especially safe about natural foods….

A blanket fear of all artificial and genetically modified foods is patently irrational on health grounds, and it could make food more expensive and hence less available to the poor.

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