Quick Questions: Vaccines and GMOs
Before you get mad, try to think about this in the abstract. Don’t worry about what’s happening in the world, your political affiliations, or anything like that. What’s the difference between being anti-vaxx and anti-GMO?
4 thoughts on “Quick Questions: Vaccines and GMOs”
To me the obvious difference is that being anti-GMO is supported by a large, diverse consensus of nutritional scientists. Though there are economic influences driving pesticide and GMO use in each country or region, most people understand and accept that it’s a healthier way of eating, though sometimes more expensive.
By contrast, being anti-vaxx requires first that you DENY the entire scientific consensus, and constantly question the motives of everyone who favors their use.
Disease pathogens don’t care how anyone votes, or to what degree you modify behavior to mitigate transmission. Humans are just “food” to a germ. They adapt in order to “eat” you, right up to the point you kill or starve them out of existence.
Vaccines are the cheapest, safest, most effective prophylactic medications ever developed by humans, a truly significant achievement in health technology. They aren’t available for most diseases, and not all patients can or should take them, but the ones that are available work better than “cures” AFTER you acquire a disease. Prevention costs far less than treatment.
Thanks for the comment. Sorry, I’ve been offline for a while. I know I should respond sooner if I want to encourage interaction (which I do). I get what you’re saying and that’s part of why I asked to question. Who are the relevant experts? And why should we believe them? I’m not so much concerned with vaccines and GMO, but more why people reason differently about different issues. According to Pew (https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/01/29/pewaaas-study-scientific-consensus-on-gmo-safety-stronger-than-for-global-warming/) the scientific consensus is that GMO is safe, but it’s socially acceptable among liberals to be anti-GMO. Whereas it’s anathema to be anti-Vaxx, because it goes against the scientific consensus. And for the record, I’m strongly in favor of vaccines (and masks).
Gene, the reason that folks can be anti-GMO and pro-vaccine goes back to how we synthesize information. While there are certainly anti-GMO and anti-vax organizations out there using fear to affect public option,, it works differentially because of how humans consume information. Medical information tends to be cerebral– we use brain’s executive function to rationalize and feel positive about new technology developed to help the human condition. Food? Genetic engineering in food messaging is targeted to induce fear through emotional mechanisms. Since food is a daily staple, it si very effective to evoke responses– especially in people that have plenty of calories. That’s the other side of this. Vaccines are not seen as optional. We know what happens when we don’t have them. Foos Food technology can be optional, and manufacturers of non–GMO ingredients know this. They make big bucks by scaring people away from products containing identical ingredients, produced through plants that carry an extra gene or two. The affluent can choose non-GMO alternatives. I’ve studied this forever, and that seems to be the best explanation.
I saw the question on Twitter and had to take a peek. Invisible Mikey, I am a scientist in molecular biology that has followed this field for years. The vast scientific consensus is that these products are safe, benefit farmers, the environment and the food insecure. There are no health risks noted in 30 years of hard testing and use. Some scientists debate the social and ecological ramifications of taking land out of ecosystems to commit to broad scale farming enabled by GE commodity crops, but in general scientists know the technology itself is not a threat. The products from GE crops are IDENTICAL to conventional or organic crops, so not sure how they are “less healthy”.
Rejecting genetic engineering in medicine or agriculture is the same as rejecting vaccination. You have to really look away from the overwhelming evidence to find fault in the technology. Both are outstanding technologies, and GE merged with vaccination in the development of the COVID vaccines. Really neat. I’m always glad to answer questions.