Finally, a GMO debate without shouting

Posted: December 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


When I heard that Intelligence SquaredU.S. — which stages high-profile, Oxford-style debates — was going to take on genetically modified foods, I sighed, deleted the notification, and then forgot about it.

Debates on this issue don’t work very well. They tend to devolve into loud repetition of tribal mantras. This doesn’t beget a civil discussion that allows the audience to see both sides deconstruct or defend their talking points. It’s usually about as enlightening as listening to two groups of howler monkeys defending their turf. (Howler monkeys are sometimes called the loudest animal in the world, but I’m pretty sure that we are.)

Nonetheless, I tuned in for part of this debate last night and was wonderfully surprised. Arguing for genetic engineering were Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s CTO, and Alison Van Eenennaam, a scientist at UC Davis. Arguing for more caution on genetic engineering were Chuck Benbrook, a scientist at Washington State…

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