Wrapping Yourself in the Flag (Of Science)

“They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”—George W. Bush, “Address to the Joint Session of Congress Following the 9/11 Attacks,” (delivered on September 20, 2001)

The pro-GMO guys have, it seems, taken to wrapping themselves in the flag of not only Science, but Philosophy and Atheism too. What a splendid piece of propaganda this is! Brings to mind George W. Bush’s infamous speech to the Joint Session of Congress Following the 9/11 Attacks, wherein he famously declared: “They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”

We’re well aware of how sleazy conservatives like Bush wrap themselves in the flag of patriotism (e.g., if you oppose my policy you hate our Country). And we’re well aware of how sleazy fundamentalists wrap themselves in the flag of religion (e.g., if you oppose my doctrine you hate God). But we’re less aware of how public relations experts wrap themselves in the flag of science (e.g., if you oppose GMOs you hate science).

(4) Timeline Photos - We Love Atheism, Philosophy and Science. - Google Chrome 2016-02-014.jpgWhilst I admire the skill and sophistry of the Don Draper who produced this meme, I find its message profoundly dishonest. First of all, I know plenty of atheists who oppose GMOs and plenty of religious folk who support them. Same is true of philosophy: philosophers are to be found on either side of this issue. Regardless, philosophy and atheism have nothing to do with GMOs, so this is really neither here nor there.

Unlike the absurd attempt to link support for GMOs to atheism and philosophy, the attempt to link anti-GMO sentiment to anti-science sentiment is at least plausible. These two patchouli-scented crowds do indeed overlap with some regularity. Still, it’s specious to suppose that someone who’s anti-GMO is anti-science in 2016. After all, the debate over GMOs is nothing like the “debate” over Climate Change or Evolution.

Look, if you still believe—today, in 2016—that climate change isn’t happening, and that we’re not causing it, you’re no longer welcome at the adult table. Likewise, if the overwhelming mountain of evidence in support of the theory of evolution by natural selection still hasn’t convinced you, you’re a lost cause. But to say that the same is true of GMOs is deeply dishonest. There are plenty of well-respected researchers—people with PhDs who publish in the same peer-reviewed journals you publish in—who maintain, like Nassim Nicholas Taleb, that the potential risks associated with the widespread usage of GMOs far outweigh the potential benefits. In light of this, it’s disingenuous to imply that I’m an enemy of all things modern just because I oppose GMOs.

I’m not anti-science, dude. I’m just anti-bullshit.

—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2016)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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