Georgia’s Wayne Parrott: ‘Time to end transparency double-standard targeting biotech scientists

— Written By

Wayne Parrott | September 15, 2015 | Genetic Literacy Project

I have long been a firm believer that any public scientist who cannot explain, defend and justify his/her work to the public and to funding agencies has no business receiving those funds or doing that research. This philosophy is underscored by some federal granting agencies that require a commitment to broader impacts by scientists; these can include, among other things, “increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology”—in other words, science communication and outreach. Yet, when the science encompasses controversial topics, public engagement is more easily said than done.

Scientists communicating about controversial topics have long had to endure numerous personal attacks on their competence, credibility and/or ethics. It is not a job for thin-skinned people. However, the current all-out assault on scientists who seek to explain the science behind GMOs is unprecedented in scope and vitriol. That the anti-GMO sector now attacks scientists personally indicates they have been reduced to attacking the messenger in the absence of evidence that GMOs are unsafe. Attacking the messenger is a time-honored strategy of those who have no evidence and whose arguments to the contrary have failed.

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