Who would have thought that at Cornell University, arguably the most highly regarded agricultural university in the world, no scientist would speak for the benefits and safety of GMOs?
Perhaps I should have known, however. Last year I was invited to debate the merits of GMOs at Colby College in Maine. Also invited were food activist Jodi Koberinski, Stephen Moose (University of Illinois), and Mark Lynas of the Cornell Alliance for Science and prominent advocate of GMOs worldwide. Soon after Lynas heard I was coming, however, he pulled out of the debate.
It’s not the first time. Most memorably, in 2001, I attended a court case in which the British government abandoned prosecution of two of its citizens who had pulled up GMOs planted for a scientific experiment. The government preferred to lose the case rather than have the science of GMOs inspected by the judicial system. The defendants were duly and unanimously acquitted, with the judge describing them as the kind of people he would like to invite to dinner.
This avoidance of public debate is part of a pattern and the reasons are simple: in any fair fight, the arguments for the safety and benefits of GMOs fail. …