Professor offers science lesson to GM ‘conversionista’

A US university professor has welcomed former anti-GM-activist Mark Lynas’s “discovery of science”.

Lynas attributes his new-found affection for GM (which he trumpeted at last week’s Oxford Farming Conference) to this personal eureka moment.

In a blog, professor John Vandermeer from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan called Lynas’s scientific conversion “promising”.

But Vandermeer also hoped that the new student’s “boyish enthusiasm” for science as an ideology would carry over to a more serious study of science’s complications. “We can only hope that he (Lynas) is not just one of those publicity-seeking conversionistas, well-versed in the politically compelling ‘I once was against X, but now I love it’.”

Vandermeer notes that while Lynas has discovered high school biology, he now needs to start thinking about going to college. In a short lesson on how young Mark might be better equipped to interpret the evidence on GM, Vandameer writes:

“Mark seems to have naively accepted the GMO argument that we need to increase production to feed the world. With a bit of ‘scientific’ examination of evidence (by the way, evidence is a concept that all scientists rely on, Mark) he will discover that according to many reports the record on GMOs thus far is not exactly hopeful. According to an extensive review by the Union of Concerned Scientists, there is scant evidence that production increases with the use of GMOs. Obviously profits increase enormously, that is, profits for the companies that supply the seed and other inputs that go along with their technological package (which, if we are to truly honest, that is the whole point), but production or productivity is pretty much the same as for non GMO varieties.”