Debates rage around the nation regarding the safety of eating genetically modified foods. Across family tables, brothers and sisters bicker and roll eyes.
Why would to people raised with the same values disagree on something like genetically modified foods (GMOs)?
While scientists and the FDA openly supportive of GMOS, the majority of US adults — 57% — regard them as “generally unsafe” according to a new Pew report.
The report — a survey of about 2,000 American adults done in August 2014 — shows shows that things like political ideology and party affiliations don’t really matter when it comes to supporting GMO foods.
What matters, according to Pew, is how much someone believes in scientists, their level of education and scientific understanding, gender, and race.
Women are more wary of GMOs than men, and blacks and Hispanics are are more worried than whites.
So, a typical pro-GMO person believes in science. GMO opponents tend to think that the scientists on’t fully understand all of the ways GMOs could affect health — a sign of a much bigger problem.
The second characteristic instilled in a prototypical pro-GMO person is a postgraduate degree of any kind.
Pew found that the more schooling someone has, the more in favour of GMOs they are than someone who never finished college.
An analysis of the Pew data predicts is that if someone with a postgraduate degree also possesses a good understanding of science then there is a 65% chance that they would respond in favour of GMOs being safe.
So, the recipe for making a perfect pro-GMO person is as follows: start with a belief in scientists, then add in some preferably science based higher education, followed by making this person male and lastly white.
But regardless of all that, the fact remains that the majority of people surveyed think that GMO foods are unsafe, regardless of all the different breakdowns Pew looks at.
With a pretty convincing 57% thinking GMOs present some sort of danger, while only 37% think GMO foods are safe to eat.
That’s a sign of a much larger problem, according to Business Insider — that people don’t trust scientists to understand science. Scientists seem to have an image problem.
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