Inspired by this thread, I got to thinking about the arguments, counter arguments, and eventual… slap / scream / gripe fest that it became.
I think it’s safe to say this will not be a one-time occurrence on here, but we can deal with such behavior and questions in a way that it doesn’t ‘drag us down,’ as it were, while also remembering to consider and discuss points that are actually valid.
Let’s be clear, here: the question on GMO safety is a valid question as far as nutritional health, and one that I would assume we would have on this board as it relates to individual products. Without specificity, however, it is not a valid question as it’s akin to having a discussion on whether or not radiation is safe.
A second valid concern that’s related, is the business of GM crops, down to and including the farming behaviors and cross contamination issues. This is a separate type of discussion that I would think fits here as well, but only under the assumption of the pursuit of achieving a diet that is not only complete, but also has a relatively small environmental impact, and again, with specific in mind.
However, the larger point that Elixium was asking / stating was “can we trust Rob because of his opinions on GMO’s” [assuming that they’re bad / run by evil corporations / unstudied]?
It is safe to say, that this is not a valid question or concern. Few of us hold to every word of an individual, and it doesn’t make sense to hold every single idea of any person as fact. Keep in mind, however, that this plays the other way too; every idea of a crazy person isn’t necessarily crazy.
For some hyperbolic examples… Einstein held to his grave that quantum uncertainty wasn’t possible, but his theories on special relativity hold true today. The story of Darwin praying to God on his death bed [regardless of whether or not it’s true] holds no weight whatsoever to the ideas or theories of evolution.
These are fallacies many of us are more subtly aware of, but in hopes of bringing them to light, we can recognize what is valid, and dismiss what isn’t. More importantly, to know when to not let the conversation derail [or just put it on a more stable track].
TL;DR: A couple behaviors to keep in mind / watch out for:
Understand the propensity for loose associations
Understand strong perceptions of persecution and conspiracy [ avoid the knee-jerk reaction to this word, though, and consider where it is valid. The US government is actually collecting massive amounts of communication data, after all.]
Understand the tendency for rigid thinking and a superiority complex
We’re not going to be able to argue against these behaviors, and thankfully they’re pretty easy to spot once you know what to recognize. It’s better to simply flag a post, and move on to whatever discussion is valid, or to, y’know, step away from the keyboard entirely.
If in some cases where a connection or association is dubious, a small question or two is a quick way to learn more about the subject, or the mindset of the individual making the claim (everyone loves answering questions, after all).
Remember kids, only you can prevent flame wars.