GMO Disparity | Scientists VS. The Public


Need to get those numbers up for the public on GMO and evolution.
Honestly, I was surprised that it was as high as 65% of the public understanding (“believing in”?) evolution. Growing up and subsequently living in the South, it can sometimes seem like the majority opinion is the other way around.

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I think there’s still this idea that we are somehow degrading ourselves by admitting our evolutionary origins. My experience has been quite the opposite. I think its very inspiring to see how far we’ve come.

The overpopulation bit is a topic of fair debate. Some argue that dropping birth rates, energy surpluses, etc will pave the way for a stabilized (or even shrinking) population in the future. I’m not swayed either way at this point but its always interesting to read the various arguments.

At least for most people I have known, it is a religious-based upbringing that holds them back from accepting evolution. They think the Adam & Eve story is easier to believe, I suppose. I am guessing if people were polled in the Bible Belt, then well over half would identify as Creationists.

I agree, that one is a little bit more of a mixed bag. I don’t necessarily see overpopulation as that much of a problem for the future.

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Might be helpful to state whether or not we are a scientist before sharing our opinions on any of these matters :wink:

Me: not a scientist.

I’m on the scientist’s side though, on everything except lab animal testing. I work with animals for a living, and using them that way is just not OK in my book. I realize it’s super useful, but - morally I just can’t get on board with it.


Probably depends what part of the globe you’re on… Not much of a problem for the U.S.A. and aside from the economic issues not much problem for the rest of the developed world…

Great topic for discussion btw… I’m fascinated by how some ideas flourish in a scientific knowledge vacuum. The PBS Nova special on the intelligent design school case was really interesting as they showed how the conservative judge was educated over the course of the trial… he came to understand evolution enough to clearly identify I.D. as NOT SCIENCE.

Further on the topic of people wanting to believe what they want despite evidence… Sorry this isn’t really science based but I found it amusing all the same…
A new PPP poll of likely Republican voters nationwide showed that:
29% believed Obama was born in the United States
and 40% believed Ted Cruz was born in the United States

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I feel ya. With monkeys I’m a little uneasy. Experiments on mice and flies don’t really bother me. And I have no problem with experiments on bacteria. I guess the larger a creature is, the more uncomfortable I am lol.

Probably the more complex and anthropomorphizable it is, actually. But I find the prevalence of naive and plain fantasy-land attitudes toward animal testing and research, veganism and related silliness in first world people to be quite idiotic at best and infuriatingly stupid at worst. Being a fan of more efficient means of production which so happens to reduce reliance on animal products or the like is ok. On the other hand, trying to promote more costly and/or inefficient production or research methods because animal rights or whatever bollocks is stupid. People who try to block animal research should be forced to endure the pain and suffering the humans are enduring while there are no cures or better treatment options for their ailments due to longer trial times, slower research, etc. They also should be left to starve when they insist on more expensive foods in order to be vegan or GMO free, or some other stupidity when so many other people in the world are literally starving to death while they rant about animal cruelty online. Grrrrrr…
/rant off


I wish I could agree with you, but for medical purposes I think animal testing is a necessary evil. There’s still way too much we don’t know; computer models aren’t a good substitute for testing on complex organisms, yet.

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It is astonishing the various priorities some people place on their fellow mammals… When is the life of a chimp more important than a human? When is the life of a fetus more important than that of the mother?

And if it’s not a matter of life or death, how much suffering should be allowed to one entity in order to relieve how much suffering from another?

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Mmm, the animal research thing is such a hard topic. I like to base my decisions on the complexity of the creature’s nervous system, in an attempt to keep with the greatest happiness principle.

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This might seem useful at first, but I’d bet a human vegetable wouldn’t be on the table for experimentation (to you).

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It’s amazing how some people can say “if you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one” and then turn around and can’t say “if you don’t like animal testing, don’t test on animals.” This would become so much less stressful if it were an area of preference where one group does not have the machinery to force their preferences and morality on the other group.


This isn’t a reflection on voters, as it is a reflection on Public Policy Polling. PPP is not a credible polling source. To quote Nate Silver in Here’s proof some pollsters are putting a thumb on the scale,

"A few pollsters are shameless about their herding. One of them is Public Policy Polling (PPP), a polling firm that conducts automated polls for both public consumption and for liberal and Democratic clients. Take a look at this exchange, for example, between The New York Times’ Nate Cohn13 and PPP’s Tom Jensen. Cohn discovered that in 2012, the racial composition of PPP’s polls was correlated in an unusual way with President Obama’s performance among white voters in their surveys. If Obama was performing especially poorly among whites in one PPP poll, it tended to have a higher share of nonwhite voters, which boosted Obama’s result. And if Obama was doing relatively well among whites, PPP projected less nonwhite turnout, keeping his lead in check. As a result, PPP’s polls tended to show an unusually steady race between Obama and Mitt Romney.

“I’m picking on PPP for a reason: They’re the biggest herders in the business.”

The Washington Post addressed a similar problem with PPP, just three days ago, No, a majority of Republicans don’t think President Obama is a Muslim.

[EDIT: Also, I’m having a lot of trouble reading out particulars in the actual polling question, but PPP’s press release infers that it is not “likely Republican voters nationwide,” but rather, “Trump Supporters Think Obama is a Muslim Born in Another Country.” And, I think the 40% believe Cruz born in the United States figure comes from a separate PPP poll, so they aren’t even polling the same people on both.]


LOL… That’s refreshing! Although I have to say anything other than a “margin of error-ish 5%” saying that they think Obama was not born in the United States… or that Ted Cruz was… is alarming!

People just tend to believe what they want without regard to the facts.
Ronald Reagan, Heretic!

Except that’s the point. With PPP, there is no margin of error, because they manipulate the sample.


I doubt they adjust it enough to got 40% from 5% or to get 29% from 95%…

But the real point is not if 29% of republicans believe Obama was born in the United State or if 60% believe he was. The fact that it’s not 95+% is the issue. Again, people believe what they WANT to believe.

Which brings up an interesting point on any of these issues (GMOs, evolution, whatever)… In many cases (with the exception of the evolution vs I.D. lawsuit), simply exposing people to the real facts is not enough. For many it just FEELS wrong to eat genetically modified foods. Some people are ignorant, others defiantly so.


Why facts don’t win arguments