Some people still grumble about the inquisition or Galileo’s trial. Optimists will argue that those days are long gone now. After all, even the Catholic Church has embraced evolution and the big bang theory. But the problems for science are not over yet: There is another supranational institution as blind to evidence as the 15th century Church, with its curia in Brussels and aides as slippery as a famous 15th century Florentine.
After having decided that it will no longer require the services of a scientific advisor -terminating the post- the EU has now authorised its member states to ban Genetically Engineered (GE) crops, even when they have been deemed safe by its first (and last) scientific advisor and approved by the scientific panel of the European Food and Safety Administration (EFSA).
According to Science Magazine, -displaying a superb control of Orwellian rhetoric- informed: “This is not about opposing science and politics”…“but rather about unlocking an untenable situation and enabling governments to respond to European consumers”.
What he really meant was:
“We are enabling politicians to please the prejudiced bias of a small but extremely noisy and affluent part of their electorate.”
If the EU parliament wanted to allow individual governments “to respond to consumers demands” a “you don’t need to buy it if you don’t want to” would have sufficed.
The major scientific institutions in the world have agreed that GE crops are safe. This includes: The Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Europe’s own EFSA. Even honest scientists who oppose GE crops tend to admit that they are safe, their opposition being rather political or philosophical.
The environmentalist groups that lobbied the EU commission’s president to get rid of the post of scientific advisor (and are against GE crops) don’t have the safety and economy of the European people at heart; they want to impose an ideological agenda. Driven by an insane mix of anti-capitalism and green theology, environmentalists insist we should reject biotechnology at any cost; they believe that “natural” is always better (never mind that pain, disease and pests are all natural) and want to stop us from ripping the benefits of scientific progress. That is their belief and it is fine if they keep it to themselves. But the EU parliament sets a terrible precedent by giving in to an unscientific prejudice against technology. How many more small minorities’ prejudices will the EU be willing to accept as law “to respond to consumers demands”?
At least from now on, Britons and a few others will be free to use scientific agriculture on their own fields (as long as the “common market” don’t find new ways to stop them). That is something.