July 11, 2015 3:29 pm
Pop Quiz: what do you think our most controversial subject has been, in terms of spirited discussions on our social media channels, our comments here on the website, and even on our host Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Facebook page?
B) Artificial Intelligence
D) Landing on the Moon
E) Climate Change
Sure, every time we put up a picture of a US flag on the Moon, we get comments about how it’s all a big hoax and we never actually went there.
And yes, at the time we posted “A Conversation with God”, we got more comments than we’d ever gotten before.
That record that held until, unexpectedly, our interview with Elon Musk, where Musk’s concerns about artificial intelligence and robots making us their pets, coupled with the fact that neither Neil nor Bill shared his concerns, led to quite a spirited conversation here and on social media.
But surprisingly, although also obvious based on the title of this blog post, it’s actually C: Genetically Modified Organisms.
Every time the subject comes up – and frequently even on threads that have nothing to do with the subject – the vitriolic and volatile discussion on our social media channels is astonishing. The amount of personal insults, directed both at Neil, and Bill, as well as at some commenters by other commenters, is shocking. (I say this with the utmost regard for you, our audience, who tend to deal with each other out of respect, even in disagreement.)
It is also refreshing, in that unlike some of the other subjects, those discussions involve voices on both sides of the GMO argument who can and do present facts and scientific data, papers and expert testimony to support their positions.
Now, whether you agree with those experts and their data is one thing. Certainly not all data or studies are equal in terms of accuracy or integrity.
But from our point of view, and to quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
Bill Nye used to be concerned about GMOs.
Now he’s not.
He changed his mind because he met with the scientists doing the work, looked at the data, weighed the facts, and came up with a scientifically based decision.
That’s what science is all about – it is not flip-flopping if the data changes.
Last month, when we asked you for your Cosmic Queries about GMOs for an episode guest hosted by Bill Nye, and you came back with so many great questions that we ended up making a two-parter.
And just in case you think we’re going to hide from the confrontational questions, let me assure you that in fact, Bill revels in them (and co-host Chuck Nice is happy to throw fastballs at him). Tomorrow night, in Part 1, one of the many questions Chuck asks Bill is, “Is Monsanto paying you?”
You’ll get to hear all about “Mon Satan,” as Bill says one of Monsanto’s key researchers refers to himself. Plus glyphosate and Roundup, Dow, Dupont, and Con Agra, and even, Agent Orange.
This Sunday, come with an open mind. Or a closed one.
The choice is yours.
But do listen, because this is a subject that concerns all of us, and a conversation that touches on climate change, drought, starvation, genetic manipulation, playing god, super-fast computers and even exploring and colonizing the Moon and Mars.
Controversial enough for you?
Let the comments begin.
Join us for Cosmic Queries: GMOs with Bill Nye (Part 1) this Sunday, July 12 at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and TuneIn.
That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
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