I have observed that many concerned scientists stay on the fence, using as an excuse the unreliable ravers who over the past decade insist on fronting in the media for our movement.
Is it not overdue to bring into focus those who claim a 'right' to issue any sloppy utterance they carelessly fabricate or relay, and why they are not held to any duty to refrain from uttering errors that would tend to bring into disrepute the movement for control of this most dangerous technology?
The credibility of the cause is of very great importance, for reasons which are widely known and obvious. The hazards of gene-tampering are comparable to those of nuclear weapons; this has been clear to experts like Jonathan King, Ruth Hubbard, David Straton, etc since gene-splicing was invented 3 decades ago. Prince Charles has more recently given an immaculate lead in opposition to this dangerous technology, and in developing organic horticulture as the only alternative. He evidently gets his statements checked by experts before he puts them out, and the result is an impeccable record for accuracy. Reliable facts, and clear reasoning, will be required if the public are to bring gene-tampering under control. This principle has yet to be adopted by loose cannon Mae-Wan Ho.
I have argued for some years that the main reason for the persistence of the embarrassing usurpers is that they are primarily WimminsLibbers. Some of them have expert editors or ghost-writers who help somewhat, but those servants tend to be transient; this does not bother the PowerHarpies, because their own overassertiveness is their main goal. Not subject to internal criticism, and so scornful of the enemy that arming them with valid criticisms is assumed to be a negligible blunder, these megalomaniacs - typefied by the radically sloppy & insolent Ho - just flail about themselves fecklessly; they insult and try to intimidate anyone who attempts to help them, even privately, to achieve reasonable standards of accuracy. What a wonky scene!
Many of their errors turn out with luck to be minor, not strictly material to the correctness of the general gist. But the game is not played honestly, by Monsanto PR agents or by Vivian Moses, Rick Roush, Marta McGloughlin, and other PR agents. These operatives will make great play with any defect issuing from 'our side', discrediting in the eyes of uncommitted observers any scientifically inaccurate utterance and by (dishonest) implication discrediting the whole case for control of GM. I have encountered numerous scientists who do feel at least vaguely concerned about GM but wouldn't go near our movement because they despise such sloppies as Ms Ho or her protégée "Sam" Burcher.
The zero-defects approach of, for instance, the Union of Concerned Scientists is not a discipline Ho, Cummins, etc are willing to undergo. One effect is that the UCS GM-experts (Margaret Mellon Ph.D J.D & Jane Rissler Ph.D) refuse to have much to do with most anti-GM activists. This awful fragmentation is a severe handicap for the main task of bringing GM under control.
I for one am sick & tired of this warped scene. When UCS founder Henry Kendall showed the
way to zero-defects criticism of nuclear reactors, no usurper like Ho tried to set herself up as a comparable expert. Then arose prototypical reckless errormongers e.g Helen Caldicott M.B, Rosalie Bertell, and a few others. Surrounded by buffer-zones of wimps, these harpies plunge on recklessly with error-strewn utterances that would repel any careful scientist who took them as representative of the scientific criticisms of nuclear weapons & nuclear power.
In my country the media have presented as experts on GM unqualified PowerHarpies who are unable to discuss GM - some unaware of the difference between a protein and a nucleic acid. Thus sexist politics overpowers the fine Kendall tradition.