"3.  If criticism of GM is, in the media, mostly by persons who are very ignorant, or so sloppy that their utterances are too often wrong, to bring GM under strict regulatory control will be much harder."
Robt. M. has often in the past, and continues to, point out that the media is often full of errors regarding scientific questions.  I totally agree with this -- it is rare that I read an article in the Boston Globe or the NY Times about science that does not contain errors, frequently of a fundamental nature that indicate that the journalist is deeply ignorant of the matter.
It seems that the contributors to this list possess widely varying scientific backgrounds, ranging from hugely impressive and broad to none.  
My own background is fairly thorough (if dated) in the physical sciences, but weak in life science.  The questions being discussed are often quite technical.  I do not feel qualified to offer a strong opinion regarding a scientific matter in which I have no training or experience.  I would like to feel welcome to ask questions, however.
Some on this list with little science background or experience take very strong positions on complex scientific questions.  I may be accused of being elitist, but I feel some disrespect when that happens, as if these persons feel that a relatively cursory reading on a topic could be equivalent to a lifetime of coursework, research and teaching that is characteristic of many of the scientists who contribute to this list.
I certainly do not agree with all of Robt. M's utterances, nor the language he sometimes uses, and I'm certain I risk being confronted by him for my stance as an atheist.  But I know that he is a scientist of considerable training and breadth in both the phyical and life sciences and respect him for that.

Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 00:00:51 +1200From: [log in to unmask]: the menace of illogicTo: [log in to unmask]

        I continue to bother with the flame-war powered by Ms C. H. Pine, supported by Michael Balter, for the sake of uncommitted third parties who have yet to speak up.
        The logic is, in outline, rather simple. 

1.  I point out that criticism of GM has been, at least in the NZ media, almost entirely stated by extremely ignorant persons incapable of discussing the science. 

2.  These operatives are, mostly, unqualified ambitious women seeking publicity & power.

3.  If criticism of GM is, in the media, mostly by persons who are very ignorant, or so sloppy that their utterances are too often wrong, to bring GM under strict regulatory control will be much harder.

4.  Fanatical vitriol-spewing hatemongers, notably Ms C. H. Pine, and their front-wimps, contest none of the above.

5.  These ideologues assert that fact (2) proves I'm anti-women. 

6.  To criticise PowerHarpies is equated to criticising all women.

        It's amusing that the following bundle of truth is inspired by a famous utterance of my disreputable distant cousin.   The above illogic results from obeying these commandments.

        The Ten Commandments of Political CorrectnessThou shalt:   1.  Regard all racial and sexual minorities as sacrosanct and refrain from any criticism of them.   2.  Treat women as a minority, though they constitute 51% of the population. [*]   3.  Blame all society's ills on the white, heterosexual, male "majority".   4.  Deplore all discrimination, unless it is specifically designed to disadvantage the "majority".   5.  Insist that the "majority" is by nature racist & sexist, and devise ways to control its behaviour.   6.  Ignore any comments by minorities about the majority, or about each other, which might suggest that they too sometimes have racist & sexist tendencies.   7.  Place no importance upon truth, accuracy or consistency of argument, for the next commandment makes these inconveniences unnecessary.   8.  Silence all dissenters with a system of legal penalties, social vilification and ridicule.   9.  Pretend that political correctness is simply about politeness.  10. Rejoice in your moral superiority.                       * Note: The 51% figure relates to *all* females of all ages.   Amongst the population of voting age women comprise in the USA closer to 57%.           In other developed nations the figures aren't too far different.   ---   The Ten Commandments of Political Correctness    by Don Bruce.
   These were published in the letters to the editor of The Sunday Age newspaper on August 10, 1997. 

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