We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Scientists have been trying to explain genetic engineering to people who're unwilling to listen and even try to understand it for decades.
I can fully comprehend why they're tired of even trying any longer.
Our society has grown so hostile towards the sciences, anything a scientist says is automatically discredited by a lot of people anyway, so it's often better for them to not say anything.
It's a constant theme. Scientist tells you something is safe and beneficial, the conspiracy theorists in the press and Hollywood scream that he must be "in the pay of big XXXXX" and therefore isn't telling the truth.
Meanwhile an entire religion has grown up around the entire "eco" idea. "Back to nature", "100% natural".
It's got to the point where people believe that 2 identical molecules, 1 produced through a chemical reaction in a factory, the other by a plant, behave differently, that the one produced in the factory is automatically "bad" and the one produced by the plant automatically "good".
Case in point, how many of you will only buy "natural sea salt" because rock salt "is not healthy"? It's exactly the same stuff. Tastes the same, chemically identical, biologically identical, physically identical except for maybe the default crystal size.
I know a lot of people like that. Tell them that there's no difference between the two, they'll scream that "but it's biological, it says so right there on the box, therefore it's good, and that other salt comes from a factory so it's bad".
Explain there's no difference, in detail, and they'll just stare at you blankly and then tell you that you must be in the pay of "big salt" or whatever.
One reason scientists sit out is that the term "genetically modified organism" doesn't really mean anything. As JT, above, says it is next to impossible to explain to some people what genetic engineering is and isn't. Most of these people embrace the "natural" as a religion anyway, rejecting science and its benefits (polio vaccine anyone?) without ever once understanding what science is and how much it contributes to their everyday convenience and comfort. These are the same people who think "someone should do something" without recognizing where the power or authority comes from, much less the skills, technology or funding.
Explain to whom? The "golden rice" story (old, but still on-going, political idiocy) is not "news" but adding bio-luminescence to goldfish is, so guess which one people hear about? Or, a company alters genes for an improved crop - and also further alters it so its seeds will not grow. After an initial small outcry about not being able to use the seeds if you grow it, the MSM pushes the major hysteria of "what if it spreads to existing farms."
I don't blame scientists -- I blame English professors. Back in the day those were the ones responsible for teaching how to read not only the words, but also how to think critically about them... how to detect BS.
Scientists are rarely activists and activists are rarely scientists. Most activists who claim a scientific background are simply political animals who went to college. The MSM is the major facotr here in either educating the public or demagoging the issue. The MSM's history on these things is not good. Probably it comes down to a simply profit decision. After all it's not as though the 1st amendment was intended to allow the free press to inform the public...