The good professor who complains here about "polarising rhetoric" is the same Chris Lamb who rounded off a response to an enquiry about the industrial linkages of John Innes Centre funding with the following remark: "I AM FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT FOR GM FOODS" [block caps in original].
Since Prof Lamb's appointment to the JIC there also seems to have been a notable reduction in the number of senior scientists researching biotech alternatives to GM. And while he talks of "fostering balanced scientific discussion", in fact the same chronic pattern of misinformation from science communicators at the JIC has continued unabated since his appointment.
for details on all the above see the recently updated NGIN report on the JIC: "Biospinology in our science communication?" http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/biospin.htm
GM and rhetorical roots
The Guardian (London) May 2, 2001
Guardian Society Pages, Pg. 7 : readers' letters
Polarisation of discussion about agriculture (Eco soundings, April 25) serves the agendas of campaigners, but does little to address how we secure global access to good quality, safe food. The 50% increase in food production needed by 2050 cannot come from increases in cultivated land, and higher yields will need to be generated from reduced inputs and with reduced environmental impact. Moreover, global climate change will exacerbate problems in many populous regions where water will be an increasingly scarce resource. The Global Agriculture 2020 meeting examined these pressing challenges from many perspectives - farmers, consumers, developing country agronomists and economists, academic and industrial researchers - in an attempt to understand what science can contribute.
Anti-GM campaigners were present but had relatively little to say, presumably because the conference was not on the single issue of GM but was fostering balanced scientific discussion of a multifaceted problem. While the drive to sustainable food security must include political, social and economic solutions, a precautionary principle' urges accelerated scientific research and the development of strategies for the effective application of technologies tailored to local needs. Resolution of the huge problems facing agriculture and food production will require flexible, pragmatic new partnerships between private and public research, governments, charities, NGOs and agricultural communities - not polarising rhetoric.
Professor Chris Lamb, director, John Innes Centre, Norwich