My colleagues and I made an effort to show the following, which is a criticism of the method in general. First, transgenics, that is the type of genetic modifications thus obtained, were not analytically in the same category as the cross breeding of plants and animals that have characterized human activities since husbandry –say potatoes or mandarin oranges. We skipped complexity classes and the effects on the environment were not foreseeable –nobody studied the interactions. We even showed that there was a patent increase in systemic risk. Second, there was no proper risk study and the statistical methods in the papers in support of the argument were flawed. Third, we invoked the principle of simplicity which was called antiscience. Why don’t we give these people rice and vitamins separately? After all we don’t have genetically modified coffee that has milk with it. Fourth we were able to show that GMOs brought a bevy of hidden risk to the environment, in terms of higher use of pesticide which killed the microbiome.
This error by the science entertainer Richard Dawkins error generalizes to, simply, overintellectualizing humans in their responses to all manner of natural phenomena, rather than accepting the role of a collection of mental heuristics used for specific purposes. The baseball player has no clue about the exact heuristic, but he goes with it –otherwise he would lose the game to another nonintellectualizing competitor. Likewise religious “beliefs” are simply mental heuristics that solve a collection of problems –without the agent really knowing how –and lead to human activity; for solving the equations of the world in order to make a decision isn’t a skill we humans can aspire to have –it is computationally impossible. What we can rationally do is neutralize some aspects of these heuristics, defang them so to speak.