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“Without artificial orange coloring, farmed salmon filets would be grey.”

Got your attention?

Such is the social media headline for a recent article in The Atlantic. Most of the reactions to this on Twitter involved exclamations like “yikes,” “gross,” “nasty,” “I am so grossed out right now,” and so on.

Of course it’s understandable that such a revelation would make some people upset, since raw fish is quite far from the category of foods we perceive as processed and artificial.

However, upon a closer glance, this article is simply pandering to that modern fear of over-privileged foodies who are terrified…

Photo by Simon Webster, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, cropped.

This week the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a genetically engineered potato for commercial planting. The genetic modifications of this tuber make it resistant to bruising which commonly happens to potatoes in storage, leading to produce loss.

Another potential benefit is that these spanking new potatoes contain significantly smaller amounts of asparagine, an amino acid that turns into acrylamide at high temperatures, such as deep frying. Acrylamide has been flagged as a potential human carcinogen, even though currently it’s not clear whether we should be too worried about ingesting it, as long as our diet is balanced and sensible.

When a person is immune to evidence or keeps claiming that everyone else is hiding the truth, debating them is futile.

Have you ever heard that shape-shifting reptilians are in charge of the world? Or how about the idea that the US government staged the Moon landing? Of course there is no proof, because the authorities are covering it up and lying to you.

This line of reasoning is a simplified example of what goes through the head of a conspiracy theorist.

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Western Australia, has described conspiracy theories as immune to evidence: “If you reject evidence, or reinterpret the evidence to be confirmation of your…

Signe Dean

Science writer and journalist | Views expressed here on Medium are strictly personal. |

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