Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Common sense and the precautionary principle

Adam Korbitz argues,
"[Cass] Sunstein has pointed out that 'better safe than sorry' is more or less common sense.

"The problem comes when we have no reliable data or evidence to support our choices (as in the Active SETI controversy), or when we act contrary to the data we do have because of fallacies or ingrained psychological prejudices. For instance, scientists years ago developed a form of GMO rice called Golden Rice that could effectively wipe out Vitamin A deficiency in much of the developing world, potentially saving millions of lives every year and saving millions more people from childhood blindness.

"Yet today, Golden Rice – like many GMO foods – is effectively banned because of the political lobbying of anti-GMO organizations. It has nothing to do with the safety of the food. There’s no evidence it is not safe. In this way, the anti-GMO movement is very similar to the anti-vaccine movement, and similarly anti-science."

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