Ask most smart, liberal-identifying people about how they know climate change is real and they'll tell you point blank: science.
Ask the same intelligent, rational people why they believe in evolution, and—again—they'll say science, most likely while rolling their eyes.
Ask this group of I Love F*cking Science fans (and Neil deGrasse Tyson groupies) if they would support scientific advances to help feed the world and they'd exclaim: YES, OF COURSE!
But ask if the same good-hearted (and "LIKE" minded) individuals if they support genetically modified foods (also known as GMOs) and they’ll scream, shout and share in horror: NOOOOOOOOO!
And that's despite the fact that a vast majority of scientists (including NdGT) believe that GMOs are safe. Or that the editors of Scientific American strongly advocate for the continued development of this "immensely beneficial technology."
The Canadian developers of the Arctic apple—a genetically modified apple that the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved for sale last week—vastly underestimate the opposition they'll face when launching their new (and wholly harmless) product.
Because rather than increasing yields to feed growing populations or reducing the use of pesticides, the Arctic offers a cosmetic and rather benign benefit: It cleverly "silences" the enzymatic browning of apples once they're cut.
I can already see the torches and pitchforks of villagers outside my office window: This Frankenfood is in for a helluva’ fight. Hopefully one that doesn’t slow, or even halt, the development of GMO foods that can help feed the world.
Why do I think so? Because the personal values of purity, naturalness and goodness trump science when it comes to the food we put in our mouths. And that rational people act as irrationally as anyone else, regardless of the scientific facts.
For strategic communicators, that's critical food for thought.