It’s very easy to see this as the mindless actions of ill-informed ideologues and anti-science luddites. And make no mistake, I am appalled by what they did, just as I was when it happened at aCSIRO lab in Canberra in 2011.

But as my rage subsided, my brain came back online.

This is not about GM food

The pros and cons of GM food are not what’s at issue here. For those interested in pros and cons, see herehere, and here for a variety of perspectives.

What’s at issue here is people, and understanding what’s happening when people disagree. Reading the many outraged responses by people in the scientific community – for example here and here – it seems clear to me that “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”.

The proponents of GM rice and its benefits clearly have positive intentions, and they are understandably upset. Some of the pieces decrying the acts of the crop vandals explicitly refer to these activists as being “anti-science”.