robot army

I’m not going to respond to all the points in this GM Watch deconstruction of my post about Arpad Pusztai, the scientist whose experiments testing the safety of genetically engineered potatoes ignited a controversy. But there are three interesting points that I think that critique got right, to one degree or another.

Before I examine those, I think it’s worth commenting on the way this process of rebuttal plays out, now that I’ve been run through the cycle a couple times myself. There’s something fascinating about how each statement in this conversation elicits an immediate and automatic response. At times I feel as if I’m standing between two giant argument machines: Each takes in every argument, runs it through an algorithm, and spits out the pre-formulated retort. One talking point reflexively provokes another, which then triggers a third. It’s like two computers engaged in an endless series of tic-tac-toe games — and it makes for a sterile, airless debate.