In what seems to be something out of a Watters’ World segment or a old clip from Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking,” an Oklahoma State University study from January notes that “over 80 percent of Americans support “mandatory labels on foods containing … DNA.”
That’s right — DNA. The basic building block of all life.
If the government does impose mandatory labeling on foods containing DNA, perhaps the label might look something like this:
WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both animals and humans. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children.
The Oklahoma State survey result is probably an example of the intersection between scientific ignorance and political ignorance, both of which are widespread.The most obvious explanation for the data is that most of these people don’t really understand what DNA is, and don’t realize that it is contained in almost all food. When they read that a strange substance called “DNA” might be included in their food, they might suspect that this is some dangerous chemical inserted by greedy corporations for their own nefarious purposes.
The same number of folks who want “DNA labeling” also favor labeling for genetically modified (GMO) foods — which, unlike the former, actually makes a bit of sense.
As Ilya Somin notes, “Polls repeatedly show that much of the public is often ignorant of both basic scientific facts, and basic facts about government and public policy.”
But, he adds, “It would be a mistake to assume that widespread political and scientific ignorance are the result of ‘the stupidity of the American voter,’ as Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber put it.”
“Political ignorance is not primarily the result of stupidity. For most people, it is a rational reaction to the enormous size and complexity of government and the reality that the chance that their vote will have an impact on electoral outcomes is extremely low. The same is true of much scientific ignorance.”
h/t to Don Surber.