Letter: Charles's GM stand

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Matters of science can never be resolved in an atmosphere of hysteria.

It is distressing that once the Prince of Wales has spoken, those of us who feel otherwise are made to feel disloyal, and orderly debate turns into explosive reactions based only on personal beliefs ("Why Prince went tabloid on GM food", 2 June).

Man has consciously or unconsciously modified his environment, including the nature of food stuffs that are available to him, from the time he first descended from the trees. The idea that GM foods are inherently "anti-nature" or going against principles predefined by some higher being is not science.

The Duke of Edinburgh in a recent article pointed out that while he was a pragmatist his son was a romantic. In feeding a hungry world there is little room left for romance.

Technology drives change, and like it or not, once you have opened the Pandora's box of human knowledge there is no going back to blissful ignorance.

The only thing to do is discuss things sensibly without the invective exemplified in the mistaken "Frankenstein food" allusion, and with proper scientific evidence.

Our concern now should be that those who have developed this technology do not exploit those who could benefit from it most, the world's needy.

RICHARD HORNSBY

London SW1

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