Letter: Science at bay

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I agree that individual scientists should not be held in any greater awe than poets (Terence Blacker, 22 June). They are fallible human beings, subject to the same bias and prejudice. That is why the scientific method evolved: it remains the "least worst" method of seeking certain objective truths. As far as any method can, it eliminates from this search the human desire to believe what we want to believe. To this extent, I believe that science (not necessarily scientists) can be trusted.

Genetic engineering, however, is like any other branch of engineering. It uses scientific discoveries to develop saleable products, and companies developing these wish to recoup their development costs and more. There remains the scientific task of discovering whether such products are likely to be of net benefit to mankind. Major difficulties ensue. A single paper (such as Dr Pusztai's effort) is seized upon by the media and proclaimed as truth. Other voices (letter, 22 June) proclaim that organic food is less safe to eat than GM food.

What is the solution? More good science, I'm afraid. It certainly isn't poetry.

PAUL DAWSON

Martlesham, Suffolk

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