GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Re: Words Are VERY Important: New Survey


Indeed, words are a powerful tool. Surveys which ask respondants about 
"genetic engineering" recieve a lot more negative responses tyhan those 
which ask about biotechnology.  

Many people in the PR business have suggested to me that this is good 
reason for use of the latter, while those opposed to GE, like yourself, 
suggest we use the former.  BOTH are manipulative.  And, if the two 
camps keep talking about different things, perhaps the public are at 
risk of not seeing the two as the same thing !!

I can't resist commenting on some of the statements in your post - 

As a "scientist" (one of your blacklisted words)

>It has become clear from both the Novartis and this last survey
>that the government and the chemical/genetic engineering companies
>intend to use the terms "biotech and biotechnology" to assist them
>in their mission of propogating genetically engineered foods; 

Their MISSION ???, propagating engineered foods.  Lovely evil overtones, 
Brilliant use of words !!!!!!

>They, along with the government are doing everything and
>anything possible to fool and lull the public into thinking
>genetic engineering is a natural extension of what was done in
>the past.
>When they ask the public whether they are aware of "biotechnology," 
>allows and encourages the public to think that they are asking about
>crossbreeding and hybridization. OF COURSE they have heard of 
>biotechnologies which have created new breeds of corn, grapes, etc.
>Who hasn't heard of this? Basically every adult has.

Umm. Not true.  A recent, extensive survey (I have the details if you 
want) in the US showed that (I'm not sure of exact figures) something 
like 60 % of respondants (over the phone) couldn't say what traditional 
(selective) breeding was.  Once the process was explained 30% - 40% of 
respondants believed they had never eaten anything produced by the 
technique and 20%  thought that the process was "morally wrong".  People 
ARE NOT aware of breeding and MANY OTHER agricultural practices (for 
example very few of the 100's of 16-18 year olds that I teach are aware 
that tomatoes are piucked green and chemically ripened at the point of 
sale).  I think that if they were, they would be as appalled as they are 
about "genetic engineering".

>Use:                       Do Not Use:
>Technology                 Science (GE Food is Fraudulent Science)
>Chemical Industry          Bio-Tech Industry
>Genetic Engineering        Biotechnology
>Chemical Companies         Biotechs
>Technicians                Scientists (Gives them
                                      too much implied respect)

The last may be taking things a bit far but this scientist (and 
educator) thanks you for the implied repect !! (although surveys show 
that the public trusts scientists less than environmental organisations 
for regulating GE and for providing truthful information)



Janelle L. Kennard
CRC for Plant Science
PO Box 475
Australian National University.
Canberra  ACT 2601

Phone (06) 249 2878