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posted by martyb on Friday January 23 2015, @01:29PM   Printer-friendly

The Washington Post contains an article on a recent survey by Oklahoma State University where over 80 percent of Americans support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,”

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 article discusses the wider issue of scientific ignorance driving policy decisions, and there is some further comment at io9. A summary of the full survey results is available (PDF).

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23 2015, @07:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23 2015, @07:21PM (#137390)

    “Do you support or oppose the following government policies?”
    “Mandatory labels on foods containing DNA”

    I want all food I buy to be labeled, so I'd mark yes for that question. The question says nothing about what the label would look like. No where does it infer that the label would be something like "This product contains DNA". I would interpret this question as someone wanting to remove the already mandatory labels as a law saying "No mandatory labels on foods containing DNA" means all current mandatory labels can be removed. Thus I'd vote 'Support' and people would call me stupid.

    This is another example of a poorly designed survey. Surveys should leave nothing to interpretation. They should have provided examples for all of their questions.

    Software would be better if people didn't make so many assumptions while developing it.