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December 15, 2017

001 Introduction, and Sleuth4Health Julee K


This pilot episode is an introduction to the talking biotech podcast.  Special Guest, Sleuth4Health Julee K.  Julee’s blog was well recognized for its anti-GMO sentiment.  However, after time she made gradual realizations that led her to make science-based decisions, and re-evaluate her stance on biotech.  She revisits her journey and provides advice as to how to reach hearts and minds concerned about their food.

Questions are answered from Twitter, and there’s an introduction the Amazing Crop History portion of the podcast.

Julee K’s website-  Sleuth4Health

Julee’s Twitter:  @sleuth4health

Download episode from iTunes here.

10 Comments on 001 Introduction, and Sleuth4Health Julee K

  1. Wow, it was *great* to to hear Julee’s perspective. The slow process of chinks in the armor, and finding new details on stuff when looking closer, is why I keep doing what I do. Someone might stumble on the facts.

    I particularly loved the part about her not feeling like she has the ammunition to do this battle in public settings (towards the end). That struck me. Even I am hesitant to jump into this in some family/friends/local settings. And I know the data.

    I think that’s one of the places that the Pew poll on consensus of scientists helps us a lot. You can use that as an anchor.

    But I think this also points to the importance of scientist voices in this debate. Our non-science allies need us to have their backs. And they need some place to point when people ask them about why they feel that they do.

    • Mary, it is my hope with efforts like MAMyths that we can empower people to be activists without having to be experts themselves. Be it GMO, vaccines, climate change, etc we can’t all expect to be fully versed on the latest literature but we should be able to advocate with integrity. In that way we can grow our base of science defenders and allow the experts to be experts. Our currency then can have gold in the reserve to back it. Unlike our detractors who will find their economies of myth collapsing when challenged.

  2. Great first episode! Love the format. Nice to hear Julee K’s voice.

    I gotta defend emotion though. I think it is an undervalued tool in science communication/advocacy (and dare I say, activism). This sentiment downplaying emotion, because detractors use it, plays into their hand. Emotion and objective discourse need not be mutually exclusive. GMO is an emotional issue because it’s a social justice issue! As much as we work against our fancy monkey brains with science to discern the truth we ultimately have to connect with other fancy monkeys.

    Anti-GMO people often do not come from a place of scientific evidence and we do not need to be scientists to meet that challenge. Misinformation propagates best when left unchallenged. FUD works both ways, uncertainty can be disrupted by a simple public challenge of it’s own certainty (so meta)!

    It’s great to hear stories where people have that shift. Particularly if they are not scientifically trained. It’s the tenacious insistence of truth that makes our cause righteous and will reveal anti-GMO for what it is. Nobody wants to be the baddy. 🙂

    • Aristotle said it best, every good persuasion has some pathos. I’m good with emotion, especially with public audiences. I think Julee just feels that at times it is used to manipulate, and that’s true!

  3. Hi Kevin,

    Thank you so much for doing this podcast! I recently switched from being Anti-GMO myself so I can relate to Julie. I went down and listened to you speak in St. Augustine. I am actually a science teacher so in hindsight I should have known better, but I have been working on thinking more skeptically. I look forward to passing the insights I gather from these podcasts to my students.

    • Thanks Frank… I know we’ve connected before and thanks for what you do. I’ll be up that way one of these days to teach at FSCJ for a guest lecture. Let’s get together, I’ll buy lunch!

      • Hi Kevin,
        I would love that to meet up with you sometime except I should be buying 🙂

        In addition to be a science educator I am also a hobby beekeeper. I have been reading through the scientific journals regarding colony collapse. I was wondering, do you see a potential for a gm bee in the future? There seems to be so many hypotheses right now as to what is actually causing CCD. I have been maintaining a small apiary for five years now, it appeared to me the biggest factors of my hive losses have been the varroa mite and then wax worms. Thanks again for all you do.

  4. Hi Kevin,

    I’m so glad I listened to your interview with Julie. I’ve been skipping around based on which podcast title grabs me. (Clearly, I’m not a scientist.)

    I enjoyed hearing her story because it was so similar to my evolution on GMO. I was never a hardcore “Anti” but I will admit I did subconsciously succumb to the halo effect of organic and that cute little Non-GMO Project label. I spent a fortune feeding my kids Cheddar Bunnies instead of Goldfish and I felt good that my Smucker’s peanut butter was non-GMO.

    Small doubts started to creep in when I read about activists trampling Golden Rice but it wasn’t until the big measles blow up in the past year that I started to pay attention. That’s how I came across the PEW survey that Mary mentioned in an above post. It was like a screeching sound in my brain. I’ve always been very pro-science. My vaccine advocacy goes back years and I’ve never been a climate-change denier. When I saw that the scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs was 88%, I was absolutely floored. I had no idea and I’m still somewhat ashamed that I never thought to question since I like to think of myself as a skeptic.

    I’ve spent the past several months trying to learn everything I can about genetic engineering and all of the issues surrounding it and the more I learn, the more excited I get about the technology. Along with the excitement though, is frustration about the public perception.(It feels like fighting a fog.) I don’t see how many of the same people who feel so passionately about climate-change/world population/feeding the developing world issues can deliberately and stubbornly throw away one of the very few technologies that could actually help. It’s mind-blowing.

    I’m sorry this is so long! Anyway, the point is, thank you for being on the front lines with this because I know it isn’t easy. Also, I’m open to ideas about what I can do to help besides being a social media warrior. At the very least, please feel free to use my words if you ever need to. If there is anyone who can attest to the effects of labeling, it’s me.

    Good luck going forward. I’d love to attend a guest lecture if you end up making it to one of the colleges in Jacksonville. At some point, I’d like to see you talk at my kids’ school if I’m able to navigate the politics.

    Thank you again,
    Amy Levy

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