Evaluation of Scientific Resources
Nowadays, there are a lot of important scientific problems that remain unsolved. As it usually happens, many specific issues that are of great interest to the researchers do not attract much attention from common people who are unrelated to science. Nevertheless, the question that I would like to discuss belongs to the number of the most popular problems that allow nobody to stay indifferent. To be more precise, I am interested in genetically modified foods, the problem that causes numerous arguments within academic societies, and the masses (Blancke et al., 2015). I became interested in this issue because of the contradictory information that has been discussed in the mass media world recently.
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There are a lot of articles from reputable and questionable resources that discuss genetically modified food and the evidence of harmful effects that it can produce on human health. In their article from a peer-reviewed academic journal, Hilbeck et al. claim that there is no credible information proving that genetically modified food is fraught with danger to human health (2015, p.1). Nevertheless, the researchers also lay stress on the lack of evidence for its total acceptability. On the whole, the authors of this article suppose that there are no strong reasons to believe that it is absolutely safe or really dangerous for our health. It seems to them that many people’s willingness to join strong supporters of the use of genetically modified foods or their opponents believing that it causes irreversible changes in people’s bodies occurs because of the lack of reliable information on this problem. Their article presents a critical review of other researchers’ works; in their opinion, the methods used during many experiments are quite questionable.
There is one more source that I would like to review. Unlike the previous one, this article was not published in a scientific journal. Instead, it was retrieved from the website posting the articles devoted to the most popular topics. In her article on genetically modified food, Relfe (2014) expresses her opinion on the way that such food affects human health. As it is clear from the title, she belongs to those people who claim that genetically modified food slowly kills its consumers. Throughout the article, she uses a lot of pictures illustrating the dangerous effects of such food on laboratory rodents and pigs but there is no evidence that these pictures were taken during the experiments that she mentions. To continue, the author warns the readers against consuming such food and tells the story of her cousin who has died of cancer. According to her opinion, her cousin’s illness was also connected to the use of genetically modified food in the United States. On the whole, the discussed article seems to be propaganda against such food products.
Reading these articles, it is quite easy to define their scientific validity. Among the most important things indicating their credibility, there are the references (no references in the second source), the use of additional ways to impress the audience (the pictures taken during unknown experiments used in the second source), and the use of imperative constructions instead of credible facts (Robson & McCartan, 2016, p. 491).
To conclude, there is a variety of ways to expose the information used in different sources. To evaluate the credibility of the article, it is necessary to consider the source that it is retrieved from, the references to scientific works of other researchers, and the balance of emotional information and evidential facts.
Blancke, S., Van Breusegem, F., De Jaeger, G., Braeckman, J., & Van Montagu, M. (2015). Fatal attraction: The intuitive appeal of GMO opposition. Trends in plant science, 20(7), 414-418.
Hilbeck, A., Binimelis, R., Defarge, N., Steinbrecher, R., Székács, A., Wickson, F., & Novotny, E. (2015). No scientific consensus on GMO safety. Environmental Sciences Europe, 27(1), 1.
Relfe, S. (2014). The ultimate killing machine – GMOs. Activist Post. Web.
Robson, C., & McCartan, K. (2016). Real world research. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons.