Hudson, M.D., Raybould, A.F. and Poppy, G.M.
The breakdown of trust in decision making about GM crops in a knowledge deficit
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In a society that is becoming increasingly sceptical of scientific innovation, any novel technological advance which has the potential to dramatically alter some aspect of society will face criticism. Biotechnology is no exception. Trust is crucial for its acceptance, as society lacks both broad scientific understanding and specific. biotechnological knowledge. In recent years, society’s trust in science and scientific regulation has been severely dented. Questions of scientific independence and credibility, the negative impacts of previous innovations, and the contrasting views of experts and society, have all played their part in the diminution of society’s trust of scientific innovation, and the capacity of those charged with regulating these innovations. When it comes to regaining trust, one-way dialogue ‘informing’ society of the regulatory steps taken to ensure safety has been shown not to work. We suggest a more inclusive approach, which incorporates societal concerns within the regulatory assessment in a transparent an explicit way, is needed to rebuild societal trust. While the regulatory process only includes the concerns of scientific experts, there will always be criticisms of its scope and the impartiality of experts and the validity of the underlying science.
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