A helicopter pilot here in the Northwest gets caught in thick fog. His instruments are on the fritz. He has no idea where he is. Luckily, he sees through a break in the fog an expanse of grass, and lands safely.
He is on a lawn in one of the "campuses" found in the 'burbs around here, businesses that surround themselves with lawns to avoid looking like businesses. Curious workers peek out at the pilot through their office windows. In a hurry, the pilot grabs a piece of paper and a marker and writes, "Where am I?" in the hopes that someone in the office park will give him an address so he can dead reckon his course back to the airport.
Someone does scrawl a note with an answer, but it says, "In a helicopter."
At first, he is a bit pissed, but then smiles. He gives his "helpers" thumbs up, revs the rotors, and takes off. He sets a compass course due South and manages to find Renton Airport with no problem.
When he gets to Renton, he tells them the story. They ask how he knew to plot the course without knowing where he was. "I did know where I was," he answers. "They gave me completely accurate but ultimately useless information. That's when I knew I had landed squarely in the middle of Microsoft headquarters."
I've done this before. I've read something posted by an LJ friend and found something… lacking. I did that here most recently, in response to a series tacit was doing on GMO myths. I just re-read that response simply because tacit has recently added to his GMO series with a post concerning Monsanto, creators of Roundup™ ready corn seed.
After reading my post again—which concerned aspects of GMO farming one might label "meta"—I realized I failed. I should not have questioned the specifics of (for example) separating farms with cows and farms without them. I should not have noted the economic impact of the new farms that do separate cows from corn.
Instead, I should have taken the tack opposite tacit's. Instead of digging into the scientifically-relevant reasons surrounding myths about genetically modified organisms (as he did), perhaps I should focus instead on why people gravitate toward these myths.
I used to regard such people as willfully deluded for wanting a simple Good v. Evil explanation for why they don't like GMOs, and then crafting the rumors into the Myths of Evil, the "they create disease in people" and other such beliefs without evidence. I don't regard them as completely deluded, not anymore. No, I can't embrace their fallacies. Rather, I see that they are just a bit off-step on their vision quest, grasping at pieces of the world around them, frantically groping, if you will, looking for a future that, though they cannot articulate it well, "looks" right.
What looks right is difficult to explain; hence the fallacies. But what looks wrong? That is very, very easy to identify. Let's take a look at the picture I used to open this post. It's recognizable, to be sure. It's the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz meeting Dorothy. It is a movie set, to be sure. Movie set designers are probably the best people to get when you want something to look "right."
Okay, quiz time. Can you tell me specifically what in that movie set above you will not find in a "normal" farm today? ( Hint: think the Bible. )