I went into Starved for Science with as open a mind as I could. After all, my next book will be more or less a refutation of much of what Paarlberg promotes as the way to help the poor, starving farmers in the world, and it would not serve me well at all to read his book without giving it a fair chance. Perhaps there are good points to be made that support his point of view? I would look stupid in my own book if I were to ignore them. And, not only that, but helping the world’s most vulnerable people is far too serious a subject to allow ideology or ego to get in the way. If I’m wrong, I want to know it. I want to challenge everything I believe to be true and test it as much as possible, because if we don’t do that, we are less likely to solve the world’s problems. And it seems like a good way to challenge my point of view is to read a book – a rather well-respected book (by certain crowds… like the U.S. Senate) – that argues that everything I believe is wrong.
Starved for Science: How Biotechnology is Being Kept Out of Africa was one of the most riveting works of fiction I have read all year! Oh wait… non-fiction, you say? Well, then it sucked.
“This postmodern resistance to agricultural science felt now in both North America and Europe makes considerable sense in rich countries, where science has already brought so much productivity to farming that little more seems needed,” Paarlberg writes. “It becomes dangerous, however, when exported to countries in Africa where farmers remain trapped in poverty because they are starved for science.”