That seems to have precipitated a negative response from Laura Combs, a local anti-vaccine and anti-biotechnology activist. From one of her many e-mails to the Museum:
I do not understand how Biotech Days at the museum is an "impartial venue." In order for to be an impartial venue, people like Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology and Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute would have been invited and they or their representatives would have presented information counter to the promotion of Genetically Modified Foods by BASF, for example. I think it would be a very worthwhile debate to have and provide the impartial venue that the museum is supposedly looking for - Monsanto and Bayer Crop Sciences or BASF representatives and Mr. Smith and Mr. Kastel in a moderated debate. Simply allowing the corporations who are profiting heavily from genetic engineering to present the risks is absurd and highly misleading the public.As you can imagine, the e-mails have gotten quite convoluted. Ultimately, Ms. Combs has written an unhappy letter to the museum's director, calling for, among other things, all the internal e-mail correspondence about her. (I do not know the state of North Carolia's public records laws, so I have no idea what the correct procedure is for Ms. Combs.) I don't know what she expects to find, but I imagine that she's setting off for a fishing expedition.
Regarding the Pharmaceutical company representatives, an impartial venue would have involved those representatives as well as folks promoting informed choice, such as Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center and Dr. Larry Palevsky. Without balance such as they would provide there is no impartial venue for education.
I hope the museum considers hosting a forum where truly both sides of the issues, such as in the cases I highlight above, can be presented. I will be glad to help you make the necessary connections. In addition, I recommend that the museum consider hosting special topic nights, such as genetically modified food, vaccine efficacy and safety and other topics where speakers from both sides of the issue are present and discussing their positions in a moderated forum.
I think Ms. Combs is making a mountain out of