Cult of ‘natural’ opposes modernity

, | | February 26, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The idea of genes being crossed from different species into another — the “Frankenfood” myth—may sound strange and “unnatural” when it is first described to someone untrained in plant sciences, but so do many new things that become introduced.

Berezow and Campbell in their book Science Left Behind tie many of the anti-science beliefs afflicting the Western world today to the cult of the “natural”. Anything deemed “natural” is considered by some to be safe and better than “unnatural” things. Thus, some people will drink unpasteurized milk because that is how it came from the cow, never mind that pasteurization prevents many diseases which can come from raw milk.

“Of course, rattlesnakes come from nature,” the authors wrote, “as does arsenic. And how about the entire process of agriculture? Plowing, sowing seeds, harvesting — none of that is, strictly speaking, natural. In order to cultivate food, farms destroy the existing environment.”

To insist on “natural” products (even if an exception can be made for organically farmed crops), is thus, to insist on Stone Age technologies, to oppose modernity itself. All the technological advances known to man that help extend our lifespans, cure diseases, and increase the quality of life to levels never known in the history of the world are based on the concepts of using science to manipulate the world around us for the benefit of humanity. To oppose science and technology, then, is not really a progressive goal to advance humanity; it is the exact opposite, a regressive state of mind that opposes progress. To follow the anti-science agenda would be to oppose new medical procedures that can cure the sick, farming techniques that can increase crop yields even in places that suffer from drought to feed more of the world’s hungry, and to do all kinds of good.

Read full, original article: Boldly Go Back: Anti-Science Regressivism from the Left and the Right

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