When I argue a point of view, I do my damndest to make sure to make it as logical as possible. If I have a source, I name it, if I have a bias, I claim it, if my information is incorrect or out of date, I adjust my outlook, but what I won’t do is play mental gymnastics just to make myself appear to be more correct than I actually am. I don’t always achieve this, I’m only human…and belligerent…and stubborn…and kind of an asshole…but I try, and that’s what’s important.
To this day, the ‘natural fallacy’ pisses me off more than anything. Just recently I argued with someone who kept saying that ‘our bodies naturally want this’ and ‘it’s not natural, thus we should keep it away from our bodies’. This is logically incorrect since technically everything is natural and cherry picking specific ‘natural’ occurrences to back up your argument while ignoring every other detrimental ‘natural’ occurrence is completely hypocritical.
The term ‘natural’ is a meaningless buzz word that I can go on and on about. So why don’t I? Here’s an article about it.
Dr. Steve Novella, an academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine, and host of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, once said “Bird shit and gravel are natural, but you don’t see me eating it.” In today’s society, we have learned that natural things are what we need leading to beliefs that organic foods will make us healthier, herbal medicine cures more diseases, and weed harnessed from Mother Earth will get you higher (yes, I will be focusing on this). There’s only one problem…
No, that’s science. This is what’s called the Natural Fallacy and because of advertising and misconception, it’s been running rampant. I’ll define stuff where I can and try to make explanations as clear as possible, but this is a hard beast to take down. I’m just a blogger who shoots for laughs with dick jokes and strange analogies (which are another fallacy that I try not to fall into…unless it’s for humor), not an honest scientific debater who actually tries to save lives be showing people that ‘natural’ doesn’t always mean ‘good’. In fact, there is good evidence that falling into the Natural Fallacy has caused harm, and even a few deaths.
Let me make this clear. Before you say that the things that come from nature are healthier because that’s what we’re supposed to eat, you should know that nature doesn’t give a shit about you. Nature is trying to kill you. Go past the strawberries, apples, and bananas (which are sterile fruit that require human intervention to produce, so the ‘natural’ aspect dies there), look at all the other natural plants. For the moment, we’re going to skip the animals, bacteria, and such, because it’s pretty obvious that nature’s a bitch with things with teeth and your ass will get eaten if your granola and hemp filled brain tries to hug a rhino.
When mother nature allowed marijuana to evolve, it did not intend to be dried and smoked. THC is a defense reaction to those trying to harm it. The hope is that those who nibble at it will be drawn away by the taste or toxic effects and thus the plant will survive. It’s not the fucking giving tree. It doesn’t grow so that is can be murdered, dried, and set on fire. The same way that whales don’t want to be hunted and have their fat turned into candles or fuel.
By the way, notice how I said toxic? That’s what’s occurring when you partake in ANY substance. THC isn’t toxic enough to kill you, but what you’re feeling is your body’s attempt to fight it off. It’s altering your personal chemistry, it just happens that the feeling is pleasant. Know what else is pleasant? The moment before death when your brain floods your body with chemicals so you don’t freak out. Know what will do that? Poison sumac. Smoke that and see if you get high. After all, it’s natural.
Besides this, humans did not evolve to breath in smoke. That’s why we die in fires. In most cases, before being turned into human rotisserie, we expire from smoke inhalation. We can survive it, but it’s not something that we naturally do (see what I did there?).
Let’s turn away from substances, but stick with plants. Ever eat grass? Some people will swear by wheat grass, but their claims sound more like magic than anything else. Grass is natural. Ever put any on your salad? Ever bow next to a cow and enjoy feasting off it’s plate? Why not? Your body can handle eating grass (as shown by those who blend wheat grass into sickly green smoothies. I wonder how long it takes to stop gagging after each swig?), so why not head out to your back yard when your hungry?
Ah yes! Disease! A natural organism that gets inside you and relies on your bodily processes to survive and procreate! If all goes well, your body kills it (murderer!) so that you can survive. Can you have both? Why yes. It’s called a codependent system. They happen all the time. It happens within us. But it takes a looooong time for evolution to make that balance. Anything not a part of that balance is considered invasive and we try to get rid of it. When we can’t, and it’s not beneficial, you get something like AIDS. Want AIDS? It developed naturally, so it must be good for us right?
“But we started eating natural products. We weren’t just given fruit and vegetables. Now they’re adding all sorts of chemicals and such just so that we have a bigger tomato. I don’t want that in my body! I’d rather eat things organically grown…the old fashioned way!” Fine. But don’t kid yourself by thinking that the ‘old fashioned way’ meant any less human interference. Going way, way, WAY, back in time, we humans have selected the best crops, harvested their seeds, and got rid of anything that wouldn’t yield. That included crossing species of grain, vegetables, even animals to produce something that would last longer, grow bigger, or produce higher quantities. We just didn’t have labs at that point.
Define organic. Go on, I’ll wait. Did visions of local farmers using natural fertilizers, gathering fresh produce from fields, and selling crops at local markets, devoid of any other chemicals, jump into your mind? Can you picture a happy (usually white) woman holding a tomato, smiling as a drop of dew rolls down the side?
Because those are non-organic. Everything you know about organic foods has been presented to you by advertisers. Something ‘organic’ just means that it’s alive. Carrots, radishes, e-boli, cows, people…these are all organic. It’s a nonsense term. It was created in order to appease people looking for a more ‘natural’ alternative to common products. There are criteria for organic farming, but they are flimsy at best.
Hate those damned pesticides? Guess what? Organic farmers still use them. Insects eat things. If you want to eat them first, you have to keep them away long enough to harvest them for yourself. So, what do they use? Something biofriendly that naturally keeps insects away? Nope. They use older types of pesticides that have been shown to be far more harmful then what’s currently used in non-organic farming. That’s just one of the many problems (yes, problems) with organic farming. Many of the methods they use are out of date and have been found to be harmful to people and the environment.
Ever wonder why you have to spend a lot more for more ‘natural’ foods? Organic yields are very low. They require more space and produce less food. Bad for the environment, bad for you. The corporations that sell this stuff knows this and raises prices accordingly along with demand.
“Wait, corporations? Those devils?!? What do they have to do with my food?!?” Check those packages next time you’re at Whole Foods. Who do you think can keep up with the new found demand for ‘natural’ foods? They’re still muscling out the little guy AND making more money at the same time, since people are willing to pay more. You want something natural? They gave it to you. What’s the problem? Unless…this has more to do with political mood and less to do with person health.
The complaints that big companies are corrupt and that federal agencies, like the FDA, are failing to do their jobs are a political matter. Sure, the FDA need a few more hands in certain areas, and no one is perfect (just ask the organic lettuce growers who gave people E Coli to see that in motion), but the FDA is there to regulate food and drugs that are developed so that they don’t kill us. If they were an evil agency, most of the population would already be dead. As often as they miss the mark, they still have more regulations in place (strict ones at that) than the people who quality control organic food.
Science isn’t magic. What it develops is a synthetic version of what nature offers. “Whaaaaaa…?!?” Yeah, most of the chemicals developed are naturally occurring; they just get rid of the leaves and other stuff that’s in the way. Other chemicals are formed by combining these natural elements with others through reaction. Then, they do this cool thing called ‘testing’. And not just by a few people either. It has to be replicated over and over again. Whatever they develop, whether it’s drug, food, drinks, they have to make sure it’s safe for consumption and, more importantly, what quantities it’s safe in.