Imagine you are in the supermarket in front of the shelf with biscuits (or whatever food you like). Taking into account that you are a person caring about your health and well-being, which product would you choose: the standard, traditional one or the one with several labels: “organic”, “No GMO”, “vegan” etc ? If it is the last one and in general, you prefer to choose the most “natural” products (although they can be much more expensive than standard ones), then congrats, you are also, as a huge majority of the population in developed countries nowadays, a part of the Naturalistic fallacy social phenomenon.
I recently saw am interview of a biologist relating this phenomenon.
The Appeal to Nature Fallacy or Naturalistic Fallacy is the idea that what is found in nature is always good. And what is created by the person is always worse. Indeed, a lot of people think nowadays, especially after all these food industry affairs, that it is always better to let the nature create and not intervene in its creation.
But let’s analysis this point of view:
First observation: in parallel to beautiful creatures, the nature has also created a lot of toxic and dangerous things for the person: viruses, bad bacteria, toxic mushrooms and plants… and to survive, the human was constantly avoiding or fighting them with technologies and knowledge obtained through centuries. Is it bad? Shall we let the nature kill some of the most fragile of us? Philosophical question…
Second observation: do you know that a lot of vegetables, fruits and other plants we eat today, like carrots, watermelons, bananas and many more were not always looking as we know them today? Indeed, all of them were genetically selected and/or even modified, to increase their productivity, improve their taste or increase their protection against parasites. Check how nature created watermelons before scientists intervene into its natural aspect:
Surprised? And this concerns a loooot of products you consider natural today. You would also agree with me that there isn’t a lot of known deaths from a standard banana or a watermelon. Just because their DNA changed doesn’t make them dangerous for humans.
Third observation: our own, human DNA was constantly modified through centuries. It is called evolution. Indeed, today humans are taller, have less hairiness and live longer than in 19th century for example. But they also have new diseases, offered by mother-nature. We are actually ourselves cute GMO products…
Finally let’s admit that a lot of products, genetically modified and created by humans have saved billions of lives and allowed us to survived through pandemics, hungers and other disasters.
So maybe the best thing would be to stop being obsessed by organics and start think pragmatically about the right balance between science and nature?
Please share your own thoughts about this topic, I would be pleased to know it!