Many thanks to Random Rationality for such a no-nonsense post which I am re-blogging here. Worthwhile repeating the following quote from the blog Science-Based Life http://sciencebasedlife.wordpress.com/

“Surely, if we have learned anything about our advances in other areas like medicine, agriculture, and public health measures, the way forward is with science, not backwards with an assumed beneficence of Mother Nature. The “unnatural” advances of humanity are some of its greatest achievements. Surgery, vaccination, conventional agriculture, electronics, and engineering (genetic or otherwise) have us living longer, healthier lives. If organic foods really aren’t as nutritious, if natural can also mean dangerous, if genetically modified foods have no scientific reason to be labeled differently, we simply cannot afford to continue making the naturalistic fallacy. What is best for us, what is healthier or safer or more nutritious, is something that falls out of proper research, not common sense.”

“– It was only 200 years ago that a day old baby had a life expectancy of 37 years. Go back 400 years, 2/3s of all children in Britain died before the age of 4, but it’s natural, so who needs vaccines, hygiene, and plentiful food, right? Go back 2000 years, and the average life expectancy drops to 25 years.”

Random Rationality

There is this notion that has been bugging me lately: the notion that nature is all-knowing, all-wise, acts as a mother to us, and that we should abide her infinite wisdom and abundance. It is otherwise known, to scientists and philosophers, as the appeal to nature fallacy. This notion, which is more of a feeling really, has serious shortcomings. One—and really the only one I need, and want, to address—is that it can only express itself through being lucky enough to be born at the top of the food chain, and it must then, by definition, in being expressed, fail to acknowledge the grim, short, and painful subsistence lives of almost every other member of every other species on this planet, even that of pre-civilized humans.*

This fallacy is, to repurpose to my own ends, a quote from comedian Bill Maher, ignorance masquerading as wisdom, which would, in any other…

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