Monday, May 10, 2010

Tomorrow's Food

In addition to Susan Greenfield's debate about how to best cultivate our brains (a kind of farming, one might say), is the debate around how to best cultivate our primary and secondary food crops (the latter being fed to animals which in turn serve as food).

Genetically engineered seed crops are not simply cross-bred varieties. They are new, largely untested biological phenomena with the potential to wreak havoc, as they cannot easily be recalled. Most soy, corn and cotton planted in the USA is genetically engineered.

Some analysts contend that USA agriculture is already in a meltdown as a result of buying in to these strategies.

India has endured a terrible experience with Monsanto's cotton product, Bollgard, and has wisely banned further introduction of mutant crops pending independent study.

The identification of foods and medicines in ayruvedic culture suggests that the FDA has been too cavalier in distinguishing foods from drugs.

The barriers to entry have been low, while the "science" has become increasingly suspect, given the conflicts of interest bedeviling the industry.

The corruptibility of science is a theme of Michael Chrichton's book State of Fear as well as War Against the Weak by Edwin Black (quoted in Chrichton's appendix). Phony science was also a focus of Dr. Susan Haack's ISEPP lecture. Civilizations may back slide and decay, as they surrender to moral decadence.

Experience with tobacco companies sets the pattern: they'll tell you their product is good for you until forced to admit that it's actually killing you (and even then, it's your fault if you believed their claims in the first place).

Demonstrating cause and effect is more difficult with transgenic materials.

Farmers and consumers are starting to see they have a common interest in moving away from mutant mono-cultures in favor of more diversified organic methods.

Because Congress is slavishly obedient to retro agribusinesses, labeling laws have kept consumers in the dark about whether their food is contaminated with these unwelcome and uninvited "guest" breeds.

This was by design, to prevent boycotts and/or "voting with one's dollars."

I'm providing a "neg" position for debating purposes. Those taking the "aff" (affirmative) position have a right to be heard as well.

Public schools are an appropriate forum for these debates. There's mathematics involved, so here's another chance to "get relevant" by encouraging informed discussion about what goes into those school lunches.

We owe it to tomorrow's people to not shut down all the important conversations in favor of computer games with no purpose. Purposeful gaming (ala world game) and simulations are another matter. Where's the game about crop cycles (vs. circles)?