Re: 100% Natural

Ray Peck (
Mon, 16 Sep 1996 00:33:08 -0700 (PDT)

From: "David Musick" <>
> There is a meme going around now that has infected huge numbers of people.
>The meme is completely irrational, and it is a meme which blocks many
>Extropian and Transhuman memes. The basic core of the meme is: "natural
>things are superior to artificial things." It is quite common for an
>advertisement to claim that it's product's greatest advantage is that it is
>100% natural. Not that it necessarily works better than artificial products,
>but that its naturalness somehow makes it a better product.

I do not think it is true that "artificial" means "bad" or
"dangerous", but a strong case can be made that many if not most
artifical substances and processes made in the last 50 years have been
released without testing their effects thoroughly or at all, and these
many of these effects have been found to be detrimental. Cf. "Why
Things Bite Back" for plenty of examples.

People don't shun GoreTex rain jackets or Polypro camping underwear,
because those things are in a class whose members haven't had
detrimental effects, save a few yeast infections from nylon panties.
People do shun artificial food products because so many of them have
turned out to be carcinogens, mutagens, and so on.

The solution to this isn't trying to inject everyone with an
"artificial is good" meme, it's to make sure that artificial actually
*is* good.

"E. Shaun Russell" writes:
>We, like the animals, have a primal instinct to
>protect our kith and kin. Why this isn't recognized by the average naturalist
>is beyond me.

I don't think many "naturalists" disagree with self-defense. What
they disagree with (at least what *I* disagree with, to the extent
that I am a "naturalist") is using living systems as industrial inputs
in the same way as if they were, say, mineral deposits. And in
destroying these living systems for our convenience and taste, rather
than out of necessity, when there are suitible alternatives.

I'd rather pay 10% more for recycled paper than to cut down 1000 year
old trees to pulp more cheaply. If that makes me enemies on this list
(as it did in this lists's early days), so be it.

If our capabilities are growing exponentially, and we gain only a
constant factor by destroying irreplacable natural systems, why can we
not simply delay our ambitions (e.g., "the singularity") for a month,
and gain entire ecosystems in return?