Tag Archives: Language Abuse

Natural

10 Mar

I was born in 1961, and thus grew up during the 1960’s flowering of the Heath Food craze, which is still with us. My father was a Professor of the History of Science and Technology, and like most people with a scientific background had scant patience with pseudo-scientific jargon; he always wanted to know what an inorganic banana looked like.

Me, I simply observe that Organic Farming is a luxury that the people in less affluent societies can ill-afford. Put bluntly; it grows less food on more land, and the “organic” fertilizers used are no better for the environment than “chemical” ones, and likelier to make humans who ingest them sick.

What really annoys me, though, is the use – or misuse – of the word “Natural”. As it is bandied about today, it is supposed to mean superior, wonderful, and healthy. And it is vastly overrated. Arsenic is natural. So is cyanide. Botulism is perfectly natural, unless you take very unnatural steps to preserve food, and is also seriously deadly. As for behavior; we humans are Great Apes. Natural, for us, is sitting naked in the jungle, picking parasites off of our relatives. And for many mammals, natural behavior includes killing off rivals for a female’s affections, and then killing any immature offspring she may have so that she will be ready to produce offspring with your genes. So; murder, plus infanticide, plus (in all likelihood) rape is natural.

You can keep natural.