------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
> Date sent: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 11:44:18 -0600
> To: "E. Ann Clark" <ACLARK@crop.uoguelph.ca>
> From: "Ronald J. Wiederholt" <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: Biotechnology - straw man arguments
> >Then Ben said: But, >technology is necessary to support today's population.
> >* technology is necessary to feed humans
> >* if we don't have technology, humans will die, therefore,
> >* challenges to technology will kill humans
> >This is classic Dennis Avery (you aren't writing under a pseudonym,
> >are you friend Ben?).
> >This line of reasoning presumes that contemporary agricultural
> >technology, which has been developed under primarily linear thinking
> >(see below), is the only kind of technology that has any hope of
> >feeding humans.
> Before I get into the above, I would like to say that you did an excellent
> job at the grazing conference in Hixton, WI several weeks ago. I was there
> but did not get a chance to talk directly to you.
> Ok, I have to get in my thoughts on linear thinking. I saw a tape of a
> presentation Avery gave at the National Association of County Ag Agents
> annual meeting in Nashville this summer and it has been bothering me ever
> since. I watched it with several other agents and I was disturbed at how
> his comments were accepted as "truth" without any critical thinking. His
> whole theory is flawed in my opinion since he assumes that without high
> inputs, agriculture in 1996 would be practiced in the same fashion as in the
> early 1900's. Gosh, I guess that without biocides to produce scientists
> would have stayed home working in their gardens with a sharp stick and
> stopped thinking about how plants grow and interact with one another.
> I look at the past half a century as a costly diversion of brilliant minds
> doing corporate profit driven research rather than looking at plant and
> animal ecosystems and figuring out how they really work. I am not an
> anti-input person but I think that the emphasis on management of food
> production systems has been grossly misplaced. There are days when I think
> we are getting better at working with what we have rather than trying to
> beat everything we percieve as a threat into submission. But then I think
> of the Avery piece and I wonder if there is any hope for us. I guess to win
> the battle we must continually try and overcome the natural arrogance
> inherent to the human psyche.
> These are some of my opinions and I guess you were (un?)lucky to catch me in
> a mood to respond and you were on the receiving end. Keep up the grass work!
Dr. E. Ann Clark
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
FAX: 519 763-8933