You make it sound as though nature had _intent_ to produce things that
were good for people to eat. Also, I am at a loss to see how you would
explain away evidence of many diseases found in human remains from
It seems that you have set up a tautology when you imply that a crop lost
to insects/diseases/weeds must be because of improperly mantained
soil ecology and/or farming methods ("To a great extent, the perversion
is that our adulteration of the soil is at the root of most of our health
problems"). I am reminded of my grandmother, a Christian Scientist, who
was dismayed as her health deteriorated in her 90's -- to her, this meant
her faith was inadequate, since a basic belief of hers was that faith
meant health and faithlessness meant disease/decay/deterioration.
Well, for her, it worked for 90 years before time caught up to her.
The point is that the test you propose is a patently unfair one because it
seems to assume that human wellbeing is a deliberate/conscious -- or, at
least, a necessary -- result of returning to a garden of Eden farming
style. I don't believe it. Also, remember that the garden of Eden never
had to support more than two people (oh, yes, and a snake). I would
find it difficult to just shrug off a plague of locusts on my crop as nature's
way of culling me and my family. I'd be more likely to try to kill the
locusts and, failing that, eat them!
Many of the modern ills that you refer to are a result of us living longer.
That is, modern nutrition, sanitation and medicine allow people with
marginally-effective immune, digestive, and other systems -- who would
have been culled out at an earlier age -- to live into their 50's, 60's, 70's
and beyond. Eventually, as with my grandmother, things fall apart. I
don't think this can be blamed on poor quality soil or improper crop
Similarly, a lot of the health problems in the developed world that can be
traced to nutritional causes, are attributable to an over abundance of
nutritional choices -- and the resultant nutritional imbalance through
self-choice. In most pre-agrarian societies, diversity in the diet was
typical. This often included all kinds of fruits, vegetables, relatively little
meat and even insects. Nowadays, folks can stuff themselves with
refined, processed foods that have been boiled in oil and dipped in salt,
then treated with preservatives -- and make this a major component of
their food intake every day (ie, very little dietary diversity and a gross
imbalance in carbohydrate/fat/protein and the micronutrients, including
salt). It is no wonder that people who go down this path of malnutrition
suffer from it. I don't believe this, either, is traceable to the soil that the
food was grown in nor to the way the crops were managed.
Finally, our main crop where I live is potatoes. Ten years ago, we had a
small population of dedicated, hardworking, organic potato growers.
As far as I know, there are no commercial potato growers left here
because of a new strain of late blight which wiped them out. I have no
doubt that these farmers would be offended to hear that this failure must
have been due to inadequacies in their soil maintenance or crop
As you might have gathered by now, I have serious doubts about the
validity of your position. I readily admit that humanity has become an
earthly plague by suppressing many of the forces of nature that tend to
keep our population numbers under control, and by wantonly destroying
whole ecosystems in the process. I also suspect that it is possible
(likely?) that this population explosion may be only a temporary setback
to natural selection as you seem to envision it. Nevertheless, unless we
go back to being hunter-gatherers (and in very small numbers, at that),
we will always need to take actions to nurture our crops and to protect
them from non-human competitors. Birds, mice, insects and diseases do
not only attack crops that are unfit for human consumption, as you seem
to be saying (If the farming methods are wrong, Nature sends in the
recycling troops in order to prevent the crops or animals from being
consumed higher up on the food chain"). Is it also nature that sends
two-legged "recycling troops" from the neighbourhood to raid a farmer's
orchard or vegetable patch?
Anybody -- from any kingdom, order, family or genus -- who tries to take
my crop away from me is a menace as far as I am concerned. I will
strive to keep my soil a healthy and productive medium for plant growth; I
will grow varieties of plants that are naturally resistant to diseases; I will
practice good garden hygiene and crop rotation. However, I will not
_ever_ expect nature's "recycling troops" to leave my garden produce
alone just because I have finally done it all right!
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