This whole disagreement about grafting and clonal propagation is a
miniature version of the same disagreement we have had about other kinds
of disputed agricultural technology. This is a good opportunity to
examine some the the philosophical foundations that inform your views.
> Is it Man's nature to graft?
Looks like it to me. This is part and parcel of typical human
interaction with and manipulation of the environment. How about
pruning? That is manipulation. Planting in rows (or planting period)
are rather recent inventions from an evolutionary perspective. Making
compost is an unnatural act if viewed in this kind of light. So, where
do you draw the line? The Amish draw it about at the invention of the
zipper. But, why not shun buttons too. They were a new-fangled
invention at one time. You are harking back, romantically, toward some
(perceived) time in the distant past, when you think everything was
wonderful. This is probably an illusion.
> Is grafting trees a good example of proper plant husbandry, of a true
> stewardship of the earth?
Looks like it to me. Why don't you explain how you think grafting is
bad for the earth? Do think it does some sort of metaphysical damage?
> Is it consistent with man's capacity and rightful destiny?
Explain what you mean by "destiny". One way to understand destiny is in
an evolutionary sense. The ability to manipulate the natural
environment has evolved in humans, just like it has in, say, harvester
ants. Our manipulations of the environment are just as natural as the
actions of the ants. That isn't to say that all these manipulations are
desirable, just that there is no natural-law basis from which to judge.
> In short: Is or isn't grafting a dead end, a wicked mess?
Compared to other environmental problems, this is about as trivial as
you can get.
> I say it is. Is anyone prepared to say it isn't? (With emphasis on
> the word prepared
Douglas, this is clearly an esthetic issue. It is analogous to the
organic foods issue. Since you believe sincerely that seedling fruits
contain some sort of natural emanation, go ahead and buy them. But if
you intend to tell everybody else what to do, you need to come with some
evidence beyond your intense feelings. Sometimes we are deceived by our
> The logic is admittedly grounded in moral terms, with "a good
> understanding of plant physiology"(to cite the response from
> Beltsville to my original article).
I have nothing against moral argument, but I haven't seen anything
convincing in that respect. I would like to read your scientific
rationale. Could you give us a citation so we can find your paper in
> The science ought to follow. Will it?
You mentioned before that eating a grafted fruit puts you out of sorts
for several days, while seedling fruit energizes you. Why don't we set
up a double-blind experiment. I could (maybe) get one of my pomologist
friends to produce deep frozen cubes of fruit, or juice samples from
seedling fruit and grafted fruit. The samples would be sent to you (and
other people who feel the same way) and we could see if you are able to
distinguish the identity of the samples by eating them. I'm willing to
pay the postage. We could communicate the results publicly on SANET.
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