Saturday, September 24, 2011

Of Fundies and Foodies

I'm not convinced that this is all that friendly of a planet. Granted, we've been around, on one form or another, for about 3.5 billion years but it seems to me that the whole setup is not here exclusively for our benefit. The world is full of microscopic creatures that view us a nothing more than a big smorgasbord full of protein and carbs. And, if past practice is any indication of future performance, we have maybe a couple of million years before we either fade away or change into something that we wouldn't recognize as us.

I don't get the idea of "natural". I don't see how anything can be "unnatural". And the idea that natural equates to safe is suspect. Most of the stuff that can get you is definitely natural, not the result of reactions to man made toxins. The Foodies, fundies, anti-vaxers, and various New Agers all share the idea of some sort of pristine natural archetype - for the Fundie it's the Garden, for the Foodie it's some mythical American past where we grew our own local organic food and for the Anti-vaxers it is evidently better to develop immunity by actually getting the disease than to prime your immune system with an inoculation There is a reason that Great grandpa could expect to live to be 47 and I can expect to push 70. And it has nothing to do with the natural foods movement and everything to do with mass immunization against childhood diseases and an efficient, safe, regulated supplemented food supply and science based medicine. Kids don't get pellagra, thyroid problems or have their teeth rot out from lack of fluoridation like in the good old days. Will I eat organically grown produce if it is similar in cost to the commercial stuff? Of course. It's not like I spray my salad with Raid before I chow down. I think factory farming for animals (mammals anyway) sucks. Am I frightened of genetically modified food? Not at all. Everything we eat is genetically modified. I don't see where cross breeding instead of genetic manipulation makes it any more safe. Will I get every vaccination that comes down the pike? Absolutely. The numbers don't lie. Statistically, getting the disease fucks you up way more than any potential adverse reaction. Is Big Pharma your friend? Probably not. But unlike Big Supplement the drug companies have to at least prove through clinical trials that their drugs have some sort of effect.  I supported the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act when it came out. I was wrong. It's a snake oil scam. Like acupuncture, chiropractic and a whole host of other alternative treatments designed to separate people from their wallets.

But there is no talking to people. No convincing people, anyway. If your kid gets bacteremia from chicken pox, maybe you've learned your lesson. Too bad your kid had to learn it the hard way. The species may be engaged in an arms race with existing bacterial and viral scourges but chances are that you as an individual are just an expendable foot soldier. I had all the common childhood diseases and my mom had polio so I'm more than happy that we humans have found a way to game the system.  I have found a lot of born aginer's seem to be into the natural supplement scene. I'm not sure if it's a congenital deformation of the reasoning circuits or maybe Amway. And there is an element of OCD to the whole thing. A search for purity in a decidedly impure world, where you can purify yourself  by what you eat and how you live and keep the demons at bay. I know how it is. There is no way to reason your way out of thinking that the world is full of contamination. I may know in my mind that there is no way that doorknob could be dirty enough to infect me but I still feel as though it is.

*Graphic from Kansas Bob

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