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Origins of the Organic Agriculture Debate takes an historical look at two contrasting streams of ideas. The first view comprises the flow of ideas in chemistry and biology that have created the conditions for modern medicine, modern food production and the biotechnological revolution. The second view is the "vitalist" reaction to the rise of modern science and the resulting rejection of modern agriculture.
Contemporary proponents of "organic" agriculture and the anti-genetically modified food movement believe that "pure" food confers some special kind of virtue both on those who produce it and those who consume it. They fail to acknowledge that organic chemistry, genetics, and molecular biology have been as essential to twentieth century advances in agriculture such as plant breeding, and are instrumental to ensuring that there is enough food for everyone.
Origins of the Organic Agriculture Debate
We need to better understand the forces of scientific and technological change if we are to control the negative elements of these forces, continue to advance the development of science and technology, and facilitate fuller participation in the benefits of our advancing capability to further the human endeavor. Origins of the Organic Agriculture Debate will provide a basis for this understanding.
1. Science, Technology, and the Critics of Modernity.
2. Science, Integrated Inquiry, and Verification.
3. Reductionism: Sin, Salvation, or Neither?.
4. On the Trail of DNA: Genes and Heredity.
5. Vitalism and Homeopathy.
6. Disenchantment and the Cost of Rejected Knowledge.
7. Rejected Knowledge, Nature and the Occult.
8. Vitalism, the Organic, and the Precautionary Principle.
9. Feeding Six Billion People.
10. Romantics and Reactionaries.
11. Risk, Representation, and Change.
Epilogue: Science, Technology, and Humanity.