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Natural: How Faith in Nature's Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science

Natural: How Faith in Nature's Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science

by Alan Levinovitz

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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on April 7, 2020

Overview

Illuminates the far-reaching harms of believing that natural means "good," from misinformation about health choices to justifications for sexism, racism, and flawed economic policies.

People love what's natural: it's the best way to eat, the best way to parent, even the best way to act—naturally, just as nature intended. Appeals to the wisdom of nature are among the most powerful arguments in the history of human thought. Yet Nature (with a capital N) and natural goodness are not objective or scientific. In this groundbreaking book, scholar of religion Alan Levinovitz demonstrates that these beliefs are actually religious and highlights the many dangers of substituting simple myths for complicated realities. It may not seem like a problem when it comes to paying a premium for organic food. But what about condemnations of "unnatural" sexual activity? The guilt that attends not having a "natural" birth? Economic deregulation justified by the inherent goodness of "natural" markets?

In Natural, readers embark on an epic journey, from Peruvian rainforests to the backcountry in Yellowstone Park, from a "natural" bodybuilding competition to a "natural" cancer-curing clinic. The result is an essential new perspective that shatters faith in Nature's goodness and points to a better alternative. We can love nature without worshipping it, and we can work toward a better world with humility and dialogue rather than taboos and zealotry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807010877
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 04/07/2020
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 640,123
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

About the Author

Alan Levinovitz is associate professor of religious studies at James Madison University. In addition to academic journals, his writing has appeared in Wired, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Aeon, Vox, Slate, and elsewhere. Connect with him on Twitter at @AlanLevinovitz.

Table of Contents

Introduction

PART I: Myth

CHAPTER 1
In the Beginning

CHAPTER 2
The True Vine

CHAPTER 3
States of Nature

PART II: Ritual

CHAPTER 4
Hey Bear!

CHAPTER 5
Let Food Be Thy Medicine

CHAPTER 6
Deepak Chopra’s Condo

PART III: Law

CHAPTER 7
The Invisible Hand

CHAPTER 8
The Rhythm

CHAPTER 9
God-Given Talent

Afterword: Salvation
Acknowledgments
Notes
Select Bibliography
Index