Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A slight rant about organic agriculture

The scientific blogging community has largely become a voice not just for science, but also for skeptical inquiry. Legions of established scientists, scientists in training, citizen scientists, science enthusiasts, and everyone in between have made it a personal collective mission to evaluate claims about the world at large with an eye towards interpretations backed by evidence. Rightly so, this cadre of skeptics tears apart claims of the paranormal, faith healing, alternative medicine and other quackery in the name of evidence and reason.

There is a sort of "dark side" to all this, however, in that some things get a bad reputation due to their close proximity or endorsement by people who generally accept worldviews contrary to those of the skeptic army. One such field that has a tendency to get shit all over by skeptics is the organic foods movement. One would assume that a movement that largely aims to reduce pesticide use in farming, decrease the dependence on monocultured growing practices, and take a skeptical view on GMO crops wouldn't be too difficult of a sell for most anyone with a basic understanding of ecology. Unfortunately the tendency for proponents of organic agriculture to have a decidedly "anti-science" attitude tends to draw the skeptic community like flies, and they waste no time denouncing these "wackos" and criticizing the entire shebang. Now, it is fair to say that there are some legitimate criticisms of the organic movement, especially with the increasing desire to commercialize and oversell the claims made...but this doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the pesticide-free bathwater!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A return to blogging -or- interesting bug of the week!

As it turns out, moving to the other side of America and starting your PhD program has a negative correlation with posting on your blog.

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But! No longer will this little corner of the internet languish in a state of shameful neglect! I mean, come on I spent like a whole hour making that banner image at the top of the page!

So, without further ado, I resume posting starting now.