A few days on the beach was exactly what I needed to finish up decompressing. In addition to a few long, hot, and dehydrating runs, I had the chance to get a bit of reading in. The best part is that it has significantly renewed my interests in science and engineering.
Steward Brand on the fear of genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms, from Whole Earth Discipline:
What “nature” are we talking about, exactly? You can’t do anything against nature, if your idea of nature includes physics, chemistry, and mechanics. Abominations can be imagined but cannot be performed. Anything you can do you can only do because nature allows it. Nuclear fission is so natural it occurs geogically. Horizontal gene flow is so natural it is the norm among microbes. Apparently what people mean when they say “against Nature” is “against my understanding of Darwinian inheritance and traditional breedline agriculture.” Or maybe it’s not so cosmic, and what people mean by “against Nature” is “something I’m not used to yet.”
We’ve always been engineering our agriculture, and microbes swap genes continuously. If we permit, encourage and respect engineered pharmaceuticals on the open market, why not nutritionally improved food?