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    Weston A. Price

    « Food First – Great NYT Article | Main | Guest Post – Be Nourished Farm Coming to Raleigh? »

    August 28, 2012

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    Below is a quote from one of your emails.

    "Regarding the ability to ask tough questions, neither I nor the vast majority of those attending are versed enough to ask and debate the tough questions with the presenters. I did not witness any tough questions being asked. I am not paid to study BASF’s work full-time, for example, and that prevents me from having a worthy discussion of the detailed issues around their research."

    Based on your recall of the event, no one asked any tough questions. How would you know that? By your own admission, you are not “versed enough to ask and debate the tough questions”. It is more likely that nobody asked a question you considered tough enough. If you felt you were in the position to judge the toughness of questions, you must have been “versed enough to ask and debate the tough questions”. Why, then, didn’t you ask your own tough questions? Based on your multiple emails, I find it hard to believe you require some proxy (picked by you) to ask the “tough questions” for you. Is it perhaps you would rather wage an online debate rather than an offline one?

    Next time, ask your questions instead of campaigning to end opportunities to engage with entities you clearly have many questions for.

    For what it is worth, I think I was the only one asking questions at the presentation I attended.

    The level of patience and engagement you received seems to belie your objections to how you've been treated. Your beliefs were acknowledged (beliefs that are irrelevant to science, but not to a civil discussion from a public institution) and they were taken seriously (more than many would have offered you). What more can you ask for? Your ideas are so far outside the scientific mainstream---did you think they would just say, "OK, we'll just change science for you next year?"

    As others have already noted, my respect for the museum and its staff has only increased while reading this exchange. Kudos to Dr. Kroll for responding with the patience and respect that he did.

    Sounds like the Iowa State Fair every year, from your initial description (boldly spoonfed propaganda using a hijacked warm and welcoming atmosphere).

    A museum is a place to study and learn, to compare and contrast. You don't seem to be interested in doing any of these things and are fixated on furthering your own ill-informed agenda.

    Dr. Kroll is an educated, experienced and respected scientist who certainly did not deserve your vitriolic attacks.

    I am so disappointed that the museum would participate in promoting the agenda of Monsanto and Big Pharma. They should be impartial, and at least present both sides! I commend you on your determination, and I find it very sad that so many people are ignoring the dangers of allowing companies such as Monsanto to infiltrate places like the museum of “natural science”. Such a sad, sad time…. Thank you for your hard work on this!

    At one time, all areas of study were called philosophy. What we now call science was known as natural philosophy---in contrast to, say, moral philosophy. Study of the physical world, as distinct from study of art, music, theology etc.

    The distinction is pretty much the same in the case of the word "science". Natural science studies the physical world, including the way it behaves when manipulated by humans; social science studies aspects of human society, which isn't a physical entity but a set of behaviours, beliefs, mutual agreements, psychological interactions and so on.

    "Natural" in the term "natural science" doesn't mean "untouched by humans". It means "belonging to the physical world". To say that study of GMOs is not natural science would be to say that GMOs have no physical existence. It's simply wrong.

    Extracting definitions from dictionaries isn't going to give you the meaning of the term. All dictionaries do is try to summarise the way language is used. I'm very aware of this at the moment, as I teach myself Norwegian using monolingual Norwegian dictionary as one of the resources. Its definitions point towards likely meanings of words, but to find out what they really mean I have to see the various ways people use them.

    To know what natural science is, you need to look at the activities that those involved in natural science consider to be a part of it. Those activities define the phrase.

    Yes, "nature" CAN mean "aspects of nature which haven't been changed by humans", in the same way that "in the country" can mean "in a place which hasn't been built on", but that's not the usage here. Your assertion that genetic modification isn't part of natural science is equivalent to saying that because Cardiff isn't countryside, it isn't part of the country of Wales. It mixes the meanings up.

    Thank you for your thoughts, Tim. I definitely see where you are coming from and it would have been helpful if the Museum would have taken the time to provide similar feedback. What I don't get, though, is this example. Why is biotechnology not under Duke University's Natural Sciences Department? Instead it is placed in Duke's School of Engineering. NC State's biotechnology degrees are placed in its engineering department as well. My understanding is that biotechnology is an applied science, which is different from a natural science, which would explain why it is not treated as a natural science by the universities. Appreciate any thoughts. Thank you.

    After reading this account I donated to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Clearly they are doing an excellent job and have great patience.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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