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Challenge Match: Irish M1ck vs Oscitate: An Apple By Any Other Name Would Taste Just As Sweet

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posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 12:24 PM
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The topic for this debate is "Organic foods are a high-priced scam."

Irish M1ck will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Oscitate will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

There is a 10,000 character limit per post.

Any character count in excess of 10,000 will be deleted prior to the judging process.

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The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.

When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.

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Each debater must post within 24 hours of the timestamp on the last post. If your opponent is late, you may post immediately without waiting for an announcement of turn forfeiture. If you are late, you may post late, unless your opponent has already posted.

Each debater is entitled to one extension of 24 hours. The request should be posted in this thread and is automatically granted- the 24 hour extension begins at the expiration of the previous deadline, not at the time of the extension request.

In the unlikely event that tardiness results in simultaneous posting by both debaters, the late post will be deleted unless it appears in its proper order in the thread.

Judging will be done by a panel of anonymous judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. One of the debate forum moderators will then make a final post announcing the winner.




posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 01:45 PM
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Introductions and Thanks

Thanks to MS and semperfortis for keeping this forum alive. Also, I often forget to thank The Vagabond, who helped spawn this forum (there’s probably a better way I could have said that). Last, thanks to my opponent, Oscitate, for accepting the debate. I have read a previous debate of yours, and you were well versed in the art of argument. This should be interesting.

The Issue

It is my contention that the entire organic food craze is unsubstantiated and based off of pseudoscience. It is the type of science where the outcome of the experiment is determined before the parameters are set.

When studying why things are the way they are, it is often first best to figure out where it originated. In the case of organic foods, its roots can be traced back to a man named Rudolf Steiner. It would not be incorrect to call Mr. Steiner the first modern-day grower of organic food. So who was this man?

Rudolf Steiner was the founder of the Biodynamic agriculture method. Whoa, that sounds pretty scientific, I must say. Well, it’s not. 1


“Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that has its basis in a spiritual world-view (anthroposophy, first propounded by Rudolf Steiner), treats farms as unified and individual organisms. 2


To be honest, it’s not all bad, and it’s not all a terrible theory. When examined further, however, the methods start to become much weirder.


A central concept of these lectures was to "individualize" the farm by bringing no or few outside materials onto the farm, but producing all needed materials such as manure and animal feed from within what he called the "farm organism". Other aspects of biodynamic farming inspired by Steiner's lectures include timing activities such as planting in relation to the movement patterns of the moon and planets and applying "preparations", which consist of natural materials which have been processed in specific ways, to soil, compost piles, and plants with the intention of engaging non-physical beings and elemental forces. Steiner, in his lectures, encouraged his listeners to verify his suggestions scientifically, as he had not yet done. 1


But that’s not all. Not only did he base much of his work off of moon cycles, but he also had some odd things he liked to use to fertilize the soil.


The organic movement was inspired by the mysticism of Rudolf Steiner, who believed in planting according to the phases of the moon, enriching the soil through cowhorns stuffed with entrails, and who taught that chemical fertilisers damage the brain. It is based on the belief that nature knows best and science is dangerous.3


This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that someone has preached the dangers of science. While occasionally these warnings are indeed true, most serve only the purpose of hindering advancement of society.

The Guardian calls outs the Soil Association (referred to as SA in the article) for being one of the many “green” agencies that spread false propaganda.


The SA has argued that organic farming cannot be judged by scientific criteria because "the current tools of scientific understanding are not sufficiently developed" to measure its virtues. It seizes on any findings, however flimsy, that seem to confirm its claims and dismisses any contradictory evidence as irrelevant, prejudiced or influenced by the biotechnology industry.

It has bitterly denounced the Food Standards Agency, an impartial body set up by government to safeguard our welfare, which refuses to endorse the claims made for organic food. Only in January the agency declared that "on the basis of current evidence ... organic food is not significantly different in terms of food safety and nutrition from food produced conventionally". 3


More claims from The Guardian:


It is claimed that organic food is more natural and that its reliance on natural chemicals makes it safer than food grown with the help of synthetic ones. This is nonsense. There is nothing wholesome about natural chemicals like ricin or aflatoxin or botulinum toxin, or especially dangerous about synthetic chemicals like the sulphonamides, isoniazid that cures TB, or the painkiller paracetamol.


People believe the claims for a multitude of reasons. For one, it sounds right. It is natural on the Earth, so it must be better for me than man made. Seems logical, yet founded on nothing. Others may think in terms of religion – God wanted it that way.


It is said that organic food tastes better. Yes, if it is fresh. But blind tests have shown fresh organic food tastes no better than fresh food grown conventionally. Furthermore, about 70% of organic food is imported and is not fresh, and since it is imported by air, it is not exactly environmentally friendly.


In the UK, 70% of organic food is imported by air. There is nothing about flying in food by air that is good for the environment. And, according to this article, there is no evidence that organic food tastes any better anyway.

There are a few other key points I want to touch on out of this article before I leave the floor to my opponent.

  1. Organic food does not taste any better than the regular food you can buy for half the price.

  2. The price of organic food is higher than necessary.

  3. There are no proven gains in health from eating organic food.

  4. Eating organic food does not help the environment. In fact, many will say it does the opposite due to the immense amount of carbons burned to stock up your local grocer’s shelves.

  5. Its roots are based off of wacky theories, making organic food a conspiracy theory, not the other way around.

  6. The organic food craze is simply a creation of targeted advertisement met with little or no resistance. You do not see the counter-arguments to their claims often.
     

    I like to keep my intros short and sweet, so the floor is yours, Oscitate.



posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 08:14 AM
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Thank you to the usual suspects, and thank you Irish M1ick, I'm glad we finally got this one rolling! After having read your opening statement, I can tell you, this is going to be fun!

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Opening Statement


My argument is that Organic foods are not a high-priced scam and that modern study supports this conclusion. Before I begin, a note to address the definition of Organic Food. My understanding of the term Organic Food, is fairly simple.




Food produced without the use of man-made fertilizer, drugs that increase growth, or drugs that kill insects, bacteria, or other living things.



The emphasis here, is that any “movements” whether they are spiritual or not, are completely dissociative from the basic understanding and definition of Organic food. While these movements exist, they are a consequence of opinion and I will not attempt to support them. Instead, I will deal in facts, and modern studies that relate directly to the principle of Organic farming.


Debunking The Debunkers


Modern studies, that post-date my opponents Guardian article, have clearly changed their tune regarding the benefits in Organic farming. An equally authoritative source, namely the Times, in an article which dates as recently as 2007, have much to say regarding the “myths” of Organic farming.




THE biggest study into organic food has found that it is more nutritious than ordinary produce and may help to lengthen people's lives. The evidence from the £12m four-year project will end years of debate and is likely to overturn government advice that eating organic food is no more than a lifestyle choice.


Source: www.timesonline.co.uk...

The study is conclusive enough to spur the FSA to review their definitions and guidelines. Without going into too much detail, as this is an opening statement. I would like to highlight the points that recent studies have began to make the debate on Organic Food benefits rather one-sided. And that the only myths in this debate relate to the marketing campaigns of conventional farmers.

During the course of this debate I will show that the benefits of Organic food consumption are quantifiable and evident. That science has (quite recently) and will continue to support the following allegations:



  1. Organic Farming is less environmentally destructive than genetically engineered or conventional farming.
  2. Organic Farming is healthier.
  3. Conventional Farming impose additional costs on society in the form of pesticides, nutrient runoff, excessive water usage e.t.c
  4. Organic Farming promotes and preserves biodiversity.




A high-Price Scam? I think not!


But obviously, as stated in the title itself of the debate, the debate will also have to address capital concepts. The idea that Organic Foods are overpriced, and a needless fad, preying on the gullibility of consumers. While this is inextricably linked to the debate on Organic food properties we have already began, it is important to note that the costs of Organic food are easily explained. The bottom line is that Organic food prices are higher, but I will show the jury that these prices are justified, and in doing so cannot be classified as a scam. A few points to consider in light of this, which will be further expanded during the debate are:




  1. Basic Supply and Demand Model
  2. More Labor Intensive
  3. More Environmentally Conscious (top-soil, run-offs etc)
  4. Certified Quality food



Other major considerations are noted by this source, who point-out the following:




Agro­chemical agriculture is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer through the government, whereas organic farming receives no subsidies at all. This ludicrous situation dates back to the aftermath of World War II. The governments of the day needed to ensure that the severe food shortages of the war never happened again.



Thus, it is not always the fault of Organic farmers themselves. But the real scam seems to be perpetrated by the government itself.

With regards to the future of Organic farming, as the popular trend that has seen Organic foods increase in demand over the last 20 years continues to expand, it is not unreasonable to expect a drastic reduction in prices across the board. Once this objective has been met, the argument that Organic Food is a craze, an unsubstantiated myth, will have no legs to stand on.


Socratic Questions:

1. Do you concur that Organic foods contain more anti-oxidants?

and if so:

2. Do you agree this consistutes a health benefit with regards to Heart Disease and Cancer?



posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 11:43 AM
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Response to Socratic Questions

Socratic Question #1: Do you concur that Organic foods contain more anti-oxidants?

No, I do not concur. As a matter of fact, they have only been able to find a gain in antioxidants in tomatoes.


A 10-year study comparing organic tomatoes with those grown conventionally suggests that it may be. It's the kind of evidence that pro-organic groups have been desperate to dig up, as most studies have suggested otherwise. 1

emphasis is mine.

Yes, this is truly one of the only shreds of evidence that has ever been found that organic food serves any purpose other than stealing money from people’s pockets.

I suppose, yes, if you want a diet of only tomatoes, then possibly it might be a good idea to buy organic ones. Or, instead of throwing your money down the toilet by paying double for organic tomatoes, you could just take antioxidant pills for half the price.

Also, this trend is only in tomatoes. Previous studies found no difference between regular crops and organic crops of wheat and carrots. Also, a recent study claimed that organic milk had more omega-3 than regular milk, but the UK’s FSA did not seem to agree. 1

To really put it into perspective, just read the last line of this article:

"Tomato ketchup has higher levels of lycopene than either organic or conventional tomatoes. So if you wanted lots of lycopene you should eat ketchup." 1


So, eat ketchup then.

Socratic Question #1: 2. Do you agree this consistutes a health benefit with regards to Heart Disease and Cancer?

Again, no. The very same article I quoted above discusses how the evidence that flavonoids provide health benefits is conflicting. 1

The Organic Scam

I’d like to first start off by quoting Alex Avery. Mr. Avery is director of research and education for the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues and also a plant scientist. What does he think about organic food?


‘’It’s a total con,” said Avery, a plant scientist by training. "There is not a shred of science" to back up claims that organic is safer or more nutritious…. 2


Also, organic food is only scrutinized in how it grown. It is not given further inspection beyond that point. A major problem this presents is that this food “is more likely to carry pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, because of the type of fertilizer that organic farmers use.” 2

Also, while they may not use synthetic pesticides, many of these farmers will use organic pesticides that are just as toxic. 2

I would also like to point out one more part of this article I found to be quite interesting:


“We know with absolute certainty that organic foods are more nutritious,” Kilham said. “Nobody can find any studies that show less nutrition. 2


Notice this man cannot cite any studies that show that it has more nutrition. His best defense is, “no one can show a study that shows less nutrition”. Wow, great evidence, Mr. Kilham! Let me fork out double the money so I can get the same nutrition!

Better for the Environment?

I am not sure I follow. Organic farmers still use pesticides, only theirs are natural. However, this pesticides are just as toxic if ingested. 3 Also, once again, I must point out, that you are much more likely to contract a deadly version of E. coli from eating organic foods. 3

But what do doctors say the bottom line is?


Bottom line: Focus on foods' benefit to your immediate environment -- i.e. your body -- first. "A good diet means variety, balance, and moderation, regardless of the farming method that produced the food," McHughen says. 3


Again, it’s made very clear that organic food is a lifestyle choice, not a healthy choice. Sure, unless you contract e coli, you’re probably not going to feel any worse eating organic food, but there is also no reason that you should expect to feel better (unless paying double the price makes you feel better).

During the big spinach e coli outbreak, investigators had trouble figuring out what happened. The answer is simple! Manure. That’s what is used to farm with, that’s how e coli gets into the food you eat. By the way:

Someone died from eating that organic spinach. Many more were extremely ill in the hospital. I hope that answers my opponent’s question about whether I think it is healthier to eat organic food. 4

No Link Between Pesticides and Cancer

There is still no link between pesticides and cancer, and believe me, they are looking. But no matter how many studies they do, they cannot seem to find any link. The NY Times reported on a decade-long study in which 1,000 people were tested for links between DDT and Cancer. What was the result? No link, of course! 5

Now, DDT is a banned pesticide, because of its “dangers”. They can’t even link it to cancer! You want me to pay double for an avocado because of that?

Not a chance.

Closing Thoughts

  • They can’t link pesticides to cancer.

  • Besides the study my opponent provided, no other study has ever shown organic food to be any more nutritious.

  • Most governments openly say that eating organic food is only a lifestyle choice, since it provides no real health benefits.

  • Your chance of eating e coli infected food rises greatly by eating organic food.

  • Organic pesticides are just as deadly as synthetic pesticides if ingested.

  • Massive amounts of carbons are burned just to ship organic foods in place. What is environmentally friendly about that?


Socratic Questions

First Socratic Question: Do you think the person who died from the e coli outbreak considers organic food to be healthier?

Second Socratic Question: What is safe about organic pesticides?

 

Back to you, Oscitate.



posted on Nov, 20 2008 @ 02:06 AM
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I'll be invoking my 24/h extension, got a lot of my plate today, sorry!



posted on Nov, 21 2008 @ 07:36 AM
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Before I begin, I'd like to thank my opponent for his patience over my tardiness, not once has he complained.


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Formal Rebuttal


We begin by looking at a point in contention between myself and my opponent over the following statement:




No, I do not concur. As a matter of fact, they have only been able to find a gain in antioxidants in tomatoes



Interestingly my own research has led to a very different conclusion. An article by Science Daily, which dates back to the year of 2003, shows us that even then the question of antioxidants was scrutinized by scientists, and the results are quite suggestive. Even someone as ill-versed as I in matters of microbiology can understand the simple science by which antioxidants are higher in organic foods. Anti-Oxidants are a form of self defense for the plant in question, due to the application of pesticides the need for a plant to host antioxidants wanes, because it is no longer needed. But don't take my word for it.




The need for these natural safeguards decreases with the use of herbicides and pesticides in conventional agriculture. This decrease is reflected in the total amount of antioxidants the plants produce.


source: www.sciencedaily.com...

Swiftly followed by the assertion that:




"This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food,"


The conclusion of this study, published by the world's largest scientific society (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry), shows us in black and white terms that:




The levels of antioxidants in sustainably grown corn were 58.5 percent higher than conventionally grown corn. Organically and sustainably grown marionberries had approximately 50 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown berries. Sustainably and organically grown strawberries showed about 19 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown strawberries.


Which of course is in direct contrast with the bold statement made by my esteemed opponent claiming that higher level of antioxidants were found solely in tomatoes.


My opponent continues by attempting to convince us that Organic food is less healthy than synthetically grown food with phrases such as, "Organic food is more likely to carry pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, because of the type of fertilizer that organic farmers use.”. He also invokes the wisdom of highly dubious Dr Alex Avery. Allow me to educate the jury on this man, and why his "expertise" might be a conflict on interest.




The New York Times pointed out that Avery's non-profit employer has received funding from Monsanto, DowElanco and the Ag-Chem Equipment Company.[6]


source: en.wikipedia.org...(researcher)

I find that we simply cannot weigh the words of a man who relies on pesticide income to be impartial and honest with us about organic foods. Note, that the Wikipedia article also feels the need to highlight the fact that Alex Avery, has been at the center of controversy. With phrases such as:




Avery is an outspoken critic of organic food and farming and has compared their supporters to Hezbollah



Do we really want to take the man seriously? The question of organic food benefits, however, despite the words of Dr Avery, has been studied scientifically and the results do not always agree with him.



  1. Organics are grown under strict standards of purity based on the elimination of toxic agricultural chemicals.
  2. The soil that organic is grown in is healthier. This comes from the fact that the soil has nutrient value.
  3. Plants have evolved to get nutrients from organic matter.
  4. Organics are also free from insecticides, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, fertilizers and a whole host of other toxic artificial additives, flavorings, colorings and preservatives.


Not only this, but these points need to be supplemented by the well-known dangers of pesticides in humans.



  1. increased risk of leukemia
  2. cancers (lung, brain, testicular, lymphoma)
  3. increase in spontaneous abortions
  4. greater genetic damage
  5. decreased fertility
  6. liver and pancreatic damage
  7. neuropathy
  8. disturbances to immune systems (asthma/ allergies)
  9. increases in stillbirths
  10. decreased sperm counts


source: www.chebucto.ns.ca...

The balance is that the dangers posed by pesticides (not to mention the horde of other chemicals involved, each with it's own curse) make the threat of E.Coli look like a hug and a handshake.

Moving on.

Fate has a way of being laden with irony, and this is such a case. One of the greatest examples of the dangers of genetically modified crops is something my opponent should be familiar with given his name. This tragedy was the potato famine in Ireland (1845), and is an important lesson in understanding the importance of biodiversity. When, through genetically modifying crops you have an entire country whose crop DNA closely resembles each other, it takes a single pathogen to cause mass starvation, exodus and over 1 million dead. Despite the Irish case being the most renowned it remains a hueg danger for people all across the world. Protecting biodiversity, allows plants to adapt. Not only, but increasing a plant's size with water also lowers the disease fighting capabilities it has, leading to a disaster in the making. Which could possibly lead to mass starvation.

My opponent also boldly states that there is no link between pesticides and cancer. To which I supply the following evidence:




According to AFP, a French study found a significant link between high levels of common pesticides and an increase in the chance of brain cancer. The research took place in the Bordeaux region of France, which is the country's largest producer of wine. About 80 percent of pesticides here are to keep fungus from infecting grape plants in vineyards, reports AFP.





The researchers in southwestern France studied a total of 221 cases of brain cancer and brain tumors. Those 221 cases were compared with 442 healthy cases of people of similar age, health history, and backgrounds. What the researchers found was shocking.



source: www.associatedcontent.com...

I would not wish to gamble my health and longevity given the evidence at hand. I'm sure we all remember the familiar scene where the leaders of the major tobacco industry sat defiantly before a panel and testified that smoking posed no health risks. The case for the link between cancer and pesticides continues to grow, and we cannot ignore the trend.


Response to my opponent's socratic questions:





First Socratic Question: Do you think the person who died from the e coli outbreak considers organic food to be healthier?



I would like to begin by quoting the following article on the matter:




Are organic products more likely to be contaminated by E. coli?

No, there is no evidence to indicate this. All food—whether conventional or organic—is susceptible to E. coli.


Source: www.ota.com...

Given this information I can only say that there is no reason to damn organic food, but food in general. Also, I doubt a dead man has the capability to consider anything (a little joke to lighten the mood). Should my opponent be able to prove beyond any measure of a doubt that the risk of E coli is far greater in organic foods, I would nevertheless reply that the risks I mentioned above, relating to pesticides far outweigh concerns of E Coli.




Second Socratic Question: What is safe about organic pesticides?



Good question. But I don't believe my acceptance that there are risks attached to organic pesticides furthers your cause, simply because all pesticides carry risks. Also, some organic farmers use no pesticides at all, albeit a minority.



Socratic Questions:


1. Could you please backup your assertion that "Your chance of eating e coli infected food rises greatly by eating organic food. "?

2. Do you think the risks of contracting E Coli are more hazardous than contracting my Russian Roulette list?



  1. increased risk of leukemia
  2. cancers (lung, brain, testicular, lymphoma)
  3. increase in spontaneous abortions
  4. greater genetic damage
  5. decreased fertility
  6. liver and pancreatic damage
  7. neuropathy
  8. disturbances to immune systems (asthma/ allergies)
  9. increases in stillbirths
  10. decreased sperm counts


To which I we could also add BSE.





posted on Nov, 22 2008 @ 06:02 AM
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I need to invoke my 24 hour extension now also.



posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 03:16 PM
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Organic Food Fraud - Support Continued

MSN in the UK carried a story on "The great organic rip-off". It's another great synopsis of why paying for organic food is wasteful. For instance, at my grocery store, organic cheese costs over double the cost of regular cheese. A bag of shredded cheese is around $2.99, while the organic is $6.00 and up.

So, what exactly are you getting out of that? That's what MSN analyzed.

It's major point was the entire selling point of organic food is that it is healthier for the consumer and for the environment. Unfortunately, none of this has been proven conclusively. This article cites a study in which organic poultry was less nutritious and had lower amounts of omega3. 1

Meanwhile, one must consider how much extra nutrients you are getting. Suppose you can get 20% more nutrients from eating an organic peach. Why not just buy two peaches, save yourself some money, and get more nutrients?

As for the environment and treatment of the animals, the article raises great points about how things aren't as different as they are portrayed. Salmon, for instance, in the UK, can be called organic even if it is farmed. 1


Okay, an organic salmon farmer doesn’t pump his water or his fish with chemicals and drugs. Plus, the feed is closer to the natural diet of wild salmon. But the fish are still kept in cages and their waste is not recycled. In America, no salmon – even if it has been caught in the wilds of Alaska - has organic classification. 1


Even more telling is this fact: Birds who are going to lay organic eggs can be fed non-organic food for 18 weeks - and they are in the same area as non-organic hens. However, 8 weeks before, the farmer must transfer the hen to a better location. 1

Rebuttal

I'll start my rebuttal by responding to my opponents Socratic Questions.

Response to Socratic Question 1: Could you please backup your assertion that "Your chance of eating e coli infected food rises greatly by eating organic food. "?

Absolutely, and it is my pleasure to do so. It's not really that I need to provide more sources, as I have done that, but I will give a better understanding as to why people are at more risk of getting sick by eating organic food.

Organic food uses "pathogen-laden" manure to fertilize. This causes people who eat organic food to have a higher percentage of chance to catch a food-borne illness. Common problems faced are fungal growth or colonization by molds (and of course, e. coli). These growths/colonizations can produce toxins themselves, and one of these toxins is called an aflatoxin. 2

Aflatoxin: Naturally occurring toxins produced by fungi. They are among the most carcinogenic substances that we know of. 3

So, if you are worried about cancer, organic will not save you.

Response to Socratic Question 2: Do you think the risks of contracting E Coli are more hazardous than contracting my Russian Roulette list?

Does my opponent mean my proven correlation of increased chance of ingesting bacteria or fungi toxins compared to his unproven list about pesticides?

Let me start first by saying, my opponent's "Russian Roulette" list is not in anyway referencing what can happen from eating non-organic food. In fact, he is bringing in an entirely separate debate about whether or not pesticides are being used safely. While I have argued that pesticides have not been conclusively linked to cancer, it is shortsighted to argue that anything sprayed by pesticide is going to cause cancer.

Pesticides were not invented simply for convenience. Many of us who enjoy the benefits of modern science often make the same mistake as my opponent: they cannot see the positive aspects of its use, because they've always reaped the benefits of it. Meanwhile, they criticize the use of it because of the negative aspects.

Pesticides kill bugs that can transmit diseases to humans. I bet the people who died from malaria while building the Panama Canal wished they had pesticides. Pesticides kill fungus, a topic we discussed earlier, since types of fungus produce the most carcinogenic substances on the planet. They kill invasive weeds that can cause environmental damage to wildlife. Pesticides can be used in ponds to limit algae, and helping preserve life below by allowing sunlight in. Also, pesticides kill rodents, which carry some of the nastiest diseases known to man. 3

So, please, pardon me if I disagree, but I appreciate the things that pesticides do for us. I am glad we have pesticides that contribute to keeping us all disease free. I think we are all aware that we should do our best to limit ingestion of pesticides, but luckily we have companies like the EPA to do that for us.

The EPA, for isntance, has limits set on the amount of pesticide that can be in food. 4 Those levels are based off of what science has determined is safe for human consumption.

Last, and most importantly, pesticides can be used safely. Much like every other good thing that science has created, instead of harnessing the good that it produces, many advocate banning it instead of addressing the issue of proper use.

Socratic Questions

Socratic Question 1: Considering your stance on pesticides and the "Russian Roulette" of death you proposed, do you believe we should ban them across the board?

Socratic Question 2: If so, do you believe there will be a rise in bacterial and fungi infections in the US?

Socratic Question 3: Do you believe that a person cannot get enough daily nutrients and vitamins without eating organic food?

Socratic Question 4: Can you prove that people are dying left and right from pesticide use in America?

 

Thanks to my opponent for his patience. Had a family thing I had to get to, plus work got crazy on Friday and I had no time to post.



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 09:08 AM
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Second Rebuttal

My opponent invokes the following MSN article and makes three points which I wish to address swiftly before moving forward to the juicy organic core of my argument.




1.This article cites a study in which organic poultry was less nutritious and had lower amounts of omega3


It is easy to nitpick in the face of evidence. Of course, I could point out that the same article also says the following:




Organic milk, too, has been shown to contain 68% more heart-friendly omega3 fatty acids than ordinary milk by scientists at the University of Liverpool.


The article is also quite subjective, the conclusion written in the first person, with the bias and disdain of an unsatisfied customer. To find a more substantive claim regarding overall nutrient levels in organic foods we must look at the bigger picture.



There are more than 30 studies comparing the nutrient content of organic crops and those produced conventionally with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In these studies, various individual nutrients in individual crops were compared, such as zinc in organic versus conventional carrots, or Vitamin C in organic versus conventional broccoli. In the more than 300 comparisons performed in these studies, organic crops had a higher nutrient content about 40% of the time, and conventional crops had a higher nutrient content only about 15% of the time. Overall, organic crops had an equal or higher nutrient content about 85% of the time. These results suggest that, on average, organic crops have a higher nutrient content.


www.mindfully.org...
or (“Effect of Agricultural Methods on Nutritional Quality: A Comparison of Organic with Conventional Crops” by Dr. Virginia Worthington, appeared in Alternative Therapies, Volume 4, 1998, pages 58-69. )


2.


Suppose you can get 20% more nutrients from eating an organic peach. Why not just buy two peaches, save yourself some money, and get more nutrients?


There are two main ways I could react to this statement. The first being that it is wasteful. The second is that frankly, people might not feel like eating two to start with.


3.


As for the environment and treatment of the animals, the article raises great points about how things aren't as different as they are portrayed. Salmon, for instance, in the UK, can be called organic even if it is farmed.


I will answer this and more questions in my next point, which deals precisely with this issue.



The Environment

Two separate studies looked at environmental impact when using conventional and organic methods of cultivation. These were the:




  1. M.; Piorr, A.; Häring, A.M. and Dabbert, S. (2000) Environmental impacts of organic farming in Europe
  2. Hansen, Birgitte; Alrøe, H. J. & Kristensen, E. S. (January 2001). "Approaches to assess the environmental impact of organic farming with particular regard to Denmark"


Wikipedia discusses the findings on it's website dedicated to Organic Food. The findings are as follows:



  1. Organic farms do not consume or release synthetic pesticides into the environment — some of which have the potential to harm soil, water and local terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.
  2. Organic farms are better than conventional farms at sustaining diverse ecosystems, i.e., populations of plants and insects, as well as animals.
  3. When calculated either per unit area or per unit of yield, organic farms use less energy and produce less waste, e.g., waste such as packaging materials for chemicals.


The Eco-friendly nature of Organic food covers all segments of environmental concern. Protection of the environment by ensuring healthy soil, water, plants and wildlife, which are re-usable and balanced. In a time when wildlife and fauna is systematically being annihilated at an unprecedented rate, what better than the trend of Organic farming in order to sustain and ensure the survival of ecosystems throughout the world?

Energy expenditure, at a time when the world begins to feel the economic crunch, coupled with the increasing demands of third world countries make another compelling reason to endorse organic farming.

Despite these telling points, the article does not mention the worth of promoting biodiversity and fundamental plant health. Not only as previously mentioned does biodiversity prevent some forms of mass starvation, it also protects the rest of the wildlife which form the food-chain, including humans. The death of plants has a brutal effect on wildlife which spirals all the way to our plates.

Lastly, pesticides. Which seems to be another battle-scared point of contention between my opponent and I. He has accused me of:




"bringing in an entirely separate debate about whether or not pesticides are being used safely. While I have argued that pesticides have not been conclusively linked to cancer, it is shortsighted to argue that anything sprayed by pesticide is going to cause cancer."


Let me re-iterate my argument. I pointed out the "dangers" of pesticide use. Much like the point my opponent made about the "danger" of E Coli. This distinction is not a separate debate, and ties in with the topic of this debate because Organic food being healthier is a crucial realization to make and therefore justifies a fractional part in the increase of prices. All my other points will amount to the rest of the receipt. Also, I never once claimed that exposure to pesticides would necessarily lead to cancer, but i claimed it was a risk.

My opponent also seems comfortable with EPA's handling of these issues. A swift optimistic trek to EPA's website reveals an inconvenient truth.

Here are some facts quoted directly from the website:

www.epa.gov...


  1. Acute poisoning from a single or short-term exposure can result in death.
  2. Chronic impacts of long-term exposure to pesticides, including pesticide residues in food, could also result in death.
  3. Natural resources can be degraded when pesticide residues in storm water runoff enter streams or leach into groundwater.
  4. Pesticides that drift from the site of application can harm or kill non target plants, birds, fish, or other wildlife.
  5. The mishandling of pesticides in storage facilities and in mixing and loading areas can contribute to soil and water contamination.




Frankly, I do not share my opponent's optimism. Also considering there are other sources, and other studies which may add further resonance to the dangers of synthetic pesticides.

I also stand by my original "Russian Roulette list" and further back-up my list of symptoms with Wikipedia's blessing.

en.wikipedia.org...




Through these studies, organophosphate pesticides have become associated with acute health problems such as abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, as well as skin and eye problems.[19] In addition, there have been many other studies that have found pesticide exposure is associated with more severe health problems such as respiratory problems, memory disorders, dermatologic conditions,[20][21] cancer,[22] depression, neurologic deficits,[23][24] miscarriages, and birth defects.



Now allow me to predict my opponent's response. He will say, "This is a separate debate, it's not like organic food does not use any pesticides!". True, although some don't. The fundamental realization, is that by law, in order to be certified as an organic farmer, the amount and level of pesticides is severely limited. Something conventional farmers have no issues exploiting at all.

In knotting the ribbon on the environmental advantages of Organic food, allow me to add the last quote by Wikipedia regarding Pesticide residue.




A study published in 2002 showed that "Organically grown foods consistently had about one-third as many residues as conventionally grown foods."



Response to Socratic Questions:




Socratic Question 1: Considering your stance on pesticides and the "Russian Roulette" of death you proposed, do you believe we should ban them across the board?


Since this is a personal question: I do not, but I support the path that Organic farming has taken by strongly limiting their use.




Socratic Question 2: If so, do you believe there will be a rise in bacterial and fungi infections in the US?


Not applicable. However for arguments sake, the proportional rise in fungi infections would be justified be a disproportional fall in pesticide symptoms. Both conclusions are entirely speculative of course because neither have come to pass.




Socratic Question 3: Do you believe that a person cannot get enough daily nutrients and vitamins without eating organic food?


No, I believe they can. But they will have to eat more, leading to more waste.




Socratic Question 4: Can you prove that people are dying left and right from pesticide use in America?


I believe my referencing above of EPA's facts on pesticide use addressed this problem. If not that please mention it, and will go into more detail.

Socratic Questions


1. Do you believe that conventional farming is hazardous for Eco-systems?

2. Would you agree that damage to wildlife and fauna by conventional farming would lead to a domino-effect which would catapult tragedy all the way up the food chain?

In my next post: Price Mechanisms and the price justification and why it does not constitute a scam! A presto!



posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 08:44 PM
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Full Rebuttal

My opponent can deflect if needed, that's fine. I can understand why some subjects may be difficult to talk about. Organic food even sounds healthy - how could it not be right?

Where is the Beef?

But the fact is, we need pesticides. We don't need to pay twice as much for little to no gains. What has my opponent proven so far?


  • There may be some gains in nutrients in some crops. Others, however, show less nutrients.

  • Claimed that pesticides are killing us all, but has failed to prove it.

  • Claimed we need to remember the potato famine.


That's about it. My opponent may be attacking all other forms of food, but has really failed at providing any good reason to eat organic food. And remember, the food he is telling you to fear is the same food you've eaten your entire life, along with your relatives, friends, and coworkers.

Has my opponent provided any research to validate his claim that pesticides are indeed killing us all? No! And how could he! No scientist in their right mind would make that claim.

A Pesticide is a Pesticide

Also, and most importantly, do not forget that my opponent will not even defend organic pesticides! Here's the response given:


Originally posted by Oscitate
I don't believe my acceptance that there are risks attached to organic pesticides furthers your cause, simply because all pesticides carry risks. Also, some organic farmers use no pesticides at all, albeit a minority.


That's it? That's the big seller? "Well your pesticides are bad too!!?!?!" No, I will not accept that as a valid answer. If you ingest organic pesticides, they are just as lethal as synthetic ones. So, how does that make your pesticides any better than mine?

Why should we all pay double for your dangerous pesticides to avoid mine? Why do your pesticides not get the same "Russian Roulette" exaggeration from you as mine do?

Side Note

May I also point out that the source he used to prove that e. coli isn't more likely to be contracted through organic food was from this site: The Organic Trade Association

Think they might have a bias... nah.

Back to the Future

My opponent has also decided that genetically modified crops are absolutely out of the question. I wonder why:

Well for one, it's much cheaper than organic food. In fact, genetically modified crops have major advantages over regular and organic crops - and for a marginal extra cost.

What are the benefits of GM crops?



  1. Nutrients could be added to crops

  2. Resistant to insects without the use of pesticides

  3. They will use less water and be drought resistant

  4. Edible vaccinations for third world countries

  5. Tolerance to cold 1

In forward thinking countries, such as Japan and India, tests of GM crops are underway. Of course, the western world is much more hesitant, as we seem to all be afraid of any sort of change.

It is impossible to say how effective GM crops will be until testing has been done to find out the negatives. However, unlike organic crops, we know the positives of GM crops, and there are many.

Organic Farms Do What?


Originally posted by Oscitate

  1. Organic farms do not consume or release synthetic pesticides into the environment — some of which have the potential to harm soil, water and local terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.
  2. Organic farms are better than conventional farms at sustaining diverse ecosystems, i.e., populations of plants and insects, as well as animals.
  3. When calculated either per unit area or per unit of yield, organic farms use less energy and produce less waste, e.g., waste such as packaging materials for chemicals.


A. Misleading. Organic farms release organic pesticides into the environment - which we have been over and decided to be just as toxic as synthetic pesticides.

B. This diverse ecosystem is the exact reason why we all stand a higher chance of contracting some sort of disease. Keep the diverse ecosystem of bugs, rodents, and bacteria out of my food, and in the surrounding environment where they belong.

You don't have a diverse ecosystem in your kitchen too, do you?

C. Maybe, but this leads me to my next point.

My opponent said this in the last response:


Originally posted by Oscitate
True, although some don't. The fundamental realization, is that by law, in order to be certified as an organic farmer, the amount and level of pesticides is severely limited. Something conventional farmers have no issues exploiting at all.


Instead of doing away with a perfectly fine system already in place, why not just regulate it more? Force all farmers to use less chemicals, which, according to your C. point, will reduce cost.

This will lessen the amount of pesticides released, and simultaneously reduce farmer's overhead and reduce the price of the already cheaper food source. Why do we need a new system when the one in place is already fine?

Not to mention, as I already pointed out, GM crops could sufficiently lower the amount of pesticide use, perhaps even lower than these overrated organic crops.

Let Me Be Clear

I am all for reducing pesticide use and finding better methods of implementation. I am all for anything that can help our environment out. However, this idea that pesticides should not be used or that their implementation is hurting us more than helping us is ridiculous.

Pesticides have no doubt been crucial in reducing disease. Please, try to remember that as my opponent continues to pound in your head that synthetic pesticides are the devil.

In fact, here's a generous list of what synthetic pesticides have done for humanity:


Some important benefits of modern chemicals

  1. They save lives (an estimated 7 million).

  2. They increase food supplies (about 55% of the world’s potential food supply is lost to pests).

  3. They increase profits for farmers.

  4. They work faster and better than alternatives.

  5. When used properly, their health risks are very low compared to their benefits.
2


So, please, let's keep the pesticide bashing to a minimum. We are all enjoying the benefits of pesticides.

Are You Even Getting Organic?

Organic fraud is on the rise. On August 5 of this year, the USDA reported that half of the certified organic producers surveyed this year failed to meet standards - and they failed the USDA audit.

That's right, many people have been paying up to 200% more for their food, and at least half of it wasn't even "organic".3

Response to Socratic Questions

Response to Socratic Question 1: Do you believe that conventional farming is hazardous for Eco-systems?

Of course it can be. Mankind has failed to accept its role of responsibility in ecosystems and has caused massive damage. However, there are things that can be done to reduce this effect.

Farmers can less or stop tilling their fields to lessen erosion. Also, they can use crop rotation for the same goal. Farmers can use less water through GM crops. With the same GM crops, farmers can use less pesticides.

There are a multitude of things that can, should be, and have been done to help protect ecosystems in America. Doing away with the system isn't going to solve anything, it is just going to change the source.

Response to Socratic Question 2: Would you agree that damage to wildlife and fauna by conventional farming would lead to a domino-effect which would catapult tragedy all the way up the food chain?

If it were allowed to happen sure. Again, it is a problem that many industries face, and we need to enforce strict regulations to make sure that ecosystems are well cared for.

See my answer to the first question - it is basically the same.

Socratic Questions

Socratic Questions 1: Again, do you have any evidence that even responsible spraying of synthetic pesticides is lethal the community?

I want to clarify further that I am not asking for studies that show what happens if you eat pesticide. I think we are all aware that eating pesticide is bad idea. I am talking about proper spraying having more negative effects than positive.

Socratic Question 2: Can you explain how using bacteria-laden manure to fertilize crops would not raise the chance of infection from bacteria or fungi?

I would again like to clarify that I would like to see a nonpartial source this time. Iloveorganicfood.com is not a fair source to quote from.

Socratic Question 3: Given your hatred of pesticides and need for proper treatment of ecosystems: If GM crops could reduce pesticides and create crops that can survive in drought conditions, wouldn't you say it would be worth it to study them more and consider them for a valid source of food?

 


Back to you Oscitate.



posted on Nov, 25 2008 @ 09:33 AM
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Third And Final Rebuttal


I'm wasting no characters on past posts (except these) this time around, so I will attempt to answer briefly, there is much to address!




There may be some gains in nutrients in some crops. Others, however, show less nutrients.


I'd say that "some", or 85%, is a fairly significant percentage. Wouldn't you agree?




# # Claimed that pesticides are killing us all, but has failed to prove it.


Again, I highlighted the dangers of pesticide ingestion. And have provided countless sources to substantiate this, including EPA and a Wikipedia entry referencing the Department of Family and Community Medicine! As my opponent's saying goes, "I can understand why some subjects may be difficult to talk about.".




# # Claimed we need to remember the potato famine.


My opponent might wish to forget about it entirely, but it is an important example of the risk you run when you ignore genetic diversity and is an integral and valid part of this debate.

This, my opponent would have you believe is the crux of everything I have written. Yet forgets the points about biodiversity and the environment entirely (he then goes on to address this point in his third rebuttal losing all semblance of credibility).




That's it? That's the big seller? "Well your pesticides are bad too!!?!?!" No, I will not accept that as a valid answer. If you ingest organic pesticides, they are just as lethal as synthetic ones. So, how does that make your pesticides any better than mine?


I am glad that my prediction in my second rebuttal proved correct:



Now allow me to predict my opponent's response. He will say... it's not like organic food does not use any pesticides!"


However he failed to note the telling sentences proceeding this prediction:



The fundamental realization, is that by law, in order to be certified as an organic farmer, the amount and level of pesticides is severely limited.


Beyond this, the one part is not the big seller, it is the whole. It is the addition of many factors that make a big seller. In this case the big-seller is comprised of the following points as written in my opening statement:



  1. Organic Farming is less environmentally destructive than genetically engineered or conventional farming.
  2. Organic Farming is healthier.
  3. # # Conventional Farming impose additional costs on society in the form of pesticides, nutrient runoff, excessive water usage e.t.c
  4. Organic Farming promotes and preserves biodiversity.



My opponent goes on to describe the various benefits of GM crops. I found one point particularly interesting.




Resistant to insects without the use of pesticides


"Without using pesticides" is another wishful illusion our opponent would have us believe is a truth. If GM crops are resistant to insects, that one can't help but wonder why farmers are reverting to pesticide use while using GM crops!




However, a detailed survey of 481 cotton growers in China found that, although they did use fewer pesticides in the first few years of adopting GM plants, after seven years they had to use just as much pesticide as they did with conventional crops.


or alternatively:




But, by 2004, the GM cotton farmers were using just as much pesticide as their conventional counterparts and were spending far more because GM cotton seed is three times the price of conventional cotton seed.


source: www.independent.co.uk...

But along with any favorable attributes, we would be foolish to not weigh the cons. And perhaps the "hesitant western world" has its reasons after all.

While perusing my opponent's own prized source regarding the advantages of GM crops, it seems he forgot to mention what it says but a little farther down the page. And that is:



  1. Unintended harm to other organisms (Environment, again)
  2. Reduced effectiveness of pesticides (the illusion of low pesticide usage)
  3. Gene transfer to non-target species
  4. Allergenicity
  5. Unknown effects on human health (in the future)
  6. Various Economic concerns


One last response to attacks by my opponent is on his criticism of my dressing down of pesticide usage.




A. Misleading. Organic farms release organic pesticides into the environment - which we have been over and decided to be just as toxic as synthetic pesticides.


Misleading. I agreed that a limited amount of pesticides are used, these are notsynthetic however, and are natural pesticides.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Price Woes

It is no secret that organic costs more, sometimes far more. But as the title and essence of this debate questions, is it a scam? The answer is no. And the myth of money-hungry producers is easily dispelled when scrutinized.

Organic foods are made according to certain production standards!

Organic farmers require certification and their produce must meet certain standards. Because of this, the costs of production rise noticeably as quality increases. After all, you won't buy a Ferrari at the cost of a Fiat.


Organic Food is grown without using synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, artificial fertilizers, ionization processing or food additives!

Organic food by its very nature cannot match conventional farming in yield and quantity. Quality and labor are more intense and expensive. The results are a healthier food, which is grown without a high degree of contamination.

Increase in shipping costs from more centralized production in otherwise regional markets! en.wikipedia.org..." target="_blank" class="postlink">1

Lack of government subsidies!

Due to lower yields, Organic suppliers in many areas of the world (U.S included) do not qualify for subsidies.

Labor Costs

Organic foods require higher standards and more supervision. The result is an increase in production costs due to higher labor costs. But the flip side is more jobs are being created, particularly in view of the fact that the organic market is booming and will be bound to create more local jobs as the markets expand to accommodate the demand.

Everything Else

We must also factor in all points mentioned and brought to the table regarding the environment, especially in view of our critically imbalanced environmental future. Organic production is a perfect way to integrate our needs in a new world where environmental regulation is needed to ensure we all eat, and eat well.


The affirmation that Organic foods are a scam is unfounded. Higher prices are justified economically and environmentally. Benefits evident and proven. Whether you (yes, you), or my opponent (God forbid) would ever go and buy them is another choice entirely. In buying organic, you are subscribing to a higher degree of quality. And as well all know, why a hike in price is quantifiable, your health, future, and the future of our planet, are not. We are what we eat.


Answer To Socratic Questions




Socratic Questions 1: Again, do you have any evidence that even responsible spraying of synthetic pesticides is lethal the community?


Sure, here's one straight from the marketplace (as it were):



The peer-reviewed study found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from area groceries contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II.


source: seattlepi.nwsource.com...




Socratic Question 2: Can you explain how using bacteria-laden manure to fertilize crops would not raise the chance of infection from bacteria or fungi?


While pathogens such as E coli may be found in manure, John H. Kirk, DVM, MPVM a veterinarian from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California Davis Tulare claims the following in his report called "Pathogens in manure".




The numbers of pathogens is usually reduced by most storage methods used on dairies


And a host of other natural methods render organic fertilizers an excellent choice.



Socratic Question 3: Given your hatred of pesticides and need for proper treatment of ecosystems: If GM crops could reduce pesticides and create crops that can survive in drought conditions, wouldn't you say it would be worth it to study them more and consider them for a valid source of food?


I feel my opponent enjoys putting words in my mouth. I never claimed to viscerally hate pesticides, I merely outlined the dangers, which are not a question of opinion. Secondly, "if" and when GM crops can reduce pesticide use, which as I have illustrated is an illusion, would still have to overcome the burden of biodiversity. In essence, I'm favorable to study, but it does not cheapen or drown the concept of Organic food in any way. As it's own advantages will never be matched by forms of conventional farming.

// Back to you for your closing statement Mick, I added no Socratic questions because I don't think you're allowed to answer them.



posted on Nov, 25 2008 @ 10:53 AM
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Conclusion: Organics are a lifestyle choice

Would eating organic food make you feel better about yourself? Would it make you feel healthier or that you are helping the environment? By all means, if you can afford it, buy the food. There is no reason that you should not be able to buy it, or that there is anything wrong with organic farming.

What is wrong, is the attack on conventional food that we've all been eating for years. Notice my opponent's response to my Socratic question:


The peer-reviewed study found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from area groceries contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II.


But what was my question again?


Originally posted by Irish M1ck
Socratic Questions 1: Again, do you have any evidence that even responsible spraying of synthetic pesticides is lethal the community?


No where in his response to he prove anything was lethal. In fact, even the person who performed the study goes on to say this:


Lu is quick to point out that there is no certainty that the pesticides measured in this group of children would cause any adverse health outcomes.


Somehow, that conveniently got left out. So, I assume the answer is no then. No, my opponent cannot prove that pesticides are killing us all, nor do I expect that he could. If they were, we'd have all switched organics years ago.

Our Government's Stance on Organics: A Marketing Tool

Even the United States government does not believe organics are necessarily any more healthy - nor does the UK or European Union. In fact, our government says that the organic label "is a marketing tool". That's from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. 1

What else did he say?


But USDA is not making a statement about food safety, the secretary continued, saying that 'organic' is not "a value judgment about nutrition or quality."


Our government's stance on organic food is that buying organic is not distinguishing between nutrition or quality - the two are equal.

Lower Production Means Less Food

Organic crops have at least 20% less yield than conventional crops. Where does that put us? We would need to use more land, more resources, and more subsidies just to feed Americans. With the population growing exponentially and the doubling rate seeming to get smaller and smaller, American's need to be faced with the reality that we need to find the most efficient means of production for food. 2

Unless we are planning to implement birth limitations on families, similar to China's laws, then we need to face the reality that inefficient crops are not going to be acceptable.

What challenges do we face in the future?

The world's population should be at 10 billion within the next 50 years. Not only is that more mouths to feed, but less land and other resources to grow with - including water (remember those high yield, low pesticide, low water-consuming GM crops?). 3

In fact, water is a major concern. With the water tables in the middle part of the U.S., China, India, and countries across the globe dropping at jaw-dropping rates, it should be in our best interest to find the most efficient crops available.

If my opponent is so worried about ecosystems, then he should really be worried what will happen to them when water tables are sucked dry, and streams, rivers, and lakes go empty. I don't know many ecosystems that will live through that.

And while I concede that organic farming does use less water, the shear number of increased land and resources that would be needed to make up for the loss in efficiency would really cancel that statistic out.

Use less water per acre, but more acres = same result.

The Big Picture

I ask the judges to ponder on these questions for me:

  • If the current methods of farming are so unhealthy, why have there been no conclusive studies to show it?

    It's not some grand conspiracy. If something is unhealthy, people will find out, and it will become known. Look at smoking. In fact, if more Americans would eat fresh conventionally grown fruit and vegetables, there would be much less obesity and heart disease.

    We shouldn't be discussing how to grow the food, but how to get these people to eat it instead of McDonalds.

  • My opponent wants you to believe organic farming is better because of pesticides. Do you believe eating a natural pesticide is any better than eating a synthetic one? Moreover, if conventional farmers are using too much pesticide, why can't we just limit the amount they use?

    Why do we need the witch hunt over pesticides?

  • Are any of you prepared to live in a pesticide free world?

  • Are you comfortable knowing your increased chance at catching bacterial infections or eating carcinogenic food? Is it any surprise that food grown in manure would raise those odds? Or how about the lack of pesticides in some farms, that allow rodents and other disease-ridden animals to frolic in your food?

  • Are you comfortable buying a product for double the price knowing that at least half of the time, you are not getting what you paid for? Don't forget about the 50% of organic inventory that failed USDA inspection.


Summation of my argument

I want to again hit on the key points of my argument before my opponent is allowed to close.

  • Organic crops over overpriced purposely to make them seem of higher value.

  • Organic crops are priced higher than their value, and are literally not worth the gain. You will not reap any benefits worth the price spike.

  • Most of the "pros" or organic farming can be gained through GM crops, and then some. Though my opponent posted up the negatives off of my source here:


    Originally posted by Oscitate

    1. Unintended harm to other organisms (Environment, again)
    2. Reduced effectiveness of pesticides (the illusion of low pesticide usage)
    3. Gene transfer to non-target species
    4. Allergenicity
    5. Unknown effects on human health (in the future)
    6. Various Economic concerns



    He forgot to mention that those are fears, not factual consequences of GM farming. GM farming has not been widely tested as the failure organic crops have, so the positives and negatives are more theoretical than anything else.

  • With growing populations, taking a hit in production efficiency by switching to organic crops would be a costly mistake - especially when most of the gains from organic crops can be done through the more efficient GM crops.

  • Organic crops can lead to higher risks of contracting disease or cancer. In fact, they are prone to harvesting one of the most carcinogenic substances known to man: Aflatoxin

  • The U.S., U.K., and European Union all take the stance that organic food is a luxury choice, not a more healthy one.

I would like to leave you with two quotes from politicians about organic food:

"Show me the first 10,000 Americans who are prepared to starve to death and then I'll do something”. Secretary for Agriculture, Earl Butz (when asked why he doesn't do more for organic farming)

"The organic label is a marketing tool. It is something, I think, consumers want." Secretary for Agriculture, Dan Glickman

That's two U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture, and two opinions that organic food isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

 


Thanks to MS, and Oscitate for the awesome debate. You are a pro at this.



posted on Nov, 26 2008 @ 09:44 AM
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Organic food has carried human civilization. Since it's conception and use, has been one of the key causes in the celebration of the success of our species. It has adapted, via the aquiration of knowledge brought to the light by the likes of Mendel, or by the invention and understanding of synthetic materials, and the relative advantages they brought to crop yields and profits.

Despite this, throughout history and today, organic food has endured. There is a realization to make when glancing back in retrospect and looking at our future toady: that organic food is not a short term solution or a fad. Rather, the foundations upon all the wealth and prosperity that surrounds most human beings today. A long term method built on quality rather than quantity, long term survival rather than a quick fix for an expanding world or increased profits, and a harmonious bridge between ourselves and nature, rather than an exploitation of resources. An exploitation which is becoming increasingly evident and tangible to humanity.


During the course of this debate, my opponent and I have debated on equal footing the perceived benefits and drawbacks of organic food. For my part, I have shown that organic food is many ways is non-competitive with the fundamental tenants of conventional farming. It's advantages distinguishable in figures, statistics and personal experience. Organic food is certifiably healthier, both for humans and the environment. The cost? Price and short term yields. Organic farming cannot compete with the yield per acre of conventional farming. Inversely,conventional farming sees costs in the forms of health and the environment with the implicit advantage of short-term sustainably.

It is clear then when we return to the original topic of this debate, "Organic foods are a high-priced scam". I need not prove that organic food is superior, although in many ways I have demonstrated that it is. The only thing that needs to be truly understood is that organic foods are a justifiable product, and therefore not a scam in any way, shape or form. Something my opponent knows well, and agrees with himself:




Would eating organic food make you feel better about yourself? Would it make you feel healthier or that you are helping the environment? By all means, if you can afford it, buy the food. There is no reason that you should not be able to buy it, or that there is anything wrong with organic farming.


Despite my opponents drive towards labeling organic food a lifestyle, a pretense he has attempted to carry through his entire debate. He clearly endorses the consumption of organic food. His qualm here is with price, with quips such as "if you can afford it". But while I have made an issue of explaining the comparatively high prices of purchasing organic foods with layman's term economic principles. He has made no move to dispute them, and therefore I can confidently say that he is ignorant of these motivations and that his assertion is invalid. Deprived of this consideration, his thought cannot stand up to serious scrutiny. The rest of this "reflection" labels the organic foods as "feelings" rather than documented fact, and I will rely on the sagaciousness of the jury to make this important distinction. It is also important to note that not all organic prices are incomparable with conventional ones.

My opponent laments the attacks on conventional food, and forgets that while I did attack conventional farming. It was not out of spite. What I pointed out was an objective assessment that must be weighed alongside the advantages that he professed. Also noteworthy, is the fact that it has less of a bearing on the debate itself, for my objective is to justify organic food, not to bury conventional farming. Finite resources, global warming, overpopulation and other factors will lead to that end well before the death of organic farming.

The crux of my argument has been multi-faceted and coherent. Informing the jury of deflection and misleading information on behalf of my well-intentioned opponent, and to uphold the promise set forth in my opening statement.


# Organic Farming is less environmentally destructive than genetically engineered or conventional farming.

# Organic Farming is healthier.

# Conventional Farming impose additional costs on society in the form of pesticides, nutrient runoff, excessive water usage e.t.c

# Organic Farming promotes and preserves biodiversity.


I believe I have been effective in making these points. And if only one of them proves correct in the eye of the beholder, it is enough to justify then continued existence and rapidly escalating demand of organic goods.

Organic food is not a scam.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My thanks to Irish for a highly enjoyable debate, whatever the income. I found myself laughing at some of our to-and-fros, well past my time at the computer. As always thanks also to MS, the jury and the readers for making the sweat and tears entirely justified whatever way the wind blows.




posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 10:26 AM
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Congratulations to both Fighters.

Osciatate wins this one by split decision. The Judges comments:




Excellent debate from both sides! Both sides were researched extremely well and a lot of interesting information was introduced into this debate.

Oscitate's point about anti-oxidants being higher in organic foods was a strength to his case. Mick's argument that only studies regarding tomatoes showed benefits was a good blow until Oscitate refuted that by showing studies with positive in other foods. It was also interesting when Oscitate connected one of Mick's sources to the chemical industry to reveal possible bias.

Excellent rebuttal by Oscitate concerning the connection of pesticides to cancer as well as pointing out the lack of unnecessary additives to organic foods.

Mick then fired back, very well, by showing that organic poultry contained less Omega 3 fatty acids then process poultry. His point about salmon was also interesting regarding the organic but farmed aspect.

Mick then counters the lack of additives to organic food directly to pathogens found within the soil in an effort to point out it's not as pure or safe as we may believe. Great job. I loved how he also cited sources and reasons why pesticides have benefits as well to prevent disease brought by insects and rodents.

Oscitate returned by showing the eco-friendly nature of organic food production. He also addressed more important dangers of pesticides. Well done. Mick then again argues the necessity of pesticides once again and points out the fact the studies still show differing results of organic and enhanced foods however Oscitate points out the impressive statistics of 85%. Due to the back and forth where both sides defended their position wonderfully, they almost ultimately tied on this point but Oscitate came out with a slight advantage in my opinion.

Oscitate then made some excellent points regarding labor costs and government subsidiaries that affect the price of organic foods. This helped negate the scam claim. Mick makes a wonderful counter point about how this also results in less production, which obviously would be of importance.

In conclusion, both sides built wonderful cases. While reading the debate, every post by both debaters made me change my mind as to who the victor would be. However, in the end, I have to go with Oscitate as the winner.



Irish M1ck vs Oscitate: An Apple By Any Other Name Would Taste Just As Sweet (IM vs Os - for the sake of expediency, I will refer to both foghters as "he" my apologies for any gender confusion)

A good debate between 2 good fighters on a subject that I have researched indepth myself.

IM made a strong opening and seemed to set the ground for the debate, especially with his point about 70% of UK organics coming in from abroad.
Unfortunately he failed to capitalise on this and instead became bogged down in a relevant but harmfull (to his side) sidepoint about the various dangers of pesticides and fertilizers.
That said, IM was able to assert himself on the debate, but without ever really gaining control as his opponent neatly sidestepped his rather obvious traps.
The debate bogged down somewhat in the middle and both fighters were guilty of "tit for tat" debating which did nothing to further either cause.
That aside, some good points and good sources were made by IM, but he seemed content to use them as one off points and not pursue the ones which would have rendered OS's arguments less effective.
A strong opening and closing with some good points made in the middle, and strong use of rhetoric throughout.

OS countered IM's opening with strong staements of his own, but never really addressed the main points made by IM.
He was able to counter his opponents arguments, but again was never able to take control of the debate and lead it in exactly the direction he waned it to go.
There were some good sources, but OS failed to fully use them to point out the flaws in IM's argument, and this showed in the fact that both fighters got bogged down somewhat during what should have been a crucial part of the debate.
I found that OS's use of rhetoric was not as strong as IM's, although he made a very sound closing statement.

Overall, neither fighter fully convinced me of their side of the debate, neither fighter was able to assert control, and neither fighter was fully proactive, instead both were rather reactive, leading to something of a stalemate.

Having said that, it is a tribute to both fighters that they didn't allow their opponents to control the flow of the debate, and both showed some good debating skills.

As sources seemed equal and neither fighter was able to take control, I had to decide who made the best use of rhetoric in attempting to unsettle the other, and on this occasion the decision must go to Irish M1ck by a narrow margin.




Challenge Match: Irish M1ck vs Oscitate: An Apple By Any Other Name Would Taste Just As Sweet

My initial reaction upon beginning to read the debate was disappointment. I saw far too much source material in the openings. I yearn for the day when debates were composed of opinion and personal thoughts bringing a topic to a logical conclusion.

But I digress

Irish M1ck lost points in the opening due to my statement above and the fact that he had almost no personal observations in the opening at all.

Oscitate did place at least some emphasis on his opinion in the opening and therefore gained an early lead.
Oscitate continues to gain points with succinct evaluation of source material and turning it to his advantage as well as continuing to emphasis his research over the outsourced material.

Irish M1ck rebounds somewhat about midway through by asserting his thoughts and carrying his source material into the area of personal research.
Irish M1ck was able to counter Oscitate’s pesticide argument quite nicely.

Overall:

Irish M1ck had the more difficult side to argue. That being said, I would like to have seen him concentrate more on the “Price” angle and less time defending pesticides and other more traditional growing techniques. Reading Irish M1ck’s debate I had to keep referencing the title to be sure I had not misread it.

I give the win to Oscitate by a fairly large margin. Due in part to sticking to the debate topic, although Oscitate did wander some, just not as much as Irish M1ck. Also Oscitate managed to control most of the debate and answered the Socratic Questions with ease.

Oscitate gets the win



posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 10:45 AM
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Congratulations Oscitate - well fought! - and hooray for Organic foods!

NOW does anybody wanna buy some organic free range eggs for $3 a dozen??




posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 11:42 AM
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Wow, the break down was as varied as our debate itself. Impressed -- not impressed, Oscitate wins-- Mick wins. I myself had no idea where this was going and so I'm very happy with the outcome.

A well done to M1ck who had me on many occasions, and I had a good time with this one, and learned a lot yet again.


We'll meet again, no doubt.



posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 11:57 AM
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I don't think I want to even hear the term organic for the next for decades



posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 05:35 PM
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reply to post by Oscitate
 


Congrats on the win.


*Edit to add:

Not surprised at the outcome. Oscitate did a great job to keep me on the defensive, and I never really created much of an offense. That was clearly my downfall.

[edit on 5-12-2008 by Irish M1ck]



posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 09:57 PM
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Oh, and of course, sorry to the judge who felt we used to many sources. My first post was most annoying to you I am sure, and I probably wouldn't want to read it either.

I just hate openings. I never really put too much thought into them. I try to keep them brief and concise, especially if I am the lead poster.

So, apologies for that. But, I wouldn't say I over-sourced for the rest of the debate. In fact, I rarely again quoted from an external source after the original, nor did my opponent.

It was a good debate, and Oscitate did a great job.






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