natural

Like nuclear power, whale hunting and the use of preservatives before it, genetic modification has become a cause célèbre among the self-styled ecoscenti who care oh-so much about how far humanity has strayed from what’s “natural.”

But what is natural? It’s a slippery term to fully define, and one that has many meanings for many people.

Applied to animal agriculture, much of what constitutes modern production science is deemed “unnatural” by critics. Applied elsewhere, however, the tolerance level seems far broader.

Take seedless fruit, for instance. As far as Mother Nature’s concerned, that phrase is an oxymoron. The sole reason plants develop fruit is to propagate their seeds. The nutritional value of the fruit is merely a come-on to get animals to do the plant’s reproductive work for them.

But the very same “enlightened” folks who condemn GMOs have no problem with seedless fruit. In fact, seedless watermelons shouldn’t bother anyone, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Here’s their explanation: “A seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid created by crossing male pollen (with 22 chromosomes) for watermelon with a female watermelon flower (with 44 chromosomes). When the seeded fruit matures, the small white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds. This is similar to a mule, produced by crossing a horse with a donkey.” –