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2014-08-11    来源:财富网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Recently, the Web site Natural News got itself into a bit of a kerfuffle after its controversial owner and editor, Mike Adams, suggested that people who defend genetically modified crops are “collaborators” with Monsanto, and comparing them to collaborators with the Nazi regime.
最近,天然新闻网(Natural News)招惹上了一场不大不小的麻烦,起因在于该网站颇具争议的所有人兼编辑迈克•亚当斯认为,那些捍卫转基因作物的人与孟山都农业生化公司(Monsanto)是“一丘之貉”,而且将他们比作是纳粹政权的帮凶。

Among the reactions were expressions of puzzlement over the popularity of Natural News, which traffics in conspiracy theories and which never met a quack health remedy it didn’t like. The site draws 7 million unique visitors per month. Its articles — whether about the sinister plot behind the fluoridation of water supplies or about the sun’s cancer-curing properties — are widely shared on social media. The site has 1.2 million Facebook likes.

Part of its popularity can no doubt be attributed to the fact that people everywhere are looking for easy answers to vexing problems. But another part can be attributed to the site’s title: “Natural News” just sounds so attractive. “Nature” is good, right? Many people believe that “”natural” things are inherently better than “artificial” or “man-made” things. This helps to explain trends like the Paleo diet and barefoot running shoes, which rely on the notion that if we just do things the way humans did them before all this complicated technology modernity came along, we’d be much better off.
其广受欢迎的部分原因完全在于这样一个事实——世界各地的人们都在给令人懊恼的问题寻找简单的答案。但是还有一部分应归功于该网站的名称:“天然新闻网”,多么吸引人啊。“天然的”就是好的,不是吗?很多人认为“天然的”东西本身就比“人工的”或“人造的”东西好。这也有助于解释原始人饮食法 ( Paleo diet )和赤足跑鞋这类流行趋势。它们的依据在于,只要人类遵循所有现代高科技出现之前的生活方式,那么我们就会更健康。

It’s all a crock, of course. The Ebola virus is natural. The artificial heart is human-made — as are, it should be noted, most of our major food crops, if you count hybridization and selective breeding as being the work of humans, which they are. But there’s a deep irony at the center of this: the food industry that is so reviled by the likes of Natural News and its fans uses the term “natural” in precisely the same way — to hoodwink people into thinking that something labeled as “natural” is by definition superior to something that isn’t.

According to data from Nielsen, the food industry sells about $41 billion worth of products a year marketed as “natural.” The industry’s use of that term is “the most egregious example” of nonsense labeling, the Washington Post’s Roberto A. Ferdmanrecently wrote.
尼尔森公司(Nielsen)的数据显示,食品行业每年所销售的“天然”产品价值410亿美元。《华盛顿邮报》(TheWashington Post)记者罗伯托•费德曼最近写道,食品行业对这一术语的使用可谓是乱贴标签“最恶名昭彰的例子”。

The Food and Drug Administration might occasionally object to the term, but only in flagrant cases, as when a food product contains added colors or synthetic flavorings. The FDA hesitates because from “a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth.” In other words, unless you’re bent over in a farm field gnawing spinach like a prairie dog, you’re probably eating food that has been processed to some degree. At what point is it no longer “natural?” It’s impossible to say, which is why the FDA notes that it “has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives.”

Both the food industry and its most rabid critics leverage the “Appeal to Nature” logical fallacy, or “Argumentum ad Naturam,” to their own benefit. “Many people adopt this as a default belief,” writes Bo Bennett at his site Logically Fallacious, where, logically enough, he catalogs logical fallacies. If “natural” meant anything at all, science would evaluate things based on their “naturalness.” But of course it doesn’t, both because there’s no workable definition for “natural,” and because even if “naturalness” could be measured, it wouldn’t tell us anything meaningful. “There are many natural things that are better than unnatural,” Bennett writes, “but they must be evaluated based on other criteria besides the ‘naturalness,'” He advises readers: “Keep in mind that Mother Nature is the kind of mother who wouldn’t hesitate to throw you in a dumpster and leave you there to die.”
食品行业及其最为偏执的批评者纷纷利用“诉诸于天然”这一逻辑谬论来满足自身利益。波•贝内特(Bo Bennett)在他的网站“逻辑谬误”(Logically Fallacious)中写道,“很多人将其作为默认的信仰”。他在这一极具逻辑性的网站中逐一列举了各种逻辑谬误。如果“天然的”真的存在,那么科学可以根据其“天然度”来进行评估。当然,这是不存在的,原因有两点:首先,“天然”一词没有经得起推敲的定义;再者,即便“天然度”可以衡量,其结果对我们来说也没有什么意义。贝内特写道,“有很多天然的事物要好于非天然的事物,然而在评价时,我们在使用‘天然度’的同时还应使用其他的标准。”他告诫读者们:“记住,大自然有时也会毫不犹豫地将你扔进垃圾桶,然后让你自生自灭。”

Thomas Hobbes knew this. The 17th century British philosopher, who championed the social contract, the need for institutions and social order, and the general notion of progress, famously described mankind in its “state of nature,” before humans started living in organized societies. At that time, he wrote, life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

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