Science Bitches!

Apparently an article by the name of 8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries has been a bit of a sensation online lately, warning people about all the evil toxic substances being put into the food supply by evil toxic people for evil toxic reasons. Happily someone who has a basic (actually much, much more than basic, but basic is all that’s actually needed in this case) knowledge of chemistry and the initiative to actually look at the research has stepped forward and written a counter-article that completely torpedoes the original fear-mongering piece of trash.

You should really go and read it yourself, but the basic conclusion is something that I’ve thought for years – if the population at large had even a basic understanding of science, there would be a whole lot less bullshit in the world.

Some important points…

  • Elements change their properties and behaviour when combined into molecules with other elements. Just because an element is toxic, doesn’t mean a molecule containing it is toxic.
  • There is no difference between “natural” chemicals and “manmade” chemicals – there’s just chemicals. Chemicals don’t have any kind of memory of where or how they were made and don’t inherit any intrinsic “natural” or “unnatural” quality from their point of origin.
  • All matter, everything you can touch, taste and eat is made of chemicals. The only thing that is “chemical free” is empty space.
  • Nature produces all manner of dangerous, toxic, horrible substances that will really mess up your day. Science produces all kinds of useful, harmless, beneficial substances that you use without thinking about every single day.
  • Poison is only poison above a certain dose. Below that dose it doesn’t hurt you at all.

If everyone could understand these very basic facts the world would be a much better place.