Berkeley Philosophy Reading Group Message Board › New Meetup: Tinkering with Nature talking while walking in nature

New Meetup: Tinkering with Nature talking while walking in nature

Deborah B.
Berkeley, CA
Announcing a new Meetup for Berkeley Philosophy Reading Group!

What: Tinkering with Nature talking while walking in nature
When: (A date and time has not been chosen yet.)

Price: $2.00 per person

Where: (A location has not been chosen yet.)

(Please suggest dates)

Concepts of nature and the 'natural' order of things form a central anchor in public discourse about human, animal and plant biotechnology. The very complexity of the word 'nature' contributes to its rhetorical power. As a powerful ideological anchor, 'nature' is often used to appeal to what is ontological, God-given, the proper order of things, untainted by humans, primordial. Appeals to nature or to natural qualities invoke genuine, eternal and non-negotiable qualities, with the result that disagreements about the proper treatment of nature tend to be heated and tinged with moral indignation.

With the elevation of 'nature' comes the denigration of whatever is seen as not natural, which, by implication, is regarded as questionable, immoral, unethical, dangerous, or simply 'unknown'. Nature thus elevated is "pure" and the non-natural a form of pollution. In this view, mixing of the natural and the unnatural upsets the harmony and balance in nature, opening up a Pandora's Box of runaway reactions.

The unnatural is generally associated with human artifice and imposition. Materials and substances fabricated by humans are often considered unnatural and potentially harmful to the natural order, as with the use of manmade fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture. For some, tinkering with nature through genetic engineering is especially reprehensible and if allowed unchecked would unleash a plague of ills upon humanity and the planet.

The risk of genetic engineering is often presented not in terms of specific predictable consequences but as a lack of knowledge of consequences: potentially disastrous unknown unknowns. For these critics of genetic engineering, t he precautionary principle holds: in the absence of scientific consensus that an action is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. Those more open to genetic engineering may ask: which scientists? And how much agreement constitutes a "consensus"?

So let's talk about how we view nature and tinkering with nature. What does the word 'nature' evoke for us? What are the implications of our view of nature?


Ignorance, the Precautionary Principle, and Sustainability­

Tinkering with Nature by Anders Hansen­

Environmental Ethics­

The article "Faking Nature" is linked here:
The Nature of Artifacts­

Check it out!
user 5618101
Group Organizer
Berkeley, CA
Post #: 135
I put the link to "Faking Nature" on the event page.

If we click on your link under "The Nature of Artifacts", we get an article entitled "The Big Lie".
"The Nature of Artifacts" is here:
It's a response to "The Big Lie" and "Faking Nature". Should it be added to the reading list? It's 20 pages long.
Cas W.
user 12893345
Cooma, AU
Post #: 3

As always humans go into denial about what they do?

Sewerage outfall can be seen from the air , yet we say it has no effect.

Farmers will tell you they have made mistakes that ruined the land, some farmers.

Yet we deny we are destroying the planet.
We pillory any scientist who speaks out.

We fail to grasp the most basic concepts,we are what we eat and the consequences of our actions .
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