|Pause en route|
It might be said in Mr. Raymond’s defense that one is not obliged to accept an unwanted or counterintuitive conclusion just because one cannot immediately find a logical or factual error in the argument leading to it. One might legitimately say, “I need to think about that.”
[T]o refute an argument one must find either a factual error in the premises or a logical error in the reasoning. If after an extended time no such error can be found, then, contrary to Mr. Raymond’s view, one must bow to the conclusion of the argument. If the reader is annoyed with me at this point for unnecessarily reminding everyone about the elementary rules of argumentation, then I am glad. But experience has taught me that many people cannot distinguish an argument from a fulmination and are equally convinced (or unmoved) by either, depending only on whether or not the conclusion fits their established mind set.
The drive to increase agricultural productivity leads to the replacement of low-yield species by newly developed high-yield species, which results in greater homogeneity of crops, that is, in a reduction in the diversity of the genetic stock and consequently a greater vulnerability to future pest and disease mutants. The increased vulnerability of the monoculture calls for even more protection by pesticides. [GMO seeds modified to be resistant to pesticides have only accelerated this vicious upward spiral.] In addition, more inputs of fertilizer and fresh-water irrigation are required by “green revolutions,” with resulting problems of water pollution and shortage.