“Life Itself Would Be Impossible Without Chemicals!” (Yes, but…)


You know, I decry scientific illiteracy as much as the next critical thinker, but I have to part company with certain skeptics when they engage in straw man fallacy tactics by dismissing concerns over “chemicals” with unhelpful generalities about how “life itself would be impossible without chemicals” and snipe condescendingly at such unfortunate ignorance as some people getting alarmed when told that there’s a chemical called “di-hydrogen oxide” that’s in everything (that’s just an awkward name for water: two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom), a kind of joke that was dreamed up to illustrate scientific illiteracy. Yes, it’s true that all sorts of perfectly fine naturally-occurring compounds that are part of our biology and exist throughout the biosphere have chemical names that could sound ominous to the unschooled. It’s even true that some manmade ones are perfectly fine, too, as well that some natural ones are dangerous.
But despite…

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About kaimuse

Kai Matthews is a musician, composer, and philosopher-in-training (with degrees in both fields, to the extent that that means anything.) As a 12th-generation American and 8th-generation Canadian, but born as an ex-pat in Germany and feeling more European in outlook, he feels at once both a deep rootedness in and a critical reserve toward his culture. He feels most comfortable being a little out of his milieu - that is, being uncomfortable and challenged. He's a cisgendered hetero white boy who's lived in a gay neighbourhood in San Francisco, and is a middle-class WASPy anglophone living in a poor, multi-cultural immigrant 'hood where most people's first language is neither French nor English. He was a rock and roll hippie getting a classical composition degree at a jazz school, and is a perpetual beginner student of North Indian classical music, in which his Western training is less help than hindrance. In philosophy, he naïvely wonders why the perpetually feuding analytic and Continental traditions can't just get along...

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