Science 101 | natural vs artificial chemicals | part 4

Science 101 | natural vs artificial chemicals | part 4

“Natural” chemicals are not automatically good and “artificial” chemicals are not automatically bad.

I often encounter people who will claim to agree with everything that I have said thus far, but they still insist that “artificial” chemicals (a.k.a. chemicals that simply are not found in nature) are bad for you and shouldn’t be consumed, injected, etc.

There are several critical problems here. First, remember again that essentially all chemicals are dangerous at high enough doses and safe at a low enough dose. That is just as true for artificial chemicals as it is for natural chemicals.

Second, this claim is nothing more than an appeal to nature fallacy. Nature is full of chemicals such as cyanide and arsenic that are dangerous at anything but a very low dose, so there is no reason to think that the “naturalness” of a chemical is an indicator of its healthiness.

It’s all in the arrangement

Further, remember that chemicals are nothing more than arrangements of elements.

There is absolutely no reason to think that nature has produced all of the best arrangements or that we are incapable of making an arrangement that is safe or even better than what nature produced.

I constantly hear people say that we cannot improve on nature, but that is an utterly ludicrous and unsupportable claim, and I would challenge anyone to give me a logical syllogism that backs it up.

Really think about this for a minute, if you are of the opinion that artificial chemicals should be avoided, try to defend that position. Ask yourself why you think that. Can you give me any reason to think that they are bad other than simply that they aren’t natural (which we have just established is a fallacy)?

Part 4 of the  wonderful article5 simple chemistry facts that everyone should understand before talking about science by The Logic of Science website – posted on May 27, 2015. Find the original article here.

Content and images courtesy of The Science of Logic website.

Back to blog