The purpose of the argument in “Organic Fuel for a Growing Disaster” is to convince people that organic food is not any better than regular food, and that obsession with organic food will only lead to a food disaster. The author of the argument uses strong language that is almost emotional, and this works, to some extent, against the argument. When the author uses such strong words as “stupid” to describe organic products, then the reader gets the notion that he does not consider the issue from a neutral point, but rather from a sentimental stand.
The argument in has got five strong points. The author attacks organic food from five different angles. The first three premises of the argument counter the belief that organic food is better, healthier and tastier than regular food, while the fourth and the fifth tackle the morality of organic farming in the face of an impending food crisis.
The author reaffirms that research has proven that people believe that organic food is not only better, but also healthier than conventionally grown food. In his counterargument, he says that this belief has been engendered by the numerous advertising efforts, but there is really no scientific proof that organic food is better or healthier than regular food. The author makes an important point when he says that even entire chain stores such as Trader’s Joe and Whole Foods have dedicated themselves to organic foods. Actually, this is a reaffirmation of the fact that people are making huge business out of the organic food craze, and yet there is no research that shows that organic foods are any better than regular foods. Therefore, according to the author, the myth that organic food is better than regular food is just a marketing strategy that has been used by the producers and vendors of organic food to make it sell.
The author attempts to make the point that organic food does not taste any better than regular food, and that the preference in taste that people have developed towards organic food is mostly due to the publicity it has received. He recounts a piece of research where two organic food items were named differently; one organic, and the other inorganic. In results that the author sarcastically states as amusingly unsurprising, most of the respondents said that the organic food tasted better. Therefore, this study concludes that people do not really know the difference in taste between organic and inorganic food. The author actually refers to this as an idiocy that is spreading from weekend markets to the supermarket stores. Moreover, this strong sentiment shows that the author is extremely vexed by the fact that people are embracing organic food more and yet there is no scientific evidence to support the fact that organic food is better than conventionally grown food.
The author also argues that the world population is growing fast and it needs a sustainable source of food to feed its rapidly growing population. He claims that projections have shown that the world’s population could hit nine billion by 2050, and that food production would need to increase by 70% if that population were to be adequately fed. In this light, he says that current food production methods would need to be improved so as to increase productivity. He goes on to note that organic food produces about 20% less yield than conventional farming. His argument, therefore, is that organic food will never be able to meet the food demands of the world. The author’s argument is, in this light, persuasive not only because he uses facts and figures, but he also discounts the ability of organic food to meet the world’s growing demand for food if it cannot supply adequate food even in the present.
The next argument that is put forth by the author is that organic food is nothing more than a middle class craze with no scientific proof that it is better than regular food. This is a counter consideration from which the author seeks to elicit sharp reactions. The author begins by giving the scientific meaning of organic, which really loads the argument at this point. The author states that organic really refers to carbon-containing molecules. However, the fact that he states that the term is stupid exposes the fact that the author is sentimental about this topic.
The author next goes to explain how the term organic was adopted to the farming movement by Lord Northbourne. He employs a homiemen argument when he calls him a proto-hippie, showing his disapproval of the man. This background information is important in developing his argument and making it more persuasive since it gives weight to the fact that the term organic is corrupted. To make his case, the author goes forward to say that organic food has now become as a mainstream, and that people are willing to pay more for the food, because they believe that it is better than regular food. However, he goes on to say that organic food is too expensive, because it utilizes unproductive farming practices, and the yield is much lower than that of conventional farming. Except for his use of strong words and sentimental language, the reader should find this argument very persuasive, because of the convincing, stepwise approach that the author has used to attack the legitimacy of the term “organic”. In essence, all that he says is that organic food has caused an unnecessary fuss among the middle class, because of the unsupported belief that it is better than conventionally grown food.
Finally, the author tackles the issue of how moral it is to proceed with organic farming as all signs point towards a shortage of food. The author uses an appeal to the majority to drive his point home. First, he gives the statistics, pointing out that the world’s population is bound to increase to about nine billion by 2050, and according to projections, food production would have to increase by 70% in order to meet the needs of the world. In this light, it would be immoral to promote farming methods that actually decrease food production by as much as twenty percent. He goes further to say that the FAO states that climate change would affect food production adversely. Therefore, food production would not only have to increase to meet the growing demand, it would also have to offset the poor yields that would result from the harsh climate. He says that it would be in the interest of “social justice” to see that food production increase to avoid people going with hungry bellies.
He develops this point by saying that organic farmers should be slapped with disincentives and penalties for practicing organic farming rather than being encouraged to continue by giving them tax breaks. Furthermore, this gives a hint of how vexed the author is with the issue of organic farming. Whenever the author uses such sentimental language and displays how strongly he feels about the subject, the reader is bound to judge him harshly. The author concludes by reiterating that organic food is just middle-class affection and that the flavor of the food always seems better just because it contains the label “organic”. He says that as people persist with this “absurd” affection, they do so at the expense of the starving people in the developing world.
The author pretty much accomplishes his mission of convincing people that organic food is not only a bad choice, but it is also irresponsible. Author uses his sentimentality in the presentations while giving facts and details about why he thinks that organic food is not a better choice than conventionally grown food. He satisfies the reader’s curiosity, and manages to gain the sympathy of readers who have a sense of social justice.