Lab grown illusions
A logical explanation why lab grown food and supplements will always be fundamentally inferior to the real thing
Lab grown meat has recently become popular as an alternative to avoid the slaughter of animals for food consumption. Environmentalists who believe that animal husbandry is the primary cause of the damage to our environment, believe that lab grown meat is an alternative. Let us take a moment to applaud these people for at the very least understanding that human beings cannot derive proper nutrition from plants alone. Moving on.
What follows is a brief philosophical exegesis about the fundamental limitation of science that undercuts not only lab grown meat, but any technological attempt at supplanting natural processes.
Data without frameworks is useless
When a sound epistemic framework is used to understand a concept, it is only then that data can make any kind of sense. Modern academics tend to lack this epistemic framework and instead become obsessed with “data”. This is why fashionable instagram scientists like Rhonda Patrick etc are constantly confused. They find lots of data but have no idea how it fits in with any kind of model of reality so they can never properly use it.
Without a hierarchy of information in an epistemic framework, every new piece of data is on an equal level with everything that came before. As such they can never contextualize data in a framework for it to be properly used to understand the world. No knowledge can be built without the scaffolding of an epistemic framework. Let us not be confused along with these over educated troglodytes.
Foremost, let us understand that science and technology are not synonymous. Science is a method of asking and answering questions about the material world. Technology is a machine, that makes a task easier for man to complete. The production of technology can use science, but it does not need it. In fact, the great majority of human technology was created before the the scientific method was codified. No one did a scientific experiment to develop the wheel or the bicycle, for example.
Technology works best when it is physical
Technology always works best when it is not trying to imitate anything natural. It is merely building upon human nature to expedite some process. My favourite technology is the fountain pen. It is elegant, beautiful, and is an extension of the hand and the mind. Analog technology extends human nature, digital technology limits it. Analog technology exists in the physical world, whereas digital technology disappears, and exists in another illusory realm.
A word typed into a screen can disappear in a moment. A word written in ink on paper, or impressed into paper, has physical qualities. We are physical beings and therefore we connect to physical things. Physical things can hold on to information for us whereas things in the illusory digital realm require us to do the work to always remember where they are. It is made of capricious false light. As such, analog technology is more satisfying to us and less taxxing on our imagination so that we can use it for other things.
Science is fundamentally limited by our ability to observe the material world
Science can only ask and answer questions about the material world. Technology can help us to enhance our senses so that we can glean even more information about the material world than otherwise possible. A microscope can help us see smaller and smaller things. A stethoscope can help us hear what we otherwise could not about blood flowing in the heart and air filling the lungs. There are thousands of technological tools but they all fundamentally work to enhance and extend the senses.
Previously, we could not detect many components of breast milk for example because we simply didn’t have the tools to even observe them. This means that we didn’t even know what we didn’t know. As a result, when baby formula attempted to replicate breast milk, it failed miserably and resulted in the malnourishment of millions of children. Baby formula makers did not have the technology to understand that breast milk is not merely sugars and fats, but also contains factors that build the child’s immunity and alters its components with the stages of development. They also did not understand that the very motion of breastfeeding supports proper face and jaw development. They replicated only those aspects of breast milk that they understood and as their understanding was incomplete, so their replicas were inferior and dangerous.
In order to perfectly replicate nature, we must be able to perfectly observe it. We are incapable of perfect observation, as evidenced by the continued advances in our ability to sense our material world alone. There is more that we find that we did not even know to look for. As such, whenever we create “technology” that replicates nature, it is always necessarily an inferior reproduction of it. It can never be perfect because our observation of nature is never perfect. The car works well because it is not a replica of a horse. The pen works well because it is not a replica of the mind. So long as we do not expect from a car what we do from a horse, or from a pen what we want from a mind, we can use this technology well.
Lab Grown Meat is necessarily inferior
Lab grown meat, therefore, is necessarily worse than real meat because it will contain the fundamental limitation that we cannot ever know perfectly what makes real meat so nutritious and perfect for us in the first place. There are proteins we cannot yet detect, ways that proteins work together that we don’t yet fully understand. There are a million elements of nature that we don’t even know that we can measure yet. Before the invention of the microscope, the idea of the cell was not even present in human knowledge.
There is a man who lost his keys, so he searches under the lamp-post and his friend asks him, “did you lose your keys here?” The man responds, “I don’t know but this is where the light is so I’m searching here”. This parable explains the fundamental limitation of science. Without this ability to observe perfectly, we cannot hope to replicate the nutrition and value of real meat.
It is often assumed that red meat cures anemia because it contains iron. This is untrue. People who think they are anemic because of a blood test that shows low iron, usually have a lot, even excess, iron trapped in their tissues that they just cannot use. This shows as low iron in their blood test and their doctors end up giving them yet more iron in supplements that their body cannot use. This often creates worse iron toxicity problems. The supplement was made based on an incomplete understanding of nature. The red meat, however, helps. Why is that?
The real reason people have symptoms of anemia is that they have low copper and copper is required to mobilize and use iron in the body. When people eat red meat, it contains not merely iron, but also copper in the correct ratio and shape. As a result, it helps alleviate symptoms of the “anemia” whereas the supplement did not. This is because the supplement was made as an attempt to mimic the red meat without understanding it fully. We can never completely understand nature. There will always be something missing in our observations. This is why believing we can mimic or replace or even improve upon it is a dangerous game.
Factory Food, Factory People
Anything grown in a lab will necessitate a factory. It is obvious to all but the cult member environmentalists that factories produce the most pollution in the world, and not cow flatulence. Creating more factories means that more pollution will occur, negating the environmental argument for lab grown meat. Perhaps it can feed more people, it is true, who cannot afford meat or access it. However, doing so prevents us from solving the greater problem of why it is, that in the twenty first century, fewer people have access to real food than feudal peasants in the thirteenth century living in mud huts.
The production of food needs to be put into the hands of more people and decentralized rather than centralized. Whenever something is centralized, it is more corrupted because there are fewer people who can monitor the process. When fewer people monitor a process, they can more easily get away with cutting corners. This temptation to the lowest aspects of human nature is an aspect of a bad system.
Technology that attempts to mimic nature will necessarily be inferior to it because it will always be able to replicate nature only as well as it can observe it. As such, we must reject any claims that things like lab-grown meat, food replacements, or any other replacements of nature, are superior or even equal alternatives to the natural version.