What about limestone? We are told that good old ground limestone rock is wonderful stuff-a natural "fertilizer." If, however, we expose that same rock to the action of fire, the product is a vile chemical which must not be allowed to touch soil. Does this add to the logic of the organocultist argument?
Just about as unconvincing are the arguments advanced in favor of phosphate rock against superphospate made from this same rock. Superphosphate, they insist, is horrid stuff. It has been treated with sulfuric acid to make it more available to plants, but this treatment is supposed to make it a "poison." But how in the name of logic does the organocultist think phosphate rock becomes available if not through dissolution by natural sulfuric acid in the soil? If not dissolved in this way it can remain unchanged for thousands of years, completely unavailable to plants.
SCIENTIFIC REBUTTAL IS DIFFICULT
Unfortunately, facts never seem to bother many organocultists. Defeat one argument with scientific evidence and they will bob up with half a dozen more, each requiring the equivalent of a master's thesis to refute fully. In trying to answer some of these arguments, I often feel like Hercules fighting the Hydra. Cut off one head and two more grow in its place. Or as one scientist phrased it, "I feel as though I am punching a bag of wind that merely distends in another direction every time I jab it."
The honest scientist is at a disadvantage in answering vague arguments. To give a satisfactory answer would involve giving elementary courses in organic and inorganic chemistry, colloidal chemistry, the theory of pH and ionic exchange, bacteriology, entomology, nematodology, plant physiology, and half a dozen equally complex and time-consuming fields of study. To give you something of an idea of the type of argument that must be refuted, take a friend of mine, who is certain that his wife's recovery from "arthritis" is proof of the validity of organic gardening. He presents this "history" in evidence:
Because she had what he called "arthritis," they moved to Florida. She began to eat organically-grown vegetables and her arthritis disappeared. He is perfectly sincere in insisting this proves organic gardening can cure disease. Frankly, this is about as poor a case of proof as I have ever heard presented. First, any true scientist would insist that instead of one woman, he would want at least 100, as much alike in age, race, general cultural background and habits as possible. They would all have to be married to my organic-gardening friend. What's more, he would have to treat them all alike. No fudging-each one would have to dress alike and eat a normal diet full of despicable chemically-grown food.