The Benefits of Religion Without the Belief, with Jeff Rasely

June 01, 2015

Religion is a very comforting aspect of many people’s lives, providing a community of like-minded individuals, as well as more than a little nostalgia. But even within the same faith groups, one can almost always find tension over theological technicalities.

This week on Point of Inquiry, Jeff Rasely, author of Godless: Living a Valuable Life Beyond Belief, talks about how beliefs tend to leave people divided, whereas secular values unite. Rasely spent 25 years of his life as a dedicated member of the Presbyterian Church, and even studied to become a minister. As comforting as religious belief can be, Rasley learned through his rich experiences that belief also often divides and isolates people who would otherwise find common ground, if they only embraced their shared values instead of contentious religious commandments.

This is point of inquiry for Tuesday, May 26, 2015. 

Hello and welcome to Point of Inquiry. A production of the Center for Inquiry. I’m your host, Lindsay Beyerstein. And my guest today is Michael Specter, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. Michael’s reported extensively on farming, biotech, medicine and pseudoscience. He’s the author of the excellent book Denialism. And he’s probably the only guest in Pouye history to have profiled both Dr. Oz and Puff Daddy. He’s here today to talk about the most annoying food fad on the planet today. Gluten rejection. And he knows whereof he speaks his story against the grain. Should you go gluten free? Just won a James Beard award. Gluten refusals promoted by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Jenny McCarthy and Gwyneth Paltrow. The trend was barely a blip on the woo radar before Oprah ditched gluten for three weeks in 2008. But by 2013, the Girl Scouts were selling gluten free cookies. According to one market research survey, a third of Americans say they’re trying to limit or eliminate gluten from their diets. Take that stat with a grain of salt or a kernel of Canadian winter wheat if you prefer. But the market for gluten free products is worth hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars annually. Michaels also a speaker reason for change. The Center for Inquiry’s international conference. The conference takes place June 11th through 15th in Buffalo, New York. My co-host Josh Zepps, our producer Nora Hurley and I will be there to go to reason for change that center for inquiry dot net to register today. Michael, welcome to the program. 

I’m happy to be here. 

So what is gluten exactly? 

Gluten is when two proteins formed together, a bond into gluten. 

And it’s the stuff in pizza that makes guy able to throw it in the air. And it’s the thing that gives a loaf of bread. It’s chewy texture. It’s the glue in baked edible substances. 

And how long has it been? I mean, it sort of seems like it’s a relatively new thing that you’re the man on the street has been concerned about gluten and its its impact on health. 

Well, I mean, it’s a relatively new thing, in part because we didn’t know much about this problem to the degree. There is a problem. I mean, there’s there’s clearly celiac disease is an allergy to glutens and your stomach gets the singye gets destroyed by it. And that’s real. But that’s a very small percentage of people in this country. And those people really are allergic to gluten and they really have to watch it. That’s been known to be a problem at least since World War Two. And it’s it’s a growing problem, but it’s still one percent or fewer of Americans. It’s only in the last 10 or so years that there’s suddenly husband the sense that there’s something called a gluten sensitivity and that people can be allergic to it, even though there’s no biochemical or physical evidence that would make one think that’s true. 

And we see that celiac disease is a growing problem. How do we know it’s on the rise? 

These researchers at the Mayo Clinic wanted to basically know this, so they tested a bunch of soldiers blood from World War Two. That was stored in Minnesota. And then they tested a similar demographics, blood from a few years ago. And what they found was that there were four or five times as many people that sort of showed the evidence of being allergic to gluten. There is a marker that’s not perfect, but it’s a good 99 percent hit and that had grown across the board arcanum, you know, depending whether someone was black or white or Asian or race. So so it is growing. But again, it’s gone from sort of two tenths of one percent to maybe one percent. 

And why do people think that real celiac disease is on the rise? 

Well, there’s a lot of suppositions and some of that has to do with our sort of constant destruction of bacteria in our gut. I mean, since World War two and the miraculous invention of antibiotics, the received wisdom had been kill bacteria. 

They’re bad for you. It turns out that things are much more complicated. Not only is it the case that they’re often not bad for you, it’s often the case. It seems that when you kill bacteria, you cause a tremendous imbalance because in this sense, your stomach is sort of like a garden or a farm and you need to balance the crops. So if you get rid of a type of bacteria, it might allow another type of bacteria to take over, which you don’t want. But you want that other type of bacteria working in conjunction with the bacteria that you just killed with the antibiotics. It’s very complicated. So a lot of people think that. Real sort of I wouldn’t say addiction to antibiotics, because it’s a negative thing. But, you know, we’ve heavily reliant on antibiotics and they’ve been miraculous. But I think it’s also true that we use them way too much. 

Did they think that it’s specifically antibiotics they’re being given to people as patients? So did they think that it might also be antibiotics used to feed live aid to protect livestock that end up getting into the groundwater? Things like that. 

That makes sense. I don’t think there’s that much data yet on that. But if it’s antibiotics that’s causing this, it would be hard to believe that the immense amount of antibiotics that we feed the animals and then eat wouldn’t be a problem. We know that that increases resistance to a variety of things. So it does make sense. But what they do know is, you know, there was there was an antibiotic, there was a bacteria that was quite Common Core H. 

Pylori in 100 years ago. At least 90 percent of pregnant women in the United States had H. Pylori in their gut. Women gave birth knaidel. The figure is about 10 percent or less. H. Pylori can cause stomach cancer and other problems in older men. I think even just older white men. So of which I am one. So, you know, me not having H. Pylori, that would probably be fine. But waiting H. Pylori out of the population is probably a tremendously negative thing to have done. And we have done it with antibiotics. And in fact, there was an attempt about, I don’t know, 25, 30 years ago to eradicate H. Pylori. I mean, it seemed to cause ulcers. It just seemed. I mean, it does causal some ulcers and some people and gastroenterologists thought, let’s just get rid of them from and we’ll get rid of the problem. And that made sense at the time. It turned out they weren’t able to do that because it was too expensive. But, you know, it’s remarkable the change that has come in. That’s that’s one example. I mean, that’s it. That’s an example. Everyone knows about. But I think you’ll find that there’s lots of bacteria that just aren’t in your gut. That used to be. 

And, you know, we always think of H. Pylori. I mean, when I was growing up, it was the big culprit in gastric ulcers. What does it do this? Do we know that it does good things as well? 

No. To be honest, we know that it causes gastric ulcers in some older people. And I believe those people are basically men. Mm hmm. And we know that there’s this tremendous increase of allergies and some celiac and things like that. And many researchers have pointed to this as a likely problem. There’s a lot of preliminary research in animals to suggest that’s true, but we haven’t. I mean, this is still kind of a really new field. 

Some of the big pioneers and kind of, Poppit, taking celiac disease from this tiny niche condition that one percent of the population has to, you know, take gluten sensitivity to concern that virtually everyone in America has heard of and seemingly everyone in America is acting on. 

And then it’s a good question. 

I’m not sure there’s a specific answer. I mean, there are a lot of gastroenterologists who suddenly find themselves interested because their patients are interested. There’s a guy named Murray out at the Mayo Clinic who’s been very important, for instance. But there are a bunch of them that have just sort of looked at this issue. Then there’s the other issue of gluten sensitivity, and then those are different people. And those are those books like Wheat, Barley and all sorts of such books that basically say weed is killing us. And there’s totally no David Perlmutter referred to. There’s there’s just no data suggests that that’s true. It’s ridiculous. 

So what’s the thesis of the book? Wheat. Barley. I hear people quoting at me all the time from that thing. 

Here is one thing. I think people sometimes give up gluten and they feel better for a while. And that may make sense because when do you give up gluten? You just sort of blanket like giving it up. You’re often giving up refined carbohydrates and a bunch of sugar and then that stuff is more likely. I mean, you’re going to feel different if you don’t eat that stuff that you’re probably going to feel better. There’s also the case that there’s something called Fort Knox, which is an acronym for something I won’t mention and can’t pronounce. But basically they’re carbohydrates and you’ll find them in things like bread and other things. 

And some researchers from Australia realized that maybe it’s the fun moths and not the gluten that people are allergic to. And that’s seen the events of very nice experiments. And that seems to be the case. But, you know, if they were on this phone, they’d say, well, we’ve done it. And it looks this way for sure, but we haven’t done it with tens of thousands of people yet. So, you know, they wouldn’t want to claim that this is clearly the problem. But it’s just it’s an example of the fact that there are many other problems that could be related to what people think is gluten sensitivity. 

There’s no biochemical markers for most of these gluten sensitive things that people say they have. 

Can you talk about the sort of controversy in which there was a paper that came out where they claimed that they’d found a biochemical marker for gluten, for non celiac gluten sensitivity, and then the whole thing got rolled back? 

I think you’re referring to these Australian guys. They fed a bunch people muffins with gluten and muffins without gluten. And they didn’t tell them I was a double-blind. And the people who were eating it didn’t know they needed it, that the doctors and all these people had irritable bowel syndrome, which meant they were quite easily. Their stomachs were easily disturbed by the wrong thing, like gluten. And what they found was Chey, when they didn’t eat gluten, these people felt better. And it was pretty clear it was also a very small study. Then the same group said. So then everyone went crazy. And that was given as justification for, you know, this massive movement of, you know, getting gluten out of our bodies. Evil gluten. Then these guys did said maybe, maybe we should do more than that. And they did a similar and slightly more complicated study where they kind of set up the same thing. But they gave some people no gluten. 

Some people gluten. And some people say things that had gluten and no father mops. And what they found were the people who didn’t eat for five months were which are a bunch of perma high touch specific types of carbohydrates. 

Those people did better in the gluten. People weren’t affected. So that made them think, gee, maybe it isn’t the gluten, maybe it’s this other thing. So this is become a big controversy. 

And, you know, they’ve done good research, but they’re depending upon which religion you subscribe to, they’re evil or they’re great or they’re somewhere in between. They’re just they’re good scientists and flood maps. 

Free diet is a pretty bleak, restricted diet that they sometimes give to people with irritable bowel syndrome. Right. 

Yeah, I mean, five months, kid, is in a lot of things. But the thing about firearms is unlike with gluten. And for anyone who’s listening to this, who thinks this is a problem, there is a lot of fun. I read books and thought my guidelines. You can start off eliminating all the fun mops and at some back and you can then see, is Garlick a problem or certain fruits or a problem market? And what they’re finding out is that some of these things you wouldn’t think are problems are and vice versa. So it’s it’s a little bit it’s it’s a little bit easier to tinker with thought muffs and kind of specifically find out maybe which is bothering you rather than just to sort of blanket least say I’m going to give up all gluten. Right. Which is a big deal. 

And that’s not just wheat. Right. There are other grains that are also gluten containing. They’re somewhat important in our diet. 

Oh, it’s you know, people think of gluten as bread, but there’s any number of mixtures that you’ll find in any processed food. And imposter’s, it’s it’s there are literally hundreds of products that you eat quite commonly, including sources that have gluten. And if you’re a celiac person, you need to really be aware of this because the teeny little bit of gluten really will cause tremendous damage. But if what you’re wanting to do is gluten out of your diet because you think it makes you feel better, you’re going to eliminate a vast amount of food and probably without the reason you think. 

Has there been any research to debunk the idea that wheat breeding techniques have had anything to do with the increase in Schirach disease or with people’s general dissatisfaction with gluten? 

Yeah. So people have said in the guy who write wheat, barley, wheat, barley is a big guy who says this. The genetics of wheat has changed so much in the last 50 years. We don’t even recognize that it isn’t anything like it was a thousand years ago, 10000 years ago. And then we just can’t handle it. And the people who do research into wheat genetics and I never found one person who said that was true, that wheat genetics haven’t changed that much. So that in the last 50 years, this would be a dramatic thing. I mean, the production of bread has changed and there’s a whole bunch of extra gluten, vital wheat gluten. It’s just an additive. And oddly enough, it’s put into sort of healthy breads, whole wheat breads to make it stickier. And they use so much of that in industrial manufacturing that some people think maybe it’s the vital recruiting. And it wouldn’t be the case. I don’t. The researchers don’t think that vital wheat gluten itself would cause a problem, but maybe eating ten times as much of it as you would in the old fashioned way when you just baked bread rather than got this stuff in cellophane that was manufactured, that that might actually be part of the problem. And that’s something that people are researching right now to. 

Is there any epidemiological evidence that people who eat a tremendous amount of these, you know, gluten enhanced health food breads are at any higher risk of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease? 

No, but that’s not that doesn’t mean that much because this is new enough so that there haven’t been no longitudinal and epidemiological studies take a little while and they’ve just started doing those. But it’s true. I mean, it is certainly true that bread made 100 years ago was made with water in Wheaten East and maybe some salt. And a lot of the bread these days is made with all sorts of fillers. It’s made in three hours rather than a day or two. You don’t let the east rise. You make it rise industrially. And there are ways that one can envision what that would cause our bodies to react. It’s just when it comes to saying one is allergic to gluten. No researcher so far has found biochemical evidence of that in people’s bodies. 

And we’re pretty good in general in terms of lab tests, finding biological markers when analogy exists, right? 

Yes, but I mean, just to be fair to that other side, this is a new enough field that it’s possible we’re not looking in the right where we missed something. But, you know, there’s almost no there’s no important institution that has lots of gastroenterologists. This is not looking into this right now. So the the questions that are open are surely going to be resolved. 

And what we have now is just there has been a lot of research and so far all this magical allergy to wheat stuff and sensitivity to wheat. You know, there’s a journal called the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity, and they actually, I think, devoted a special issue to attacking me, which it was very prevalent. 

How did you frame it together? 

I didn’t, but they sent me all their papers because they wanted me to comment. And I just said I wrote my thing. You should write your things. Certainly you have every right to disagree. 

If you have a scan of it, you could send it to us and we’ll put it on our Web sites to promote the interview. I think our listeners would get a kick out of it. 

I don’t have a skin and author, but I have a link or something. I could probably find it. But they know there are people who absolutely believe this is the case. And I don’t think you can say it’s the case because there just isn’t any data. I don’t know how to judge these things other than just data driven. 

And these are pretty, you know, large lifestyle modifications that people are talking about to be upending your life and the lives of your friends and your social life based on something where there’s no data. It’s not like it’s the easiest thing in the world to take gluten out of your diet. 

It’s really hard to take gluten out of your diet. And, you know, you should do it if you’re allergic to it. But the idea that you’re doing it on what seems like a win just doesn’t really make sense. And it’s it’s a tremendous sacrifice. It really is. 

Why do you think in American culture we’re so keen on this kind of idea of rejecting foods? 

Well, I think one of the things that’s going on is that people believe they need to and deserve to have complete control over their lives. And that means they don’t want to get a vaccination or have their kid get a vaccination. That might theoretically suggest that there could be some sort of adverse reaction. Now, there are always going to be adverse reactions, but there’s a tremendous adverse reaction to not getting vaccinated. And it’s the same with with the food stuff. I mean, people talked about industrial food and GMO sense if they were the same thing and they’re not. 

But people opposed to ammos, many do. And I think many of them do for a writer of reasons. But one is they’re afraid. They don’t know that the molecular biology is it’s the same thing and that they needn’t worry. And they want the type of control that you can’t have. 

And then I think maybe one hundred and fifty years ago, you could have this category of GMO sort of wildly open ended in terms of what people might be signing on to. I think that might also be part of the anxiety that, you know. The modifications that have been proposed so far sound really reasonable, like, you know, an extra fish protein that happens to kill a bacterium in the soil. You don’t need less pesticides. 

What could be wrong with that? But is that a legitimate fear that there could be some kind of opening of the floodgates for all kinds of maybe frivolous or ill considered or possibly even dangerous modifications might be allowed out there into the marketplace and into ecosystem? 

Well, I mean, you know, in this case, there are two mozer. There is no foodstuff that is regulated as vigorously as GM wants. So I would be the last person to suggest we should introduce a new genetically modified product without real testing and FDA approval and, you know, a bunch of scientists looking out the implications. You have to do that. But having done that now for more than 30 years and having had people consume more than a trillion doses of GMO, this without anyone ever demonstrably getting sick anywhere in the world, it’s hard to worry as much about that as some other things. And again, I think we should test it all. But the idea that somehow these things are going to get out and destroy us just doesn’t make sense. 

If I’m a farmer and I want to grow a new genetically modified crop here in the U.S., how do I go about getting permission for that? Who’s in charge of that? 

You just buy the seeds. I mean, I don’t think you need permission to use seeds that have been approved by the FDA. 

OK, so that’s that’s the main gate keeper is the FDA that if you want to grow its Hamma Industrial. Chemist who wants to sell a GMO strain in the United States. Then I send it to the FDA the same way you would send a new drug for. 

Yeah, I mean, yes, but sometimes it’s the USDA and the United States Department of Agriculture and these things need to be studied. And when when they’re approved by any organization, certainly any division of the federal government, they need to have quite a bit of evidence attached that there has been studies in animals and in fields that don’t show any problem. And there have been those studies and so far there hasn’t been a problem. It is you could conceive of a situation where there would be a problem. So this you know, the research needs to be done. 

Mm hmm. And how many different strains of GMO crops have been approved to be cultivated in the U.S. so far? Roughly. We’re talking tens, hundreds, thousands. 

Well, it depends what you mean by strains. I mean, if you’re talking products, we’ve got, you know, less than 10. I think I mean, there’s soybean and corn and cotton and canola oil now and maybe sugar beets. But there’s lots of things in the pipeline. And that could be approved. One of them is an animal. Salmon. 

Tell us about the salmon. 

Well, they’ve modified salmon so that it grows more rapidly, which means you could get more salmon more quickly, cheaply. And that does show no problems. But I think the FDA is worried about it because they know that people are going to react badly to the idea of a gene, medically modified salmon. So on the one hand, scientifically, it’s hard to say no, but emotionally, I think a lot of people would be repulsed. So I’m not sure what they’re going to. 

Are they talking about farming it on in totally enclosed in land pens or are they talking about farming? 

Yeah, they are. But fish have a way of swimming and it is conceivable that they could mix. I don’t think most scientists consider that to be a problem, but it is certainly conceivable. 

And do they think that that’s not a problem because they’re sort of anatomical barriers or safeguards built into the fish to prevent it from reproducing with other species? 

Yes. And also because they would be in farms rather than in the wild. And because even if they did reproduce or try to reproduce, the genetics is such that there’s never been any harm to any living system as shown by using it. 

I mean, I think the people who are concerned about wild salmon stocks are concerned more about any kind of genetic deletion, not necessarily just the idea of GMO dilution, because there’s already such a problem with coastal farmed salmon stocks who are perfectly nice, you know. 

OK, fish. But they’re not they’re not the kinds of salmon that are native to the rivers of me on the coast of British Columbia. And they’re getting out and they do breed and they seem to cause problems with wild salmon stocks just by not being the wild salmon who normally live there. 

Well, a couple of them, first of all, I don’t think anyone’s arguing that farmed fishes as delectable or favorable as wild salmon, but I think you have to do. And I have not done this, by the way, so I don’t have a position on this. But what you have to look at the risks and benefits. So what are the benefits of farmed salmon? I don’t know. I mean, I’ve modified salmon. I don’t know enough to tell you we ought to do that because it will make our country have more sheep protein. And it will be better for poor people or any of that. I don’t know the answer to that. If the answer was yes, then fine. The answer is not really then. I could see people rejecting. 

I mean, are there enough legal teeth to make sure that nobody takes what’s supposed to be pend salmon and puts it in a coastal farm? 

Are there are there ways to make sure someone does up? 

Are there enough consequences? Are there enough safeguards to make sure that some greedy, irresponsible person doesn’t say, OK, I’m going to take GMO salmon and put them in a semi permeable coastal farm where they could conceivably get out? 

I think there will be. But I mean, this is not a resolved issue in any way. It’s not like you can go out and buy these things now and it’s possible you never will be. But if you could, I think there would be tremendous penalties for people who did the wrong thing with them. 

What are some of the other food fads right now in addition to GMO and gluten that you see causing cultural waves? 

Oh, it’s just you know, they’re constantly shift, you know, for a long time. One of the issues with gluten is that for a long time we were giving up meat. We were giving up. That’s where evil and we were replacing it with pasta and carbohydrates. And then there was a feeling that carbohydrates were great. Then it became Jean Carnahan. Carbohydrates are the worst and we should be eating just protein, working protein. And, you know, the simple thing is the true thing, which is you should have a balanced diet and you should probably eat fewer carbohydrates and mostly plants and some protein, whether it be meat, fish or something. 

That is neither. And people are just veer from one end to the other. And also data changes. I mean, right now it looks like we have enough data to say, gee, if you eat eggs, it’s not going to give you heart disease. Twenty years ago, we thought the opposite. 

Do you think there’s enough data to recommend people systematically swapping out flowers in their diets in favor of whole grains? 

People have done that. I’m sorry, I didn’t get the question. 

Oh. Do you think that there’s enough data to recommend systematically reducing the amount of refined flours in your diet and replacing them with whole grains? Yes, sort of a low glycemic index kind of diet. 

Yes. I mean, I, I do think that there’s a lot of data that suggests that refined flour, refined grains, sugars are not absorbed properly by the human body. I mean, we basically have the bodies we had when we were using them to run away from lions on planes. But we’ve changed and we don’t walk around much. And we sit at a desk all day and we watch. And it’s sickening the amount of television and our bodies are not, you know, the amount of calories that we consume in this country and how cheap they are. It’s remarkable. And so, yeah, I do think that we’ve caused such tremendous problems and they’re getting better and refined carbohydrates are probably one of the big reasons because they’re so energy dense and quickly absorbed. Yeah, yeah. And I think sugar is this is clearly we’re eating way too much. And by sugar, I don’t mean the sugar contained in fruit or something. You might normally eat that you would digest normally, but added sugar, I mean, it’s just remarkable how much we consume. 

And you think that there’s solid evidence favoring a less sugary diet? 

Yeah, I do. I think the evidence on sugar is about as good as I at least would want it to be, that too much sugar leads to tremendous problems. 

The most obvious, one of which two of which are obesity and diabetes. And those are both epidemics in this country. And if nothing else, if we didn’t care about humans, we ought to care about the remarkable costs of dealing with that. 

And is there evidence that, say, a sugary or flowery diet contributes independently to the risk of those conditions? So let’s say that you seem to be in energy balance. You’re maintaining a steady weight and you’re eating a lot of pasta and things like that or a lot of sugar and fine sugar. Is there evidence that your risk of developing diabetes is increased even if you seem to be not developing obesity? 

Yeah, I think there is. But I mean, you know, carbohydrates get burned off. But if you eat too many of them, they turn into sugar. So if you’re in, you know, the Tour de France and you’re consuming 10000 calories a day, burning off 10000 calories a day, they need all the pasta you can possibly get in your stomach. 

But for most people, that isn’t an issue. Most of us don’t need carbohydrates so badly because we have plenty of them. Now, of course, in parts of the developing world, this is radically not the case. Right. 

But in this country, it is what would be evidence based solution B in terms of substituting carbohydrate calories? Would you say more lean protein, more fibrous vegetables? 

No, I think the more refined grains, more dense foods that fill you up, more vegetables. I say the evidence for sort of plant based foods is pretty powerful. And that’s not one that thinks eating meat is a terrible thing to do. But it has consequences as eat too much of it. And it has also has consequences for the environment in terms of the amount of land that in water that cattle demand. 

What are some of their long term health consequences of a very meat heavy diet of meat, heavy diet? 

Yeah. Well, again, if you’re eating too much, me, you’re probably getting fat. You’re there’s all sorts of protein issues you can have if you really just eat meat that people who eat. I guess it’s the Atkins diet. Yeah. You know, they develop a lot of sort of liver related issues because you can’t handle 100 percent protein in your body wasn’t built that way. Yeah. It’s also unbelievably expensive. And the way we make meat in this country varies. You know, I always have chicken that was raised outdoors or, you know, I’ve seen, ah, industrial chicken making facilities. And if you see that, you never want to either know the chicken pretty horrific or whether you’re a vegetarian or not. 

And so a lot of the animal health stuff is a question of how they are treated. 

Those are my questions. Anything else you’d like to add? 

No, I think that should get people hopefully thinking about what they put in their mouth. 

Oh, actually, there is one more thing. You’re going to be appearing at the Reason for Change conference. I am. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re going to be talking about there? 

Yeah, I’m going to talk about genetically modified foods and why it seems that data doesn’t matter and why. What we need to do or what we can start thinking about doing to get people to just accept reality and put danger for what they perceive as danger in a proper perspective. 

What would be your number one piece of advice in terms of getting people to accept reality? 

Well, I think, unfortunately, education is the number one piece of advice that people need to know how food is grown. And if they knew that, I think they would do with a lot of these issues with less tension. But most people in this country think, you know, food comes wrapped in cellophane and delivered to them. Yeah. And I don’t think we’ve gotten the word out that it’s not quite that simple. Thank God. 

Yeah. And what kind of things do you think people need to know more about in terms of where our food comes from and how it’s made? 

Those things, you know, that they’re grown and what what you do to grow crops, what part of the crop you eat, what part of the animal do you how do you kill the animal? How much of the animal or you can say, I mean, all this stuff. People don’t have a clue when they go to McDonald’s. They don’t know what they’re putting in their mouth. 

I mean, it seems like people need to know more also about different soon herbicides and pesticides and what the tradeoffs are for all those things. 

Well, that’s the general issue about risk, is that no one talks about the risks and the benefits. Herbicides have risks. They have tremendous benefits. Some herbicides are better than others. Some are dangerous. And people just hear the word herbicide and they flip out and then there’s some GMO. 

Is that reducer, the need to use some of these toxic, potentially toxic chemicals as well? And people don’t take that into account either. 

Of course they don’t. 

And they also don’t take into account that some of the herbicides are amazed to disappear pretty rapidly from the ground as opposed to previous pesticides, which were hundreds of times more toxic. 

That’s all the time we have. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Absolutely. My pleasure. 

Josh Zepps

Josh Zepps

An Australian media personality, political satirist, actor, and TV show host. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. He was a founding host for HuffPost Live.