Agriculture Is Bad for You

Modern agriculture is having a tough time, particularly in Europe. "Mad cow" disease, foot-and-mouth disease and fears over still-unspecified health effects from eating hormone-injected cattle or genetically engineered crops have all conspired to undermine the long accepted notion that "right off the farm" is synonymous with "good for you."

But what if the whole enterprise of agriculture, which first emerged 10,000 to 12,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, turns out to be deleterious to human health? At first the idea seems absurd. After all, when inhabitants of what is now southeastern Turkey began...

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