So how come I've never seen this before? The infamous Kirk Cameron Banana YouTube clip? From what I can figure out, this is actually meant to be a serious attempt at describing creationist perfection. It's just that the video is so full of unintended (intended?) innuendo that it turns out to be one of the silliest things I've seen in a long time.
As well, I'd like to make a case that the banana is not so perfect afterall. Here's a quick list of why it sucks to be a banana:
1. As the twitter statement says, the banana shown in the video is parthenocarpic. This means the following:
In botany and horticulture, parthenocarpy (literally meaning virgin fruit) is the natural or artificially induced production of fruit without fertilization of ovules. The fruit is therefore seedless. Parthenocarpy occasionally occurs as a mutation in nature, but it is usually considered a defect, as the plant can no longer sexually reproduce, but may propagate by asexual means. (From wiki)
Whilst, this might be good from the human consumption front (i.e. no hard banana seeds in the fruit), it also means it's relatively high maintenance as a crop.
2. The banana you see is also incredibly susceptible to disease. Even though, there are over 300 diferrent species of bananas and plaintains, there is only one that is grown for internation trade (this would be the Cavendish). Because of this nuance, as well as the fact that the clone needs to be harvested asexually, you got a major crop that could theorectically be easily wiped out by a single aggressive pathogen.
3. This one I won't go into too much detail about, since there's an upcoming piece being published on it at the Terry site. But the banana is pretty evil from a societal point of view.
Firstly, there are the continuous "Banana wars" or as it is often called, the "Race to the Bottom." This is where competition for low prices, generally led by supermarkets, is so intense, that the eventual trickle down effect is horrendous conditions and pay for the plantation workers (themselves controled by multinationals). This includes the problems of child labour, sexual harrasment, land encroachment, exposure to unnecessary levels of pesticides, etc.
Secondly, that banana has one crazy environmental footprint. Not sure what the total number is, but you have (1) deforestation issues (bananas leave no leaf debris, so the soil becomes very quickly depleted, thereby needing more land very quickly for more crops); (2) farming practices are pretty intensive because of its high maintanence mono culture status (i.e. pesticide use tends to be several fold higher in comparison to say cereals); (3) wasteful practices (there's an estimate out there that figures about 2 tons of waste is produced for every banana, as well only 60% of those bananas are kept because of aesthetic reasons - the rest are thrown away); and (4) maintenance/travel (the banana takes about 10 months to grow before eating, but it's actually harvested 4 to 5 months in, meaning that the remainder of time is spent in controlled warehouses, traveling in huge refridgerated freighters, etc.
In fact the issues surrounding the banana merit a few International Banana Conferences, and even banana specific NGOs.
All to say that this is hardly a perfect fruit at all.
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I can't believe you called all bananas imperfect while basing your arguments solely on the cavendish banana. And then your crazy enough to go into some twaddle about the social impact of banana production. There's something wrong with you.
God gave us the earth to hold dominion over it. So none of that crazy socialist environutjob stuff matters to a real Christian like Ray Comfort!
I like Jeffrey Rowlands take on the argument. http://overcompensating.com/posts/20070615.html
Not to mention that it's a domesticated plant, developed about 5,000 years ago by headhunters in New Guinea. They're the ones who learned how to propagate bananas and selected a seedless mutant that was easy to eat. (Those brown smudges in the cross-section are where big, black, triangular seeds should be.)
In my opinion the largest threat for California are cataclysms and ecological catastrophes. Not important is how many money we have because one tragedy can us take all.
Just in case you're also one of the three people left that hadn't heard this, there is another video that kinda points out another large flaw in this 'banana' idea, as well as a few others that Ray put out. The banana flaw is this:
The banana is, indeed, intelligently designed - by MAN. It began to be grown as a dmoestic crop 5000-8000 years ago, and has since undergone artificial selection to become what we know today. Link to video:
Even better: Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron have a board game called Intelligent Design vs. Evolution. I've used it in my classes to good effect. Hilarious (though, probably, for the wrong reasons...).
Well...crud. I'd never heard of these "banana wars" before...so much for me ever eating a banana in good conscience again.
Please tell me that the same state of affairs doesn't hold for oranges...or apples...?
It would be fun to see this fellow with a fertile banana (I've only seen them in markets in Thailand). It's fun to eat around all those large hard dark brown seeds, but they do taste fruitier and sweeter than the human-selected, human-propagated mutants in the video.
Merle - I don't know about apples, but if you're using coffee, chocolate or tea with a clear conscience, think again. Oranges, mmm... I suppose yours are from Florida?
It's already happening:
Due to the popularity of the banana, breeders are feverishly attempting to grow a new variety that we can use to replace the Cavendish that is resistant to this blight. It will be interesting to see what will happen in a few years to the banana...
Yeah, I saw that video a few years ago. I don't know what bothered me more, quasi-scientific chatter presented as a means to lull people into a false conclusion, or the implication of the lowly banana in a larger creationist conspiracy.
Thanks for the post.
@Jason: You said, "breeders are feverishly attempting to grow a new variety that we can use to replace the Cavendish that is resistant to this blight".
You wouldn't happen to have a link to these feverish breeders, would you?
Merle, to eat bananas with a clear conscience, come to Australia - all our bananas are grown locally (to prevent importation of the diseases). We lost 70% of our banana supply for 18 months in a single cyclone because the majority are grown in one area (efficiency winning over security of supply).
You can also enjoy fair trade coffee from Papua New Guinea or Timor (provided you order from the right suppliers),
but beware of the chocolate - half the world cocoa comes from West Africa with extensive use of near-slave child labour and our leading brands refuse to answer questions about whether they use slave-produced cocoa. There are a few fair trade brands that certify not to use slave labour (generally sourcing cocoa from East Africa) but they are limited in variety. The good news is that in Australia some fair trade chocolate has become available in main stream supermarkets.
The supermarket demand for the perfect banana has ridiculous effects - as well as throwing away vast quantities, they also hand-thin the bunches of bananas while growing so they fruit ends up larger (and probably less marked). During our national banana shortage, one grower shipped the reject bananas to Melbourne Zoo for the apes and monkeys, because the normal 'perfect banana' supplies had become too expensive for the zoo to afford.