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The Forum > Article Comments > Using evolution to dispel pseudoscience about the past > Comments

Using evolution to dispel pseudoscience about the past : Comments

By Michael Zimmerman, published 23/1/2013

Living like a caveman has its fans, but for reasons of nostalgia and sentimentality, not science.

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A Cavemen Diet would surely be a yobbo's dream.

Red meat on the barbie every night. Oncology being an imperfect science then. Was it not Hobbes, hat tip to Winnie Churchill who spoke of "nasty, brutish and short"?

And Sex in the Stone Age - what of it? We can only dream of being shacked in the cave of Racquel Welch http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Million_Years_B.C.
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 23 January 2013 11:21:46 AM
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Who said people advocating the paleo diet believe in evolution? Where's the concrete evidence that humans or any other species adapted to their environments? Whoops! There isn't any! evolution is a faith, which is not backed by science.
A shorter, more active and adventurous life is exactly what's being advocated in the radical, hunter gatherer,primitivist milieu, to them it's illogical that a person weighing over 60 kilos should live into their sixties, much less to the age of 100.

Plantagenent,
The true paleo diet would have us eating mostly fruit, seeds, nuts, herbs,eggs and small game such as lizards, small ground dwelling mammals, fish and invertebrates with occasional supplemts of large game such as kangaroo or wild fowl. If you take a non evolutionary point of view then it makes sense, Aborigines and other hunter gatherers were big on the gathering, not so much the hunting. Hunting for the men took a lot of effort and time away from intellectual pursuits and community life, better to to let the women and kids go out and collect yams, grubs and goanna while the men tended to the weighty issues facing the tribe. Why do you think there is still a perception that so called "primitives" are indolent, it's because the men spend most of their time sitting around talking or wandering about in a seemingly aimless fashion while the women do the bulk of the work. I'd suggest that a meal of snake or grubs was more often what was presented at the end of the day in paleolithic times and that the mens days were occupied with planning and scouting and securing the perimeter of their territory against neighbouring clans along with other formalities.
Posted by Jay Of Melbourne, Wednesday, 23 January 2013 1:19:42 PM
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Your non evolutionary views are well taken J of M.

While I admit that I'd prefer making love to redheaded cavewomen in animal skin bikinis thoughts of making war in the name of defence would be equally fantastic.

On diet and longevity of "cavemen" - my grandfather Percy Begg, in the 1930s, did a PhD study (including "Stone Age Man's Dentition" ) on how diet contributed to the tragically short life of Native Australians.

See all about Percy here http://www.fauchard.org/awards/hall_of_fame/percy_begg.html :

"Percy Raymond Begg was a brilliant orthodontist who discovered a unique method of moving teeth. He provided many thousands of children and adults with amazing corrections of their dental and facial deformities and these benefits continue to be experienced by patients all over the world because of Begg's willingness to share his knowledge." but I digress.

Percy's major "caveman" conclusion was that grit or sand in their diet ground down their teeth making them highly likely to starve to death before they were 35 - because they could no longer eat solids.

This study of Native Australians could be extrapolated to "cavemen" elsewhere including European ancestors.

Hence the joys of relying on nuts and scorpions for food will still kill someone early - unless they have enough water to wash food (big game or otherwise) before eating.

Pete
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 23 January 2013 2:08:04 PM
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I look forward to reading the book - I agree that there is a lot of pseudo science associated with these diets which have been proposed for decades but come to the fore in the last 5 years. However, there is also a lot of science on this topic in peer reviewed journals and I look forward to how this will be dealt with. For example, Dr Loren Cordain seems to be well published in this field - here is an example:

http://thepaleodiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Res-Rpts-Clin-Cardiol-2011-Bastos-3.pdf
Posted by Dust, Wednesday, 23 January 2013 2:22:13 PM
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Plantagenet,
Interesting, a dental abscess or infection would also have killed in those days.
The point I'm trying to make is that the ratios of animal protein to plant matter suggested in these paleo diets are most certainly wrong, the ancients would have eaten the food which was easiest to gather and prepare, evolution, even if proven doesn't enter into it because the natural human inclination to seek the path of least resistance is common to all peoples. For example, it's thought that the plains Indians didn't habitually hunt Bison before the introduction of riding horses to the continent.Thinking logically, hunting slow lumbering prey from a mount using lances would have been far easier and more efficient (ie economical in terms of time and energy expended) than stalking deer,fishing or growing corn and squash. The Sioux were perfectly capable of building earth lodges or even larger fixed structures but a portable Tipi made of animal skins was more economical for a mobile hunter band, aboriginals on the other hand, it seems did expend energy on long term projects such as eel traps and building fishing nets and canoes because fishing was the easiset and most efficient form of hunting.What I'm saying is that people with little spare time always choose the easiest path in providing for their daily needs and there's no reason to suspect that biologically identical though historically distant beings did not have the same attitude, that is to say adaptation to an environment is a purely a mental process, not a physiological metamorphosis as is often assumed.
Posted by Jay Of Melbourne, Wednesday, 23 January 2013 6:40:44 PM
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JoM says "evolution is a faith, which is not backed by science".

Au contraire! Darwinian evolution is not a faith but a theory supported by a body of evidence, replete now with a full understanding of the biological mechanism (mutation) by which it may occur. Similarly, Wegener's continental drift theory had a body of evidence supporting it, with the clincher coming when plate tectonics provided its mechanism.

Judging from his second post JoM may, however, be a Lamarckian evolutionist.
Posted by Luciferase, Thursday, 24 January 2013 12:11:51 AM
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