Darwin, Evolution, and the Paleo Life

“Obstinacy is the result of the will forcing itself into the place of the intellect.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

darwin

Here’s a quick and interesting LA Times article on the subject of Charles Darwin, evolution, and the so-called phenomenon of “speedy” or “swift” evolution.

Detractors of the Paleo lifestyle are wont to fly the flag of speedy/swift evolution as evidence of the supposed incongruence of the Paleo way vis-à-vis modern man’s interaction within his present-day environment. I’ve never really understood this straw-man argument; it is a bit of a non-sequitur, as one can prescribe whole-heartedly with speedy/swift evolution theory and still be fully on-board, intellectually, with the Paleo lifestyle premise. One in no way disproves, or disavows, the other. Lactose tolerance/intolerance is just one of many examples of accelerated evolution. My argument here would be that if you are lactose tolerant, and if your blood-work supports the consumption of raw dairy, then – assuming no immune system impact or inflammatory issues (arguments to which I’m as of yet undecided) – I’d say raw dairy could fit well within your personal realm of Paleo-ness. Few things in life are merely black and white, and the Paleo lifestyle does not exist in a vacuum; it is merely a platform thesis supported by positive blood-work, superior bodily composition, and general “feel good” results. To hold firm to the notion, though, that man, in some distant vision of the future, will have become endowed with the ability to efficiently digest and utilize grains, and that this is an argument in support of man’s consumption of grains now, is to entirely misinterpret the evolutionary concept – speedy, swift, or any form or fashion thereof. It’s a dreadfully wrong argumentative application of the right theorem. What is optimal for our bodies now ought to be foremost on the collective mind.  As I’ve said before, take one on the chin for “Team Human” in this regard if you wish.  Do your part, if you will, to push forward the evolution of mankind.  I’m quite content, thank you, to be the selfish, feeling-good prick putting a drag on the whole evolutionary march forward.  So be it, to each his own, live and let die, etc.  But I digress…

So, in following with this previous line of evolutionary thought, here is some intelligent conversation on Darwin, evolution, and the interplay of evolution and religion. The link will take you to a WGN 720, Milt Rosenberg podcast – one of the best podcasts/interview mediums out there, in my humble opinion. In this particular episode, Milt hosts guests Jerry Coyne (author of Why Evolution is True) and Robert Richards, both of the University of Chicago.

One thing I’ve never fully understood is the whole religion/evolution argument. Actually, I guess I do understand it, I just don’t get it. In my view, religious dogma no more allows for evolution, than does scientific “dogma” allow for spirituality. It’s almost the case of the atheists being as dogmatic as the evangelicals. My spirituality openly embraces both “God” and science – and that includes full-octane evolution. I don’t see why that’s a problem, for either side to stomach. But then again, I can embrace the CrossFit methodology, “one set to failure” and the “Vince Gironda” systems all as legitimate and results-inducing training protocols. The only problem with this “inclusive” way of thinking is that it can be awfully lonely sometimes, without a dogmatic “home” in which to reside.

In Health,

Keith

10 responses to “Darwin, Evolution, and the Paleo Life

  1. Hah, you said ‘bravo zulu’ . . .

    I certainly know what you mean about being somewhat spiritual and believing that evolution is true. I don’t think they are in any way exclusive, and I’m pretty sure the Catholic Church has accepted Evolution for quite a while. I want to avoid waxing philosophical here, but if you subscribe to the idea that a supreme being is the creator, there’s no reason evolution couldn’t be a mechanism set in motion by such a creator to affect change/progress/whatever. Just a thought.

    • Bryce,
      From what I know (and I am in no way an expert), the “official” Catholic ruling concerning evolution is that it is true for all creatures — with the exception of humans. This puts the church in a curious position, and one that is predictably picked-apart by the more scientific minded. Steven Pinker, for one, has had a grand time with this “official” position.

  2. For what its worth:

    My understanding is that the Catholic position regarding evolution of humans is that the physical body may have evolved over time but the human soul is created directly by God and does not evolve.

    I also think that the church teaches that all creatures have a soul, but that human souls are different because they are immortal.

  3. Oh, man–don’t get me started on that one! I have to say that I’m in total agreement.

    I won’t bother posting my position (having done so even on Art’s site at one time), but arguing that the short-sighted “science vs religion” argument is a fake argument is something I’ve done over and over again to friends, relatives, and those who couldn’t escape! 😀

  4. Keith,

    Your God/Atheism discussion in a Darwin post is timely, as the widely believed life/afterlife interaction before “Modernism” was the Great Chain/Nest of Being. It accepted both science and spirit without fear. Strange how we can lose the plot.

    Best,
    Skyler

    • Skyler,

      I’ve always felt that for a religion and/or spirituality to be “true” it had to be flexible enough to accept scientific fact and future findings without the necessity of denial.

  5. Personally, I think your inclusive thinking is actually an evolved way of thinking. Fits right in with the Paleo mindset.

    Less lonely than you might think. Plenty of us similar-minded folks out here.

    This is an amazing blog. It’s obvsious the work and passion that goes into it. Thanks!

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