Science is supposed to be the antithesis of faith. The idea is that science is based on provable concepts whereas faith is a belief in something whether or not it can be proved. In the real world this difference is nowhere near as great as it is cracked up to be.
Essentially many have a “faith” in science –which is an oxy moron. And much that passes for “science” is fake, flawed or simply wrong. This does not make science bad but it means that to call something scientific as if that gives it infallibility is meaningless. Indeed it is the equivalent of faith.
What is most fascinating is when those who claim to be scientific suddenly are not when new evidence overturns their view of the world.
Groups like the “friends of science” oppose acupuncture saying it has only a placebo effect. They are silent on use of SSRI antidepressants, which have only placebo effect in mild depression.
Those who question the response to (not even the existence of) climate change are not welcome in Australian academia and are treated like heretics. Isn’t the whole notion of science to be always questioning?
So what about the science of nutrition?
The paleo diet continues to generate controversy. To be blunt, I am not a fan of any extreme diet, which seeks to eliminate completely certain foods. It becomes zealous and assumes a one size fits all approach to eating. That said there is a lot to like about the basics of the paleo diet. It encourages eating like our ancestors, eating more whole foods and little processed food. It is low in refined carbs. It allows for good fats and proteins.
Critics say that our ancestors did not live as long as we do. That is correct. But they didn’t die because of what they ate. It was because they couldn’t always get enough to eat and they could get eaten themselves. Let alone the harsh living conditions. They didn’t die of lifestyle and diet related conditions like heart disease or type two diabetes.
But the attitude of dieticians and other health authorities to the paleo diet is bordering on laughable. At a recent conference of dieticians certain “myths” were presented about paleo. This included saturated fats and coconut cream being bad and grains being essential.
There is nothing wrong with eating some grains but they should not be a large part of our diet as has been in food pyramids. But, it has been categorically shown that there is NO link between saturated fats in the diet and any form of disease.
Forty years of studies has failed to show any link, yet the fat is bad mantra lives on in the minds of dieticians. How is this “scientific”? Beats me. Coconut cream has gotten a bad rap. Some of this is industrial as producers of vegetable oils sought to put down competitors.
Coconut oil has medium chain fatty acids, which are stable at high heat (ideal for cooking) and have anti- inflammatory properties. Heart disease was actually rare in islanders who ate lots of coconut until western diets were adopted.
So why is it then that those who trumpet the importance of science are against the paleo diet? Essentially it is because it goes against their worldview that fats are bad and that grains are good. This is what they have been preaching for 35 years and telling us that it is based on science.
Except science has now shown that this idea is wrong.
So this is where belief in science merges with faith in what one wants to believe. Those who cling to disproven ideas are not much better than those who in the past clung to notions of the earth being flat.
What we once understood to be true can be shown to not be so and vice versa. As our knowledge evolves and old ideas are proved wrong we need to move on. This is really quite simple.
For some reason there are many who refuse to do so. One can only speculate as to why this is the case.
Dr Joe Kosterich M.B.B.S is an author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, who wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life. He is a regular on TV – 9 Network Australia, and radio stations 6PR and 4BC as well as maintaining a website and this blog which provides health information. He is the health ambassador for locally grown fresh potatoes. Dr Joe also gives practical motivational health talks for the general public and organisations where he is known as “An independent doctor who talks about health”.