Primitive diet & primitive thinking – the evolution of ideas
Way back in the 1980’s (1987 to be precise) Optima published a small book – that I had coauthored with my wife Alkmini (who focused her attention on food preparation issues in the book) – entitled “Stone Age Diet”. If you’re really interested in this I note that Amazon.co.uk had a few reasonably priced new and second hand copies, in stock this week, – whereas Amazon.com gave details of 2nd hand resellers offering hard-cover versions for well over $60 !!!!!
If I’d only known, I would have stored hundreds of copies as an investment, when they were available for pennies when the book was withdrawn in the early 90’s.
The underlying premise of this text was based on evidence collected by two renowned researchers S.Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner, as summarised in their landmark paper Paleolithic Nutrition: A Consideration of its’ Nature and Current Implications. in The New England Journal of Medicine (1985: 312(5):283-289) .
In addition to our own clinical and life experience, we also incorporated ideas and elements from various prominent researchers, including Emmanuel Cheraskin MD and Jeffrey Bland PhD.
The end result was a book that, while it failed to ignite huge attention at the time, did attract one or two flattering and unexpected letters from prominent medical researchers, such as Denis Burkitt, the man who first drew attention to the importance of dietary fiber on disease prevention, after comparing the intestinal health of modern and primitive eating patterns.
Well, 21 years later, this book is apparently still causing minor ripples, as evidence by a strange email received this week: It said:
“After reading an excerpt of yours “Neanderthal people (named from the valley in Germany where their skeletal remains were first discovered in the 19th century) were highly intelligent, as were the descendants of Homo erectus, the Cro-Magnon people discovered in France. They appeared some 40,000 years ago, and were in all senses modern humans. It is mainly these people we are speaking about when we refer to the Stone Age, though we should keep in mind a generalised picture of an evolving human with, in the latter stages especially, very little physical or intellectual difference from ourselves, apart from cultural and educational variations”, from a course I’m taking on Diet & Nutrition, especially the part of appearing some 40,000 years ago, sir, with all due respect, I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t ask you, and forgive me if I’m wrong, but how can a man of such brilliance as yourself still be left believing in the deception and falsehood in the likes of evolution? – when there is not once piece of evidence, scientifically or archaeologically available to man today to discredit “intelligent (Divine) design,” not to mention there is no equipment capable of dating anything (wood/metals/stone/bones, etc.), much beyond 7,000 years let alone 40,000. …….. Sir, this is not about you or I being right or wrong, certainly not my intention here, but rather an honest, sincere and friendly note for you to research as hard into that which has to do with your eternal soul, in comparison to as long and hard as you evidently have researched your naturopathic interests. A much wiser man than either of us has stated, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul?”
…. Sir, your materials and legacy will be here today and gone tomorrow without true purpose, unless you can bring yourself to discover the true source behind the gift of wisdom that has blessed you to this day.”
Well, I truly believe that we are all entitled to our views, and was touched by the non-aggressive, respectful way the correspondent presented his, to me.
My response – if that’s of any interest – was as follows:
“Thank you for your courteous note. Has it occurred to you that just possibly – not certainly, but possibly – evolution is actually the ‘intelligent/divine’ plan?
It seems to me that once that is accepted, and evolution is seen to not be in contradiction to acceptance of creation….- all conflict vanishes between religion and science. This is the view I take – not a denial of God, but a sense of wonderment at the amazing delicacy with which His creation is managed via evolution. I wish you well in your studies.”
What I’ve learned from this is that influences continue to emerge, deriving from actions that may have occurred long ago, and that the capacity of the human mind to believe what is comfortable for itself is truly amazing.
This is still a good book, however the $60 price tag seems excessive!