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Monday, September 04, 2006

"Evolution": Now responsible for "global obesity pandemic"

The reason some media sources never run short of bad news is that they can make bad news out of pretty well anything, including including the end of scarcity of food in many parts of the developing world.

Remember when it was too late to save humanity from starvation? Thirty years ago I used to hear people explain that evolution had programmed us all to produce more people than could be fed. "Man is a species that has overbred," and all that.

There are some really remarkable comments in this hot-weather scare, including "This is the first generation in history where children may die before their parents," Steinbeck told the conference.

Oh? Centuries ago, nothing was more common, actually, than parents burying some of their children, and sometimes all of them. Recent generations in the developed world have been among the very first for whom the death of a child is a genuinely unusual event. But I digress.

The evolution link? Oh yes, sorry ...

McGill, senior lecturer in Population Health at the University of Auckland, said humans were designed to maximize their energy intake because their large brains used about one-quarter of their total energy expenditure.

"Early humans sought energy-dense food with high levels of fats, starches and sugars. We are genetically programmed to find foods with these qualities appealing," said McGill.

"However, highly energy-dense Western diets have had many of the flavor and micronutrients processed out of them. The artificial replacements in starchy, fatty and sugary foods make them over-palatable and easy to eat quickly."

Apparently, we are assured, the obesity pandemic is to be blamed on the twin sacred bulls of "evolution" and the "environment", not on sedentary lifestyles, self-indulgence, or an aging population. And, you guessed it, research funds are urgently needed to combat the growing mountains of pudge.

If there been a worldwide trend toward slimming down, "evolution" would explain that too. Just as it explained the worldwide famines of the late twentieth century. Evolution is an all-purpose explanation. And to think some wonder why people are skeptical.

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The ID debate in the Muslim world: Turkish journalist vs. National Center for Science Education spokesperson

Islam Online recently organized an online debate, "Evolution vs. Intelligent Design", between Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol and National Center for Science Education spokesman Nicholas Matzke. Akyol tells me that he countered Matzke’s effort to portray ID as "Christian fundamentalism" to Muslims, thus urging them not to “buy” it.

That's amusing. Genuine Christian fundamentalists don't see ID that way at all. ID guys, they correctly note, do not thump the Bible.

Heck, the ID guys wouldn't even thump Nick Matzke, unless they were in a really bad mood.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

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How to Become Extinct: an oldie but goodie

This new evo devo spoof site might be a good time to revisit the charming Will Cuppy (1884-1949), author of How to Become Extinct, a similar send-up of the ponderous truisms uttered on the history of life:
Some fishes become extinct, but Herrings go on forever. Herrings spawn at all times and places and nothing will induce them to change their ways. They have no fish control. Herrings congregate in schools, where they learn nothing at all. They move in vast numbers in May and October. Herrings subsist upon Copepods and Copepods subsist upon Diatoms and Diatoms just float around and reproduce. Young Herrings or Sperling or Whitebait are rather cute. They have serrated abdomens. The skull of the Common or Coney Island Herring is triangular, but he would be just the same anyway. (The nervous system of the Herring is fairly simple. When the Herring runs into something the stimulus is flashed to the forebrain, with or without results.)
- Will Cuppy, How to Become Extinct, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1984, p. 13. (1)

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Brand new site explains Darwinian evolution: With a pinch of salt

Catch this hilarious site, sending up the evolution sites sponsored by museums. Don't drink coffee while you are reading it, and be sure to check in with the megamaximum fauna whose very shadows weighed 500 lbs ...

P.S.: Light blogging due to the fact that I am still working on the revisions for the upcoming book, but that will end soon. - d.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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