What do you think about the blog post "The State of the Paleosphere?"
Saw this link on Jimmy Moore's forum-
There is a lot of clique-making and I’m-taking-my-toys-and-going-home going on. I’ve been amazed at how some of the folks who are doctors or researchers can devolve into personal barbs, and quick. Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to understand how to disagree respectfully with evidence? To say, “That’s an interesting observation, but my research shows…” instead of accusations? Or, “I’ve read that study you cited there, and I can’t find that reference.” And then us amateurs get in there without understanding the whole picture, and the whole thing gets all mucked up...
If I wanted to have to go through layers of polite bureaucracy to call someone out on bullshit, I'd stick within academia. But I guess the benefit there is that most of this stuff would never have been published in the first place. I'm not sure she understands that there is no way to have a debate with someone who believes that they already know everything. I'm not interested in debating them (it's not possible, which is perfectly illustrated by Nora G dismissing me for being too young), just in telling laymen who might worship them to be careful.
Considering Karen posted on Free The Animal that Jimmy was excused for selling processed garbage while pushing "real food" because he relies on the income, I have difficulty taking her seriously. It's funny that the "paleosphere" is more than happy to tar and feather the similarly motivated folks at Monsanto. It's a Pollyanna attitude that's nice until she tries to enforce it on everyone else.
I take issue with the second point about qualifications. I see more and more, let's call them hobbyists, trying to become pillars in the paleosphere. These folks have done no research themselves, but have simply perused through PubMed and the scientific literature and come up with some rather wacky recommendations. They often don't have any formal training in the area, let alone any basic training. Of course then even less knowledgeable folks just lap up these recommendations because of their pseudo-credentials associated with them. But much of it is bullshit, and I guess that's where the paleosphere needs to step in and call out bullshit for what it is. There's already a dearth of solid information in on paleo, diluting the good stuff with bullshit syntheses of random-ass science is not a good thing.
Just to clarify a few things here:
But a few things trouble me.
I'm not saying we should all play nice, per se. I'm saying we should play smarter. I hate to see really smart people resort to ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. You have the ability to take people down in a real way that would add to the discussion and help the rest of us learn from it in the process.
So, Melissa, instead of dismissing Nora Gedgaudas by her lack of credentials, I want to see you bring up the discrepancies of the coprolite study, for example. I personally am fascinated by this and want to know more. Because I've read most of Primal Body, Primal Mind and thought it sounded pretty solid and well-researched, but what do I know? When we dismiss people wholesale (yes, even Jack Kruse...), we may miss out on parts of their message that are actually good, which I feel happens to Taubes all the time too.
So who owns Paleo? Who do we listen to and why? Why don't we draw up a huge list of who we think is mainstream Paleo and who's fringe? Would we find a consensus?
EDIT: Preceding questions are mostly rhetorical or meant for thought. Obviously the answer to the first one is "nobody." (Thanks, Kamal!)
I like "shrill tones."
I'll take shrill over any kind of "smoothing over." Don't get me wrong...I don't like out and out jerks but I don't think this debating is out of hand?
I get irritated when people want to "steward" Paleo in any way. My baseline is...I want everything out there so I can experiment/decide for myself.
This is the same reason why I'm not too keen on "I feel uncomfortable with all this bickering so can we all just get along so I don't feel uncomfortable?"
I prefer the bickering. I like the discord. I think it's part of the process.
I like that Kurt Harris is willing to pop up with something a little snarky on the boards. I like it that Moore fires back. I like that Melissa is irreverent about it all and stays her own course. This is really great and...normal.
When she asks, "So now what? Where do we go from here?"
Keep arguing and keep dissecting. Don't try to stifle the naughty name calling or the information. These bio-chemists, docs, podcast hosts and bloggers are all grown-ups.
"I say be the change you wish to see, be respectful, or shut up." Ugh. I can't take it.
Here is my impression. We've got the standard paleo diet, which tends to be low carbohydrate. I assume most of us went on it for at least thirty days and it was good- definitely better than S.A.D. Then we've got athletes. They find carbohydrates help them fuel their activities. They also have trouble relating to people who don't understand massive amounts of exercise and competitiveness. I am imagining these folks are like the folks who kicked Robb Wolf out of Crossfit. In other words, screw healing people, it is all about the competition. We've also got academics. They hate the low carbohydrate message with a passion that makes them ignore those studies that prove ketogenic diets are good for various illnesses. Now, most of academia is not paleo, but if you are paleo and you want any sort of place in academia, it will soon seem perfectly reasonable for you to pretend carbohydrates have nothing to do with anything. There are many untruths it takes a relatively intelligent person to believe. This is why the proles, in general, don't believe in Marxism, but many academics do.
On the low carb side we've got a diet that works amazingly well, especially in conjunction with Paleo. We've got reasonable people pointing out that the necessary research hasn't been done, but much like anyone trying to recreate climatology research, they are declared anathema. Then, of course, low carbers can get nutty too. I did when I was losing weight, because any plateau caused a strong temptation to get really strict. Some folks who are less introverted than me have promulgated this sort of thing, but I doubt the sub 20g thing brings enough of a return to be worth it.
We've got people like Jack Kruse, who are bring new ideas up, and that is good. Please people, if you want to shoot him down, actually try to read his stuff! I'm seeing people I know are smart making silly mistakes because they are operating out of anger and not paying attention to what he said.
Let me return to the main point again- The standard paleo diet should be the 'best practice'. The one we tell people to try. Hold the potatos, rice, ice bags, piracetam, coprolites, intermittent fasting, high intensity workouts, and whatever else for 30 days so people can heal their guts. Suffer through the scandal of someone going into ketosis on occasion. Tell them to get rid of the grains, legumes, and dairy for thirty days and maybe grudgingly remember that avoiding carbs for awhile actually helps people comply.
So what is the state of the paleosphere? Pure anarchy, my friends, and that is pretty much awesome.
Every organisation splinters as it matures. You get this in sport and athletics (think of all the various distances that are run from 60m Indoor to Ultramarathons), religions, political organisation - everywhere.
The science of nutrition and exercise/health is equivocal. I think that the level of disagreement and discussion we are seeing in the paleosphere is actually a sign of health and progress.
More importantly, the paleosphere is changing and shaping the debate of health and fitness on a national and international scale.
As for the ad hominems, that is symptomatic of life on the web! As is 'battle by Google-Fu' where we chuck claim and counter claim research from Pub-Med at one another.
I agree with Karen- I didn't interpret the post as saying we shouldn't disagree; I think it's more about the tone. I've been turned off by the in-fighting for awhile, but that's just what happens when there are diverse personalities involved; folks won't always get along or communicate in a way that I think is productive.
I'm not smart on the science stuff, so I don't really get into the controversial topics; I just like food :)
It takes a lot of wading through the BS high school musical drama to pull a few good nuggets of info out of some blogs....thats for certain. I don't care whose the in crowd or why they are having a tiff with some other obscure blogger. FYI they are all obscure bloggers! Nobody in day to day life recognizes any of these so called big names :).
So kick back relax and watch some Days of Our Lives....OR kick back relax and read some paleo blogs....both have the silly drama, but only with the blogs might you accidentally learn something, or get interested in looking into some research areas on your own.
I think all we really have in common is the fact that many in the "mainstream" think we are a fringe, wacko community. Even there, though, when you get past the paleo label, it seems more and more mainstream-types are finding areas of agreement with us.
For me, there is a need to apply some trust as I'm not qualified to judge the research for myself. I can read abstracts and overviews of methodology but that's as far as I go so at some point I have to select which point of view "sounds legit." I tend to listen hard when Melissa, Emily Deans, Chris Kresser and Dr Kurt Harris speak because my perception is that their credentials are guided by powerful minds. There are others, of course, but those are my primary "references."
I like the fiery discussions about the validity of research pieces and what they may mean to us, and I support scrutinizing behaviors that may not match public recommendations--and calling out those inconsistencies. I do get uncomfortable when harshly critical articles seem based purely on residual anger from past clashes--my discomfort stems from uncertainty about whether the position taken is driven by the history or the facts of the current instance.
If you ask me, "What is the Paleosphere?" I'm not sure I have a precise definition. I'm not really looking for something "to belong to" so for me it's more about who I want to hear more from and who doesn't set off any woo alarms (or make me want to rub my palm on my sleeve.)