Have any of you heard of the the "naturalistic fallacy", "the appeal to nature", or the "is-ought problem"? Basically, these terms speak to the idea that just because something appears in nature or is "natural" it is not inherently good, beneficial, or just.
To underscore this point, here is an excerpt from the entry for "Appeal to Nature" @ Wikipedia.org
"Some popular examples of the appeal to nature can be found on labels and advertisements for food, clothing, and alternative herbal remedies. Labels may use the phrase "all-natural", to imply that products are Environmentally friendly and/or safe. However, many toxic substances are found in nature, including in common plant sources and herbs such as hemlock, nightshade, belladonna, and poisonous mushrooms, and these may have serious side effects."
Other examples of this logical fallacy include justifications for social Darwinism, abhorrent behaviors (rape, war, etc.), and eugenics.
This has repercussions for both a paleo practitioner as well as someone who is attempting to understand what paleo means.
I often field questions from friends who know I follow the "caveman" diet that confuse naturalism with paleo. Usually something like "Why do you (eat bacon, drink coffee, take supplements, etc.)? Cavemen didn't do/eat that."
I try to explain that the point isn't to mimic a caveman's lifestyle and that there is nothing special about something existing during the paleolithic age. Its about looking at what foods and practices seem to make sense and to use that as a jumping-off point for scientific explanation. Being "paleo" also does not imply rejection of modern foods/conveniences simply because they are "unnatural".
I recently posted about this on my blog ("Paleo and The Naturalistic Fallacy"), but wanted to bring it up on Paleohacks because I value this community and think that we serve as a resource for many people who are either deeply involved in or just getting started with the lifestyle. The sheer number of "Is 'X' Paleo?" questions indicated to me that a discussion of the philosophical implications of the evolutionary sciences could be beneficial to the community at large.