I'm not directing this at anyone in particular, and some of the people who've used this phrase are people whose posts I really respect. So no disrespect meant here.
In the past few months, I've seen a number of posts with a phrase like "need more ammo to debunk this claim/study."
This really bothers me. Does it bother anyone else?
It bothers me because the feeling that I get is, "I believe very much in Paleo/high-fat/whatever and this study says that something else is better. Can you give me some evidence that will reinforce my beliefs?"
Now, I KNOW that some of you do not mean it this way. But that is one way it comes across, especially online when I don't necessarily know you, and it may well come across that way to newbies who stumble onto this site.
If you've ever gone to the 30bananasaday site, you'll see posts like "Here are some blog posts critiquing the China Study. We need volunteers to debunk them!"
It's exceedingly rare (as far as I can tell) that any of them will ever say, "You know, I'm vegan and I have my reasons for it, but scientifically, the China Study is a bunch of garbage. Come on, guys."
This strikes me as very sad.*
Yes, there are some of us for whom Paleo is dogma and religion and it is sacrilege to eat potatoes or green beans or fermented grains. But I think the rest of us got into Paleo not because we wanted to believe in something, but because we realized that evolutionary biology is a damn good framework through which to examine human nutrition and health.
So, I would strongly prefer if we'd stop saying things like "help me debunk this stupid study, since it's obviously wrong (because it's not pro-Paleo)!" and start saying things like "Hey, I ran across this study that says that red meat causes cancer. Any merit to this study at all? Any criticisms of the analysis/methodology? Does it challenge any of our leading hypotheses about human nutrition and health? Is there any way we can use this to refine our knowledge?"
The difference is subtle, but very important.
Am I making a big deal out of nothing, or is this important to anybody else?
- [Edit] There's no doubt in my mind that if a pro-Paleo study came out, but it was poorly designed, PaleoNu, WholeHealthSource, Robb Wolf, et al. would be the first to jump all over it with their critiques. Similarly, if some new info comes to light that makes us question our most cherished assumptions and beliefs, they're always willing to say "I learned something new, and I was wrong before."