The title of this post is in reference to the blog Paleo Drama, which I have mixed opinions about. Although it does expose some Paleo quackery, it also gives attention to the very people they detest on topics that have nothing to do with health. In the digital age, it is best to shun the behavior you abhor, not to shame it. Shame rarely works anymore, it just delivers more attention to what you despise.
CriticalMas, a blogger I otherwise like even though I don’t agree with his stance on for example, reading primary scientific literature which he has grouped in as “Pubmed Warriors” with people who just keyword search for pubmed abstracts that look like they support their ideas and don’t read anything. “ I see nutrition through the eyes of traditional cooking first and science second.” I often highlight dysfunctional traditional cultural behaviors regarding food and other things on my main blog because of such attitudes. Reminds me I need to write about those more to find excess romanticization of the past. On that line I liked this in Andrew Kim’s latest post:
I tend to stay clear of ‘evolutionary lines of argument’ because they are subject to a bit too much speculation for my taste, put too much focus on “traditional diets” that differ wildly between populations, and ignore the experiments in which animals reared in “artificial” settings live significantly longer than their counterparts living in the wild.
I do see the value of evolutionary biology, though the paleo community has often strayed quite far from it, but I also value the rest of science too and think we can learn from it. In terms of traditional food I think we can learn from it and I tend to live by the “precautionary principle,” but it has its limits.
I feel I have accomplished a lot with this blog compared to the work it takes. Though many have tried to shame me into shutting it down, I have no regrets. The sad thing is how little time this takes for me, I see this stuff just while I’m reading, I don’t have to seek it out. I do get sent a fair amount of stuff from readers.
I’ve never been a fan of just ignoring things that are harmful, it doesn’t work. I guess some people place a lot of faith in the wisdom of crowds. We clearly have different views of human nature if he thinks that health bloggers don’t speak up on other issues for the health of their readers for their sake and not because they need to keep up the party line for the $$$. And I definitely feel tolerating hateful behavior is unhealthy. It’s a social stress, which can be just as bad as a dietary or sleep stress so many health bloggers go on about. I like it how for example Nikoley deletes comments that call him fat, but not those defending abuse of women.
EIther way, from the correspondences I’ve received, this blog has led to a greater awareness of hateful behavior that harms the discourse we wish to have on health. Let’s no pretend we had this fantastic discourse about food before I started this. In fact, I think a lot of voices were lost in the pseudoscientific hateful din, though it hasn’t quite died down yet. But don’t take my word from it, take Itsthewoo’s who is not exactly my biggest fan (in fact she might hate me, but whatever, she’s got some insights that are interesting):
As much as I’ve criticized Melissa McEwen, her position has clearly been the most sane and rational in the paleosphere. While overly critical/ignorant of low carbohydrate eating, she’s usually more right than wrong, such as pointing out the repulsive levels of misogyny (Nikoley/G. Swann/Dada) and flagrant totally absurd lies & quackery (Kruse) that has run RAMPANT and gone totally unaccounted for. In fact, as a direct result of her website(s), we have observed a *noticeable decline* in the level of insanity and hateful discourse. I don’t think she has been properly credited for making these baffoons get their shit together, so I would like to properly address / thank her for making the paleosphere a little less disgusting. Kruse is as quiet as a mouse, and I can’t remember the last time RN featured some old fucking man with delusions of grandeur spewing the word “sluts” all over the place. PD seems to be defunct now but from a big picture perspective there is a linear correlation between that website (and “shitkrusesays”) and the utter lack of fraud/insanity/hate now.