Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Few Words From the Moderator

By Christian Wernstedt


My name is Christian. (An admittedly awkward name for an Objectivist. I'm also from Sweden, which neatly completes the irony!)

In my early twenties I was quite puzzled by most peoples' stoic acceptance of living 50% of their lives in a state of rapidly progressing disability and disease, plunging "downhill" from around the age of 30 if not earlier. This apparent "unavoidable" feature of human life particularly didn't fit well with my observations of the relentless progress in technology that would, for instance, double a computer's processing capability every two years.

I thought generally that if the human mind could accomplish such a feat as figuring out how to put a man on the moon, then that same mind should also be able to understand why we get sick and why we age, as well as find ways to extend our disease free years and perhaps our ultimate life spans.

Thus I embarked on a quest for knowledge that I have pursued with varying degrees of intensity for almost two decades while striving to apply what I have learned to my own life and routines.

A transformative event that took my knowledge and applications to an entirely new level was discovering the work of Art De Vany in the summer of 2008. (For those of you who are new to the "paleo-sphere", De Vany is a scientist who has developed a distinct approach to diet and fitness through his refinement of concepts related to evolutionary thinking about the human body.)

Shortly thereafter, I also read the groundbreaking book "Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine" by Randolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams. This book convinced me that without an evolutionary perspective on health and medicine, it is very difficult to even begin to ask the right questions about the subject matters.

Most importantly, Nesse and Williams show a way out of the ridiculous atomism and myopic lack of conceptual integration that is plaguing modern health sciences. They do so by providing a perspective on the human body as an adaptive, self-regulating organism whose genetic blueprints have been shaped by Darwinian evolution.

I believe that this perspective is going to completely transform the health sciences. Not only will it put the final nail in the coffin of the fraudulent diet-heart hypothesis, but it will help to restore medicine's proud lineage back to Aristotle and Hippocrates (more on this perhaps in future posts). It is indeed exciting to be one of the first beneficiaries and early adopters of the intellectual products of this trend.

The cool thing about true theories is that they actually work in practice. This has certainly proven to be the case with the evolutionary take on a healthy lifestyle. Not just for myself, but for numerous people reporting astounding results. (We are going to have some exciting reports from Objectivists on that on this blog.)

I would also like to add that Objectivism and paleo concepts go incredibly well together. If Objectivism provides the ethical "user's guide" to how to live a happy, human existence, a modern paleo approach is indeed the "user's guide" to the human body.


PS. Incidentally, the Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff, who is a contemporary defender of integration in philosophy and all sciences, has apparently taken an interest in resistance training according to the concepts developed by Doug McGuff, author of "Body by Science". (Hat tip to Kevin Smith.) Doug McGuff is indeed one of the true integrators in the field of exercise science.

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