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I Quit Bullshit

Click to buy an entire BOOK defending science and reason.

Click to buy an entire BOOK defending science and reason. Or, viagra approved come to Gleebooks in Sydney next Tuesday, ambulance April 28 to hear us bang on about it. Book here.

I posted a piece earlier today about the idiocy of Paleo and folk-scientism generally.

To answer the assertions appended to it on social media masked as questions like “how is Paleo harming anyone?”, I could just suggest you read the fucking article. As it seems unlikely few people are likely to do this before holding forth with an opinion, the article is, in part, about the danger that inheres in the freedom people feel to hold forth with an opinion without actually reading anything.

Most particularly Australian chef Pete Evans who would not trouble me 23D3EB5000000578-2863994-image-m-17_1417921929346one jot had he not—and I don’t know how you could have missed this major news story if you have an interest in Paleo—attempted to publish a book recommending the “nourishment” of infants with liver and other foods roundly critiqued by those with a an actual qualification in dietary science. Dieticians (who are different to nutritionists in that they have actually gone to the bother of going to school and learning boring scientific facts HOW ELITIST! WHAT SELL OUTS! STOP SUCKING THE PRONG OF AGRIBUSINESS AND LISTEN TO PALEO PETE WHO IS MAGICALLY FREE FROM ANY DESIRE FOR PROFIT) have said that the recommendations in this book could potentially cause death or illness.

People are “free” to be idiots, of course. But they are not free to their idiocy if it impacts other people—in this case, babies. And they are not free to say that this is a gentle and marvellous diet if it does, in fact, create greater demand for meat which is an unsustainable product. Even if the meat is grass-fed, it still requires the clearing of land, the expulsion of methane and the dwindling of native habitat. And, of course, there is the small matter of death to stock and a diminished food security blah blah blah.

Just as long-term Atkins advocates were found to have a greater risk of colorectal cancer and other fat-related illnesses, the scholarship is showing that advocates of this fad, however much you characterise it as a harmless love of “wellness” whatever in blind shit that word means, are at similar risks.

But, more than anything, it is the ostrich grotesquery of “faith” in “folk wisdom” that is dangerous to us. Frankly, if we lose a few Paleo idiots to the Darwin Awards, the world will probably be a more mildly tolerable place. (But I think babies should be fed things that won’t kill them and administered with injections that will stop them, or other babies, from dying. I’m old-fashioned like that.) So, I don’t give a crap if you cram your face with activated cacao brownies and your bread-free mind with the worst kind of pseudo-science idiots more powerful than you can produce.

But, I do give a crap that the tendency to think that we understand “science” has become a primary fuel for idiot everyday conversation. I actually hate this pseudo-scepticism about “Big Sugar” and the “Immunisation Complex” so fucking much, that I have been driven to actually do work and rarely post on the We Are All Experts self-interested forum that is facebath.

You are not, in all likelihood, a dietary scientist. So quit banging on about “good fats”. You are not, in all likelihood, an archaeological anthropologist. So quit banging on about “what our ancestors ate”. You are not an immunologist so fucking give your children shots and you are not, for the sake of screaming shitfuck, an environmental scientist so quit pretending that your self-involved diet which—let’s be frank—is not about anything other than your desire to look nicer in a pair of skinny jeans is “good for the planet”.

And, no. I don’t claim to know the answers, either. But I know, as any person of fair mind would, that the “answers” on which you have decided are founded in reeking self-interest, ideological delusion and pseudo-science. Not “truth”; however gentle and lovely that truth might appear.

Paleo and the entire bullshit wellness industry are not some simple marvellous panacea for all the world’s problems and your half-baked, or raw, solutions have economic consequences. So man up and admit that this is about you you you and your desire to find a simple solution for what you imagine to be your problems and not, by any means, a cure for the world’s ills.

People are starving. Rather like they were in the actual Palaeolithic age. People are so hungry, that they must eat GMO crops which are the only fucking things that can withstand the violation that YOUR PRIVILEGED PALEO LIFESTYLE depends upon. Still, you know, be sure to campaign against GMO.  If there were not a literal billion people going hungry in the world and more working in the service of our privilege, you would not be in any fucking position to arse around with pseudo-science and say “I think we need to get back to nature” and “Monsanto is evil!”. You would not have the luxury of mindlessly discussing a return to a prehistory that is ENTIRELY FABRICATED BY PEOPLE LIKE PETE EVANS.

I am not saying that starving people are the direct consequence of your privilege. You had no say in it, of course. There is no need to moralise and blame the lavish self-regard of our era because that self-regard is itself a by-product of the market. You know. The same global market that keeps people in labour camps making the things that we in the west can consume.

This is the REAL “conspiracy”, as many of you seem to be so keen to identify one. The conspiracy is not Big Pharma, whose “natural” supplements you may be buying unawares.  The conspiracy is not the Industrial-Medical complex; however much medical science and profit have, and they have, formed an unwholesome fraternity. The conspiracy is not even the double-talk of Big Paleo which perpetually destroys the thing that it perpetually promises with its creation of another greedy market.

The real conspiracy is that there is no conspiracy. Or, that there really cannot be one.

The real conspiracy is that the system forms itself. It is not about individual morality and it is not about twelve powerful men in a room deciding on the future of the earth. I have no doubt that there are rooms filled with powerful men covertly attempting to set a course for the planet but these plans will never be reified exactly as described because it is a vast system of screw-ups and poverty and wealth that just happened. And is permitted to continue because we often believe in STUPID IDEAS. Like, for example, we have the “individual choice” not to vaccinate our children even though this will directly harm others or the “individual choice” to just keep eating our artisanal beef even though this indirectly relies on a very real and painful inequality.

So, don’t Quit Sugar. Maybe Quit bullshit instead. And if you continue to Quit Sugar, please at least be honest with yourself and say it’s because you want to look nice in skinny jeans and don’t give me a faux-moralising lecture about how sugar is “addictive”. The science is undecided on that one, by the way. Sugar may not be addictive. But being a fucking idiot certainly is a high a bunch of you cannot seem to do without.

Fuck off, then. I am off to do some fucking work. Which is not a state I recommend but is somehow preferable to the endurance of your faith, which you tell yourself is independent opinion, in marketed bullshit.


153 Responses to “I Quit Bullshit”

  1. Muntz says:

    Hey Raze. Nice rant, you still got it…

    Attempt at fawning flattery over, I think the “paleo” side of this whole thing is indeed more than a little bit silly – I suspect the number of extant cave doodlings documenting the weekly food diary of Mr and Ms Ten Thosand BCE is less than one. Rounding errors may apply. And anyone that grins as much as P. Evans is clearly suffering from an undiagnosed brain injury. HOWEVER… (cue eye roll from H. Razer)…

    There’s also a fair bit of sense in the idea that the modern industrial food megalith (hmm, sounds kinda catchy, if I say so myself) is churning out great swathes of crap in the hope of making us pay two Australian dollars for our daily Jumbo Pack of Cheezy Poofs (no slur intended) washed down with 600ml of High Energy Zappo Drink in the primary colour of our choosing. Which is probably Not A Good Thing. The bottom line is that the “low-fat” dietary mantra of the whenevers (60s? I forget) has resulted in most people eating a lot of processed food substitutes with little or no fat, undetectable levels of micro-nutritients and high levels of carbs and sugar. Which our long suffering livers (some already working hard to handle Happy Hour at the Fitzroy Cider Emporium of choice) can’t really handle as well as you might imagine, and (here’s the sciencey bit) get converted to human fats inside the unsuspecting person eating the low-fat “food” from Multinational Sludge Conglomerate Inc.

    So lotsa processed carbs and sugar make us fat. And lead to fatty livers (also Not a Good Thing), insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels (again, Not Good At All), diabetes, metabolic disorders. All these factors are becomingly increasingly suspect in the high prevalence of The Big C (a Very Very Shitty Thing Indeed).

    Now – eating a cow for dinner is probably “A Bit Stupid” – but there is a middle ground. Moderate levels of protein, from a variety of sources (including nuts, cheese, beans, fish, eggs, and a leetle wafer of cow too, if you have an agreeable cow on hand). Lots of vegetables, especially green leafy ones (duh). Small amounts of fruit, avoiding the big sugar hit from juices please. Boost Juice is nice if you ignore the 30 teaspoons of sugar going on. Yep, steer clear of sugar wherever possible. Avoid highly processed carbs, they really don’t have much in the way of nutrition other than the high energy content, which you may not need unless you are a member of the Icelandic Biathlon squad. See earlier diatribe. But (controversial bit) don’t feel shy about having some butter on your beans, a nice bit of cheddar with your Chateau Cardboard, some avocado, olive oil on your salad. Even a few chops for Sunday dinner, and bacon for Saturday morning hangover cures. Saturated fats have been given a really bad rap without really decent evidence (that sciencey stuff). Having a metabolism that is burning fat gives you more even energy levels, without all the insulin trying to level out your blood sugar levels (see earlier diatribe).

    Bullshit anecdotal bit, ignore if you want: I’ve dropped from 95 to 84 kg in six months from cutting out sugary snacks and junk food (wow, shocking hey) but otherwise eating the foods above whenever I feel hungry (which is basically not that often). And for the record I loathe exercise other than a bit of over-priced European road-bike poseuring on days with a W in them. And feel just fecking better than I used to. As a forty-something bloke who was napping for Australia not so long ago, that’s a pretty good result. Once my blood test results go back to decent numbers (I had shit-haus triglyceride thingies) I’ll probably get a bit less militant and sneak an occasional chocolate glazed. But really, I’m pretty relaxed with the idea of forgoing copious amounts of Cheezy Poofs and Fizz for the forseeable future. Maybe one day I’ll euthanise myself with OfficeWorks bulk packs of Allens Snakes and craft beer.

  2. Bf says:

    I really think you need to read this book.

    In it u will discover scientific thought that might, might tone your language from disgust to just hate. And it might also enlighten your own ignorance on the subject.

  3. Bob Hart says:

    You’re right on the money, Helen. Evans is dill, and was one long before someone taught him the “P” word, whereupon, lo, he was immediately seduced by the idea of making a buck from it, but not sufficiently seduced by the concept as to impose it on the unspeakably awful reality TV show that, tragically, subsidises his stupidity. And please explain: if non-Paleo tucker it is really that bad, how does he judge it – OSMOSIS? But just one thing: i have a word for you, and I never thought I would hear anyone say that, least of all me. But it’s DIETITIAN! Looks silly spelt that way, I know, but there you go…

  4. Pete Dillon says:

    Helen I love it that you have not lost a shred of your caustic wit. For many years I have known Pete Evans and he has become decidedly ore wacky year on year. I love your commitment to cleverly and well intended argument peppered with filth and blue language – that makes me smile a lot. And I love that you have no fear of expressing well researched and thoughtful debate with whatever colourful terms and idioms that you choose. There should be more honest writing like this in our mainstream media and less of the kowtowing to the rich bastards that are forcing poorly chosen nut bags to run the country. You are a gem and a trull living Australian treasure. As you were.

  5. Pete Dillon says:

    Love it Muntz…

  6. Glen Turner says:

    As a Real Scientist I applaud. However some areas of science are at a really dodgy intersection of science and commercial interest. That’s a major part of how we got into this vaccination mess in the first place, with Once-Real Scientist Andrew Wakefield fraudulently inventing the autism issues with the MMR vaccine in order to promote his commercial interest in a single-antigen vaccine.

    I warily view GMOs, “Clean Coal” and Carbon Sequestration as also being at that junction. There’s certainly no assurance that encouraging GMOs will solve starvation, since production seems to me to be only one factor in the lack of food in many parts of the world (no matter how much food you produce some armed groups will still use withholding at as a weapon in their conflict). But that’s well beyond my area of expertise: which is why I am wary at taking bald statements from spokespeople at face value, but still willing to be convinced by data and argument.

    • Helen Razer says:

      Glen. I am not at all suggesting that science exists in a superior moral vacuum free from taint by the everyday.
      But I am sure you will agree that scientific method, which will never be what Popper wants, is the only means of providing proof and eliminating doubt we have.
      Of course science can be wrong and Newton’s calculations were enough to get us to the moon but not sufficient to get us back. But this does not mean that science was “wrong” but that its ongoing calculations are extraordinary. And of course, for all the lives it saved from death by malnutrition, golden rice *may* turn out to be an unsustainable crop. But this does not mean that the method of inquiry that modified this crop is itself broke and I don’t think it necessarily means that the kneejerk response to GMO as “meddling with mother nature” is legitimate.
      Of course science is influenced by the market. But Paleo types, which are becoming a worrying majority, seem to believe that anything that is the opposite of science is somehow *not* influenced by the market. Everything is influenced by the market and I think that we could argue that Pete Evans is almost pure market.
      Surely the question here is not to question science itself but to fight for its method. At a time when the CSIRO is being gutted and a nation of smug middle class idiots are ready to agree that their homespun wisdom is somehow better than science, do you really think saying that “sometimes science gets it wrong” is in any wasy useful?
      Science practised well (and it can never be practised perfectly as we know) is the best thing that we have. There is no better system than methodical doubt. Defend science and its ability to be practised. For the sake of shit, don’t give these nutters reason to suppose that their vanity that allows them to say “my instinct knows best” is worth indulging.

  7. Glen Turner says:

    Thanks for your response Helen, I really appreciate you spending time on it on a Sunday evening. I’ve read it a number of times and find myself agreeing more each time. More power to your arm.

  8. Jools says:

    Just like everything else: do what you want, just don’t bang on about it, or expect others to do the same.

  9. Jools says:

    ….and this was a comment on the original thread! Not the subsequent comments. Bullshit subsists in people telling other people what to do.

  10. James Jelley says:

    Having read your original post and this subsequent one it is very clear to me now and no surprise that Pete Evans is clearly somebody that you will never be and that is a good role model for my kids. Your consistent use of foul language is a disgrace and adds nothing to your pathetic attack on Pete Evans and other members of the Paleo Community. The Paleo Community does not claim to eat “The Actual Cavemen Diet.” Firstly that would differ in every part of the world and secondly the majority of both plant and animal species no longer exist on the planet. What we do is try to eat as closely to a natural diet as we can in the modern world. We are no kooks and extremists but rather ordinary people who are trying to do our best for our families and our own health. This type of trash does not help anybody other than your tiny group of readers who like knocking anything they can find to have a dig at.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Thank you. Thank you for saying everything I’ve always wanted to say to the paleo evangalists posting crap on FB. (Do they seriously think our ancestors baked paleo muffins with coconut flour, in the microwave?) And now I’m off to bake a gluten and dairy filled loaf of bread to have with my delicious non-paleo dinner…

  12. Tony says:

    I spent many a year laughing along with you on JJJ. Always honest, to the point and very very funny. You’ve not let down a new reader once again. Keep up the good work and very glad I was lead to this site.

  13. Tony says:

    Oh and people should be vetted before they broadcast. We’ve lost that.

  14. Damo says:

    I’m allergic (tested) to most grains.
    Therefore, everyone who is me will benefit from a lacto-paleo diet.
    Many people who are not me report feeling ‘better’ following a paleo diet. This also means little scientifically, but what works for them works for them.

    On another note, since when is land not cleared to grow vegan crops? Not sprayed with pesticides?
    How can this be any better than grazing cattle? Maybe we should be farming more ‘roo, far less soil damage involved.
    Any, please continue, always a good read.

    • Helen Razer says:

      Yes. There are those with genuine allergies to certain foods. Even some of those allowed in the Paleo diet.
      I think I have made it plain why I think gentle tolerance of psuedo-scientific bullshit is not okay. Climate change. Vaccination. Potentially fatal outcomes for babies on Paleo diets.
      Confusing personal opinion with science is dangerous. I have explained this about a dozen times.
      While it is true that crop farming isn’t a lovely pony ride through agricultural heaven and is in need of meaningful and sustainable reform, it is not true that it has an environmental impact comparable to that of stock. Zucchinis don’t fart, for starters.

  15. Mmpp says:

    Wow you really are full of yourself ! That’s 5 minutes if my life I won’t get back . Shall not bother to read any more of your garbage

  16. Julie Faye says:

    Well said Esther. I certainly wouldn’t take the word of any box-celeb over someone who actually has true knowledge of nourishment and allergens…. such as my GP who is a specialist in ladies health and a trained dietician and nutritionist – and a smart woman I am just proud to know really.

    You are obviously another one of these women. Kudos.

    As for some of the other comments below, well don’t get me started on the Heart Foundation – didn’t McD’s get a tick? I mean really.

    Helen, your writing is a true delight to read. Have a marvellous day all. x

  17. gringo says:

    Must be wonderful to be such a righteous cynic.
    Pity to the others on here that call this sort of acid thought “delightful”.

    It isn’t even worth beginning to challenge your close minded thought processes ,you’re too far gone as are you’re few admirers .

    Being a cynical fool isn’t intelligent .

  18. Jamie says:

    Problem Helen is you hang your hat on your beloved science and shoot down in flames anything that doesn’t fit into your definition of acceptable “science”.

    Yet you sit on your high horse knocking the shit out of the stuff you say isn’t science and say how dangerous Paleo Pete is.

    Ridiculous calling Pete Evans dangerous and vilifying Paleo when the damage done by drugs is so much greater .

    Your thinking is out of whack and bias .

    Science gets it wrong badly lots but because Paleo isn’t in your definition of science it’s all BS .

  19. Damo says:

    I’m kind of glad you both put in the time to be vegan, and cop flak for it, as those that prefer a more paleo vibed diet also cop flak for it from yourself. Whatever makes the individual comfortable about their diet seems to get them more out of it, whatever science is applicable or not. The trick is to not subscribe to pseudo science relating to your choices to be comfortable with them, just accept them.