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- As a further reminder that evolutionary explanations are routinely tacked on anything and everything, often to lend an air of scientific authority, Professor Michael Goran’s discussion of New York Mayor Bloomberg’s slam
on sugary soda provides valuable information but ultimately resorts to evolution to get the point across.
(Last week, we discussed how evolutionary biologist David Lieberman used authoritative statements about the evolution of the human sweet tooth to justify the need for governmental coercion to protect us from ourselves.) Goran, an expert on childhood obesity, offers an illuminating discussion of the sugary culprit commonly called “high fructose corn syrup.” He explains why the sugar commonly called “fruit sugar” is not nearly so healthy as the name might imply when it enters the human body minus the fruit. But while educating consumers about their nutritional choices, the author finally plays his evolution card when he says, “Studies show a strong link between high sugar consumption and obesity beginning in infancy. Why? Because from an evolutionary perspective babies are not programmed to handle fructose, which is not present in breast milk.” With all due respect to Goran’s otherwise helpful nutritional advice, evolution has nothing to do with the fact that human babies are designed to digest the kind of sugar in human breast milk. God designed human milk for human babies’ digestive systems, just as He designed cow’s milk to meet the needs of calves. A better use of the allotted word count might be to provide even more information about the actual effects of such a sweetener on young children.
1 The warnings Goran shares are clear and authoritative not because of evolution but because they are based on experimental/operational medical science. Evolution simply has nothing to do with it.
- Be sure to read Are Mermaids Our Evolutionary Cousins? to be informed about a recent television special. Unlike ordinary science fiction in which the fictional nature of the material is clear from the beginning, this “docufiction” leads the reader on with subtle wording and the style typically found in documentaries. The program also promotes a form of the “aquatic ape hypothesis” and a number of more commonly accepted evolutionary assertions. One of the video clips promoting the series, for example, notes the fact that a polar bear can swim underwater as evidence that marine mammals evolved from terrestrial ones.2 It says this is “documented science” and asserts polar bears are “evolving into marine mammals” before our eyes. The clip also uses speciation as evidence for evolution of new kinds of animals, a common logical error. Additional footage on the promotional clip refers to the exceptional aquatic abilities of some native people as evolutionary vestiges demonstrating “part of our evolution took place in the water.” The lurking implication is that some people are at a different place on the evolutionary scale than others. Thus the program’s promotional material has both subtle racist implications and not-so-subtle assertions about supposed human evolutionary history that can be easily absorbed by the unwary.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!