Note: This post features the occasional use of language you wouldn't normally include in a Mother's Day card. If you are easily offended, please close this page now.
If scientists ever decided to rename the human species, I’d have several choice recommendations for them. Near the top of the list would be Homo superficialis, a moniker that pays tribute to the long-standing human obsession with superficial bullshit.
Humans, in large part, don’t like thinking. While it doesn’t require any actual muscular exertion, thinking nevertheless does require effort.
Now, before I go on, I'd like to share an email that Richard Nikoley over at FreeTheAnimal.com recently received from one of his readers (Rich, as some of you may be aware, was not exactly a big fan of mine several years ago, but has since changed his opinion):
"KL" writes to Richard:
I'm new to your blog, and have been reading with much appreciation, as I got there by researching the now very old Eades vs. Colpo mess. I'm confused. At the end of this blog entry: http://freetheanimal.com/2010/03/isnt-it-time-for-anthony-colpo-to-get-a-life.html, you state "3/3/2012: Things have changed substantially. All explained in this post by Anthony Colpo." I read that post, and it seems to me that nothing has changed at all - Colpo seems to keep singing the same old tune. Maybe it was dripping sarcasm that flew over my head, like your earlier statement: "In case you don't know, Colpo has run a most ridiculous campaign against Dr. Michael Eades, begun way back in 2008 or before. You can see all the posts at his state-of-the-art website." - His website, to me, looks like it was designed by a rank amateur, probably AC himself - so I took that statement to be dark humor. In Eades' blog comments, I see readers who noticed that AC's website was down for awhile and came back redesigned. If I'm now looking at the "improved" redesign, I cringe when I imagine the horribleness of what existed before. In any case, if it wasn't sarcasm, and things on 3/3/12 really have changed substantially, could you please enlighten me as to what you meant?
Richard's reply to "KL":
In a word, honesty. While I've met Dr Eades and Marry Dan, been their guests and sat with them and luv 'em to death, and believe they truly want what's best for people, I conclude that Anthony Colpo has better info and believe its better for this whole paleo/LC deal people are going through.
Almost nobody really digs into the science. Anthony does, and he finds that not only does it matter how much you eat, it matters a little how much you move, though I personally don't think exercise outside of an active life matters for general health.
I swallowed my bullshit pride and emailed Anthony a long time back. He even blogged about it. I have not seen anything from him since that would make me regret that.
My reply to Rich when he forwarded KL's email:
thanks for the kind words in my defense. What's scary about this guy's email is that he seems far more concerned with the visual appearance of my website rather than the scientific veracity of what I'm actually saying. Given that my website deals with the science of nutrition/training/health issues, and not the world of graphic design, the site's appearance is a big fat non-issue.
Having said that, since changing the website graphics I've received nothing but compliments, and my daily hit rate rose markedly in the subsequent months, so maybe this poor fellow needs to get his glasses checked lol [Anthony's postscript: Before anyone writes to piss and moan about their difficulties reading sites with dark backgrounds, please click the green print icon at the beginning of this or any other article on my site...problem solved]
You may want to forward to this reader the following video of Russell Brand taking a bunch of air-headed MSNBC hosts to task for their preoccupation with superficial nonsense, and ask him if he can see the parallels between their behaviour and his own email 😉
Russell Brand mocking some vacuous MSNBC show hosts for their preoccupation with banal nonsense. Also note the male anchor's thinly-veiled and unprovoked condescension towards Brand (insecure men often do this in the presence of other males they subconsciously perceive as a sexual/competitive threat).
KL has a problem. A big problem:
He can't think for himself to save his life.
When attempting to make sense of what he calls the "Eades vs. Colpo mess", did he consult the research cited by the the girdle-wearing one and yours truly, and analyze it for himself to see who was most accurately representing scientific reality?
Hell no. That would require, you know, thinking and shit.
Instead, he used my website graphics as his foundation for assessing my worthiness as a diet and health commentator!
Not surprisingly, that didn't get him very far. But even then, he still didn't turn to the science. Instead, he did what all clueless sheep do:
He asked someone else for their opinion.
Thankfully, in this instance that someone was Richard, although whether Rich's answer was what KL was hoping for is doubtful. I get the distinct impression KL was hoping Rich would reply with some kind of Colpo hate-fest.
Good on ya, KL.
You're Joshing Me, Right!?
As my regular readers know, I don't post in forums, I don't have a comments section on my website, and I don't leave comments on other people's blogs. The reason is because, well, I have a life.
However, I recently made a rare exception on Evelyn "Carbsane" Kocur's blog. I like Evelyn and think she's done a great job of debunking the pseudoscientific drivel of Gary "Exercise is Useless for Fat Loss!" Taubes. And so when Evelyn recently tagged me on Facebook for a post about a certain crusty old low-carb guru and his newfound South African admirer, I moseyed on over to her site to check it out:
In the course of reading Evelyn's article, I was surprised to see a reprinted comment, apparently left by one Professor Richard Feinman at Eades' blog some time ago, in which he claimed he sent yours truly a "challenge" to define a "nutritional calorie", and that my lack of response suggested to him that I'd undergone "spontaneous combustion".
The only thing lamer than Dick Feinman's challenge is the fact he never issued it. At least not to me. Feinman, it would appear, suffers from Harley Johnstone Syndrome, a debilitating mental condition in which the sufferer experiences delusions of grandeur, which in turn leads him to publicly wank on about 'challenges' that occurred only within the masturbatory confines of his own mind.
And so, in the interests of historical accuracy, I found myself clicking the comment button and explaining what really happened. Namely, the only email I ever received from the reality-challenged Feinman was a totally unsolicited one circa late 2005, right when the low-carb camp was getting its panties in a right royal twist over my comments about calories being the ultimate arbiter of weight loss. In this email, Feinman boasted about his 30 years of experience in teaching thermodynamics, and that he was willing to "teach" me some of this stunning wisdom. This, mind you, from a cherry-picking low-carb shill who - like Taubes and Eades - carefully selects the small handful of studies that can be distorted to support his argument, while blatantly ignoring the dozens of tightly controlled metabolic ward studies that show his claims to be utter garbage.
As I recounted on Evelyn's blog, upon receipt of Feinman's email I did what I usually do when confronted by the self-aggrandizing hogwash of a braggart who thinks he knows so much but in fact knows so little: I shook my head, marveled at his audacious self-conceit, then promptly went back to eBay to score some more Ramones memorabilia.
The Ramones: Innovative, pioneering, talented, energetic, entertaining, uncompromisingly sincere about their art, and just plain friggin' awesome. Oh, and - despite consuming pizza before every show - slim. Everything that low-carb gurus aren't.
End of story. Or so I thought.
Some joker called "Josh" then chimed in to the conversation, not to ask me about diet, nor fat loss, nor training...but why I called my website a "website" instead of a "blog". I couldn't help but wonder why this would even matter to anyone, but nevertheless I politely replied to Josh that my website functioned as a static site and not a blog, and therefore I referred to it as such. I even quoted from the Wikipedia definition of a blog, which says one of the defining characteristics of a "blog" is its interactivity, which includes social networking and a comments section. Yes, I have the little social networking buttons - as do plenty of other static websites - but I don't have a comments section. As I stated to Josh, "social networking" is of little concern to me; yes, I'm on Facebook, but to date I've never posted a Youtube video, ignore the daily requests to join LinkedIn, and will start "Tweeting" the same day my brain and testicles bid me farewell and head off to a retirement village in Queensland. My website serves as a vehicle for me to relay my thoughts and findings on diet, health and nutrition, not to make new pen pals.
Again, I thought I'd explained myself clearly and figured that was the end of the matter.
What happened next literally stunned me. You can read the comments here, but in short, the almighty "Josh" promptly launched into a tirade, calling me "cowardly" and a "bullshitter" for insisting my website was a static site and not a blog. Josh started wanking on about what technically constitutes a blog, and claimed that both the WordPress platform and the graphics theme I used were conclusive evidence I was a "blogger".
It's not Josh's name-calling that left me bewildered. The Internet is worse than alcohol for turning little pussies into roaring lions, because it allows people to abuse the object of their disaffection without the risk of getting their jaw smashed in return. That lifetime members of the 2-Inch Club like Josh use this safety aspect of the Internet to run at the mouth is hardly breaking news.
What took me back is the reason why Josh felt compelled to call me names. My heinous crime, in Josh's eyes, was, not to rob someone's grandmother or to issue audaciously false claims about nutrition and health, but to claim my website was a static site and not a blog.
For the record, I use a pre-packaged template called LondonCreative from ThemeForest which comes packaged with both a static component and a blog option. If you look at the live preview of the theme here, you'll note there is a tab up the top that says "BLOG". Now, if you look at the exact same spot on this here website, you'll notice there is no such tab. The reason for that is simple: I did not activate the blog option when installing the theme. This here is a static website, my friends.
However...let's pretend that a panel of really bored preeminent IT experts from around the world convened one day, and formed a consensus that my website did indeed technically qualify as a blog. The logical response to that would have to be...
WHO GIVES A SHIT.
So here we are: After 2.4 million years of human 'evolution' and 'survival of the fittest', and this species is still pumping out scores of superficial, utterly clueless numbskulls like Josh and KL.
For the answer to that question, we need to dig into a little evolutionary psychology.
Why Humans are So Clueless and Superficial
When humans are presented with new information of unknown veracity, they are faced with a number of choices. The ideal choice would be for them to engage their rational faculties, and begin assessing the accuracy of that information by using such qualities and strategies as reason, logic, past experience, empirical evidence and examination of any controlled research on the issue they are assessing.
The problem is, no modern human can reasonably be expected to conduct a rigorous investigation of every single piece of new information they will encounter throughout their lives.
Even primitive Stone Age humans faced this conundrum, so they adopted a number of time-saving shortcuts. One of which was:
Listen to your elders, authority figures, and other people who give the impression they know what they're talking about.
When a tribal elder told you not to eat the leaves of the Unga Bunga plant, it was because many moons ago some of his forebears had done just that and became violently ill. Some even died. Those witness to this unfortunate turn of events wisely concluded the leaves of the Unga Bunga plant were unfit for human consumption, and they proceeded to share this vital piece of knowledge with the rest of the tribe. As the word spread, Stone Age mums, dads, uncles, aunties, nonnas, nonnos and other authority figures subsequently passed this life-saving knowledge onto their siblings and grandkids, who in turn relayed the information to their own siblings and grandkids:
"[Grunt] No eat Unga Bunga plant or [grunt] you DIE [double grunt]!"
And so those who listened to their elders and avoided contact with the Unga Bunga plant lived to a ripe old age (around 30 years), long enough to bear offspring and ensure their genes would keep on keeping on long after they’d stopped grunting and left this earth for that big cave in the sky.
In contrast, those cheeky mavericks who figured, “Ah, what do those hairy old farts know? How bad can a few chews of an Unga Bunga leaf be? I heard it gives you a kick-ass buzz!”, weren’t so lucky. Their lack of regard for authority and established wisdom often cost them their lives, removing them from the reproductive pool before they had the opportunity to pass on their genes.
In this manner, human evolution routinely weeded out rebellious, independent thinkers and ensured the majority of humans were conformist creatures who placed great emphasis on the edicts of authority figures.
Humans also worked out early on that there was safety in numbers; that their survival and replication prospects were greatly enhanced when they were part of a cohesive tribe that pooled its food acquisition efforts, united against outside attackers, and provided a selection of potential partners with which they could copulate and create offspring. And so not only did humans evolve to revere authority, they also evolved to place great emphasis on peer approval and what others thought about them.
These were actually protective traits back in the Stone Age, when the main threats to survival were well established and life pretty much revolved entirely around finding food and avoiding predation from wild animals and hostile neighbouring tribes. Ignoring well-established tribal wisdom about which plants were okay to eat, about which animals were okay to approach and which to run like buggery from the minute you spotted them, often led to a greatly shortened lifespan. Acting in a manner that alienated other members of the tribe placed you at risk of being ostracized from the tribe, greatly reducing your ability to secure sufficient food, protection and sexual opportunities.
In short, back in the Stone Age, being a conformist sheep actually wasn’t such a bad thing.
However, life has changed a lot since the Paleolithic era.
Agriculture: Why it Brought Much More than Just Gluten Intolerance
The advent of agriculture forever changed humankind as we know it. With the advent of crop cultivation and animal domestication, humans went from being nomadic to sedentary. When I say sedentary, I don't mean that cavefolk began sitting around on their fat asses all day eating Krispy Kremes, Facebooking and watching Internet porn. That shit came later.
The term sedentary, as used by Paleontologists, archeologists and anthropologists (if there any other relevant gists I neglected to mention, they have my sincere apologies) refers to the phenomenon of groups of human beings permanently settling in one location.
When agriculture first kicked off, those sedentary groups were quite small. But then something interesting occurred. Women, no longer having to simultaneously perform the demanding task of gathering food while carrying their infant children, started having more babies. Yep, this was the original baby boom, and its effects were truly world-changing. Population growth accelerated, leading to communities far larger than those ever seen in hunter-gatherer times. Researchers have observed repeatedly that breaking point for a nomadic tribal group is around 150 members; once a group grows larger than this, intra-group conflicts intensify to the point where the group will splinter into 2 or more smaller outfits.
But with people rooted to a fixed geographic location because of the new realities of food production, populations quickly surged past the 150 mark. This led to the formation of villages and the emergence of what anthropologists refer to as "big men": Individuals whose social skills, charisma and/or cunning allowed them to hold sway over their fellow citizens, to the extent where they became societal leaders who organized and directed food production activities.
You should know the rest by now...villages became cities, and "big men" became kings with access to armies that they used to seize the land and resources of neighbouring populations. The small and relatively egalitarian societies of hunter-gatherer tribes were eclipsed by state societies ruled by autocratic individuals and families. While the rule of royalty was eventually succeeded in most modernized countries by 'democratically elected' governments, the underlying (and rather remarkable) phenomenon remained: Never before had so few people had such all-encompassing control over the behaviour of so many others.
This stunning degree of obedience simply would not have been possible if not for the inbuilt human tendency to revere authority - an evolutionary hard-wired trait that remains as strong as ever to this day.
Evolutionary psychology is the cognitive equivalent of the "Paleo" school of nutrition - but without the religious cultism, thank goodness. Ask any die-hard "Paleo" adherent about their eating style and they'll break into a sing-song diatribe about how cavemen ate meat, veggies, and berries, and how humans are not suited to cereal grain consumption because we only started eating grains 10,000 years ago. They may also break into a similar rant about dairy, depending on whether they subscribe to The Original Paleo® or Paleo 2.0 - Now with Butter & Cream!®
The Paleolithic diet concept certainly is a valid one, but the details are a little more complex than what typical "Paleo" dogma would have you believe.
In a nutshell, humans are omnivorous creatures that do best on a mixed diet comprised of animal flesh and plant foods, which is the kind of diet we spent millions of years evolving on. Contrary to the self-serving and dogmatic hogwash emanating from the low-carb and vegan camps, there is plenty of evidence to show diets comprised entirely of either animal or plant foods are nowhere near optimal for human health. As for cereal grains and dairy, which we've had 10,000 years or less to genetically adapt to, they do tend to be far more problematic than most other foods in terms of intolerance and allergy. Contrary to Official Paleo Dogma™, this doesn't mean all humans should avoid all grains and all dairy - it simply means these foods tend to cause problems for a lot more people than other foods humans have been consuming for far longer. The reason being that humans as a species simply haven't had enough time to fully genetically adapt to these fundamental changes in diet composition.
Now here's what a lot of people don't realize: Humans didn't just eat a certain way for millions of years, but they also lived and behaved in certain ways during that time, and those lifestyles and behaviours resulted in cognitive patterns that were common to humans all around the globe. These included, but were certainly not limited to:
-Submission to authority figures and reverence for those with high social status;
-Great emphasis on conformity and peer approval;
-Heavy reliance on superficial characteristics (e.g. appearance, body language and voice characteristics) when assessing unfamiliar individuals.
Just as humans have not yet had sufficient time to fully and physically adapt to the dietary changes wrought by the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions, humans have not yet had time to fully cognitively adapt to the massive environmental and psychosocial changes wrought by these same revolutions.
Psychologically, we are "Stone Agers living in the fast lane". We like to think of ourselves as more civilized and enlightened than our Paleolithic forebears, but so much of our daily behaviour is still beyond our control and even our comprehension. We frequently and automatically respond to situations and stimuli using largely subconscious responses that were cognitively hard-wired into us hundreds of thousands and even millions of years ago.
These are the very same universal characteristics that allow small groups of politicians and bureaucrats, most of whom are in rather pathetic physical condition and couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag, to easily control millions of their fellow citizens and to dictate to them what they can and can't do. This remarkable power even extends to the ability to blatantly expropriate a substantial portion of the population's yearly earnings. When organized criminals attempt to do this, it's called extortion; when the government does it, it's called taxation, even though both issue exorbitant bills for substandard and often unnecessary services and use the same underlying mechanism of enforcement (i.e., physical force).
Perhaps the most frightening marker of the power these individuals wield is that, throughout history and to this day, they have easily convinced millions of younger citizens to join their armed forces and fight wars essentially based on nothing other than personal aggrandizement, seizure of resources, and financial profit for vested interests, such as the military-industrial complex which relies on continued human bloodshed for its obscene profits. George W. Bush was a chimp-like creature who struggled to mouth a coherent sentence, and ex-Australian Prime Minister John Howard struggled to bowl a cricket ball without falling on his ass, but that didn't stop them from ordering thousands of young men and women off to foreign countries to get bombed and shot at.
Any species that submits to subhuman fucktards like this has serious issues with authority worship.
This klutz led Australia for eleven years, sending our kids off to fight in a fraudulent war and, like his narcissistic predecessors, signing us up for 'free trade' agreements in which we got the raw end of the deal. And if you think he was bad, you should see the two losers that came after...
Oh, and lest you think I'm some "lefty" picking on the "right", rest assured there is little I find so sadly confirming of human sheepishness as the totally undeserved reverence routinely awarded to Barack Obama. Never before in recent history has someone sounded so grandiose and reassuring while uttering nothing but a complete load of meaningless, inane bullshit. Oh Bummer has failed miserably to deliver his incessant promise of "Change!" and has followed up his promise to reverse government intrusion in our lives by overseeing even more government intrusion and attempting to justify it at every turn.
And people love him for it.
The Invisible Hand, and How it Effortlessly Takes Your Money
Politicians are hardly the only ones who exploit the sheep-like nature of Homo sapiens.
You'd better believe that the big advertising firms are fully aware of how human psychology can be manipulated and exploited for profit; heck, they've made a virtual science out of it.
Advertisers know damn well they can manipulate our worship of authority and social status, our need for peer approval, and our desire to be popular and wanted. That's why advertisers creates ads with celebrities pimping products they've never used; while there's nothing to suggest a Hollywood celebrity or famous athlete knows more about beverages or fragrances than the next person, we've been evolutionary programmed to place great emphasis on what those with high social status think and do.
Advertisers know full well there is little difference between a $30 pair of jeans and a $300 pair. But they know plenty of people will still fork out the extra $270 if the latter can be built into a trendy brand name, because the human need for peer approval is so strong. People will by the $300 pair because, subconsciously, they believe this will help portray a more favourable impression of themselves to others.
Check Your SQ (Superficial Quotient)
How many US readers are aware that right now, right under their noses, their Government is building what amounts to a domestic military force? If you're wondering why, it's worth remembering the adage "You don’t put a rubber on unless you're planning to fuck somebody."
That "somebody" looks to be the US citizenry.
How many of my fellow Australians are aware that the standard of their children's education is on a continual downward slide compared to the rest of the world? And of those who are aware and applauded in robotic fashion Government plans to throw millions of taxpayer dollars at the problem, how many know Australian teachers are already among the best paid in the world? How many know taxpayer funding of schools in Australia increased by 24 per cent between 2008 and 2010 - more than four times the average OECD increase of five per cent? The problem with Australian education isn't a lack of funding - it's a lack of quality! Giving more money to a broken, self-serving system isn't going to change diddly.
How many readers are aware that the US Government is employing drones to conduct a number of “unannounced and undeclared” wars? Yeah, why make a big announcement, send in hordes of troops, and have to deal with such pesky annoyances as public disapproval and congressional debate? That malarkey is for anachronistic freedom-loving types who believe in the Constitution and stuff. Just send in the drones and start shooting for crying out loud, who cares if innocent civilians are still getting killed?
How many people are aware of just how dire the situation in Fukushima really is, and the possible global consequences? Yeah...Fukushima...remember...the big nuclear disaster in Japan? No, it's not yesterday's news - the situation is still critical and getting worse.
...how many of you are aware that Prince William and Kate Middleton recently had a baby?
I rest my case.
This species places way too much emphasis on superficial bollocks, and not enough on the things that really matter.
Yes, this Stuff Does Concern You
I know what some of you are thinking: "Who gives a shit about Australian education or an impending US police state? So long as I've got the new iPad and an abundant supply of Cheerios, life is good!"
If that's you, I've got two recommendations:
1: Piss off.
2: Get a vasectomy immediately (to prevent replication of your toxic Clueless+Superficial chromosomes).
The handful of you that remain will be basically divided into two groups: Those who are already fully onboard with what I'm saying, and those who have been guilty of what I'm explaining, but can feel the seeds of awareness sprouting within.
For the latter, I strongly urge you to do everything you can to cultivate the qualities of rational, independent thought and critical analysis. Especially on matters pertaining to your physical health and wellbeing. When judging, for example, the worth of a diet/health commentator, realize that things like the colour scheme of their website are utterly irrelevant.
So too is whether or not they are wearing a white coat or suit and tie in their promo pics. The former is a thinly-veiled ploy to implant an air of scientific credibility in your subconscious, the latter an air of professionalism. That these thinly-veiled strategies actually work quite well is attested to by the runaway success of fat loss books written by fat people pictured in suits and white coats.
It is beyond the capability of this article to provide you with a complete how-to guide on reversing the evolutionary programmed tendency to be swayed by superficial appearances, peer approval, authority and "social proof", and instead becoming an independent-thinking dynamo. But there is plenty of easily accessible, reader-friendly material that can help you do just that. Two especially worthy suggestions, both of which would have to rank in my Top Ten of "Must-Have" books, are:
Buy them. Read them. Again and again. You'll learn a lot, not just about human behaviour, but yourself. There's plenty of published research on evolutionary psychology, but these books are great primers (as is just about anything written by David M. Buss).
Yes, I know, I know...reading takes effort, but crikey, that's a small price to pay if it helps you avoid becoming a KL or Josh.
Anthony "Don't Call it a Blog!" Colpo.
Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author of The Fat Loss Bible and The Great Cholesterol Con. For more information, visit TheFatLossBible.net or TheGreatCholesterolCon.com
Copyright © Anthony Colpo.
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