The Paleo Diet on NPR

Posted: June 4, 2012 in CrossFit, Health, Weight Loss

Ah, yes. The big time. The Paleo Diet is the main attraction, and CrossFit gets a mention. My biggest gripe is that the word “theory” is misused in their Facebook posting:

The so-called paleo way of eating is moving into the doctor’s office. But experts say no one can actually practice what some are calling “evolutionary medicine” because it’s only a theory.

The word pedant in me is twitching. “Theory,” as used in a scientific context, is not a synonym for “opinion,” as it is in everyday usage. When we non-scientists say “We have a theory,” we really mean, in scientific jargon, a hypothesis. When an item is called a “theory” in scientific contexts, it’s more closely related to the word “theorem,” as in geometry: It’s something we can prove with data, often math. In a sense, you could call it a “Solar System Theory.” I know the NPR writer was trying to be clever, but it reinforces the notion, prevalent in my neck of the woods, that evolution is closer to a guess than a proven scientific consensus. If you don’t buy into science, be my guest to deny evolution, but don’t do it on the basis that it’s a “theory.”

Okay; pedantic rant concluded.

So, for your amusement, annoyance, applause or admiration, here is the link to their article (click on the pic):

The Paleo Diet moves from the gym to the doctor's office

  1. Cassandra says:

    Thank you for this post! I am in the science field and eat a Paleo diet and for both those reason’s I get as irritated as you do when folks misuse the word “theory.” It was especially tough when I taught environmental biology for non-biology majors and I would hear the phrase “it’s just a theory” regularly.

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