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I believe that the study of ecology is crucial to man's flourishing because it is, in a very fundamental way, the study of our context on this earth. For the majority of our existence we have lived inexorably tied to our natural environment, and even though we are a little bit farther from it now, we are still not that far. I do not believe that nature is something separate from man, nor do I believe man and nature are somehow opposed. Instead it seems obvious to me that man exists within nature and is a part of it.

I have been thinking a bit about this lately, mainly because my colleagues keep talking about green energy and sustainability, etc.

Its true that we evolved with the earth and are dependent upon the earth. So is it moral to damage the earth for our immediate progress when it could have ramifications in the future? Now I am not talking about Global Warming, which is what will probably pop into everyone's head who read the last sentence. Lets use the example of coal fired power plants, which dump mercury in the air and eventually into the sea. Is it moral to burn coal on YOUR land, even though it may effect people half way around the globe?

Or is it OK to dump toxic chemicals on my land even though it will end up in the water table?

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I do watch my carbohydrate consumption but I won't ever eliminate carbohydrate from my diet. I have lost count of reported health problems after switching to strict no-carb diet (including one from my own family - my sister started having all kinds of serious health issues (including forgetfulness and hard time to maintain mental focus) - some of which she may have to deal with for the rest of her life (she is 34), after one year on a no-carb diet. Unfortunately, she is one of those women who think that her looks is the most important part of her, the most valuable thing she has to offer, and she only started taking this seriously after her health issues started affecting her appearance as well. So sad, I know).

The excellent health status among starch-eating ethnic groups contradicts the currently popular notion that carbohydrates are a cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other western health problems. For example, islanders of Kitavans ( tropical area in Papua New Guinea) eating very high carbohydrate diet reach old age completely free of heart disease, most cancers, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other various Western Diseases. Their great health is shared by many high-carbohydrate eating cultures all over the world - something documented repeatedly by many great 20th century health and nutrition scholars.

The long primate history of fruit eating (fructose), high activity of human salivary amylase for efficient starch digestion and some other features of human physiology, as well as the absence of Western disease among high starch-eating traditional populations suggest that humans are well prepared for a high carbohydrate intake (at least from non-grain food sources).

The key probably is the type of carbohydrate (starchy root vegetable vs. processed food), the amount consumed, and what we are eating in conjunction.

As with anything else, it is a good idea to do some reading on both sides, before making a decision. Don't assume it is a good idea just because many Objectivists advocate it.

P.S.

I am well aware that one can loose weight on no-carb diet. My sister lost weight too (and so have I when I did it for a short period of time) - so what. I lost weight but I could not hike a trail I have been doing for years.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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As with anything else, it is a good idea to do some reading on both sides, before making a decision. Don't assume it is a good idea just because many Objectivists advocate it.

Sophia, do you have any of those sources handy, from either side (or both)?
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The paleo diet isn't a "No Carb" diet, like the beginning of Atkins, its a lower-carb diet.

If you were going from a high carb diet to a paleo type diet, I would recommend doing it slowly. But most people worried about their weight are not interested in doing it slowly. I follow a paleo type diet for other reasons besides weight.

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Ecology as I understand it is nothing more than the study of living systems at the macro-level (organismal and above, so population, community, ecosystem, etc). You can choose to focus on the biotic parts of the system (i.e. the living things), or you can also study the abiotic parts (such as tracing the nitrogen or carbon cycles, water, you get the idea). I became an ecologist because aside from my fascination with how nature works, it is a good area of study for my puzzle- and systems-oriented thinking...I gravitated to it as a "big picture" kind of person who also swore never to be trapped in a lab all her life.

I believe that the study of ecology is crucial to man's flourishing because it is, in a very fundamental way, the study of our context on this earth. For the majority of our existence we have lived inexorably tied to our natural environment, and even though we are a little bit farther from it now, we are still not that far. I do not believe that nature is something separate from man, nor do I believe man and nature are somehow opposed. Instead it seems obvious to me that man exists within nature and is a part of it.

Thank you very much for that. I've always equated Ecology - Environmentalism with Astronomy - Astrology. While Astrology was the fad of our religious past, Environmentalism is inexorably the fad of our materialistic present. And just as Astronomers were burnt at the stake in the days of the Inquisition, so are Ecologists and Meteorologists attacked now. I am happy to have a natural scientist who's read Ayn Rand on the boards.

The Objectivist stand towards Environmentalism is the same as towards any other form of mysticism that leeches off intellectually off real science. But I believe that the Objectivist stand on Ecology is one of optimistic futurism: Understand what we need to stay alive, what we need to collect and sustain as much genetic material, while we saturate this planet and move to the next.

In that context the only moral issue that approximates not to Ecology but to the Environmentalist debate of these days, is how much energy we can dispose and saturate in how big a window of time.

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