“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

Isaac Newton

The Mind/Brain Conundrum

This is a tad bit tangential to the Paleo/Hunter-Gatherer/Evolutionary Fitness theme of this blog, however, it is rather interesting to me, and so I thought I’d make mention of it here on TTP.  If nothing else, it is thought provoking, and, in a way, this manner of pro-and-con evolutionary argument is of the same genre as what is sometimes bandied-about in the context of genome evolution, and, especially, “rapid” evolution.

The “mind-brain conundrum”, or “consciousness conundrum” debate has become the new battlefield of the intelligentsia, or more enlightened individuals embroiled in the evolutionary/creationist (or, Intelligent Design, if you’d rather) debate.  Check out this NPR segment which aired recently, for a good feel for what the debate is all about.  Also, some thought-provoking, intelligent discussion and debate (not the usual, mind-numbing drivel from the ID crowd) on this subject can be found on the following blogs:

Evolution News and Views, takes the side of Intelligent Design, while in the other corner, NeuroLogica argues the Darwinian/Evolutionary side of the debate.

Tiny Toes Equate to Spectacular Sprints?

Thanks to Raymond Ho, of the Prancing Papio for sniffing this one out.  I don’t have much to add to this Wired write-up on the subject, other than to say that I am a bit skeptical of the repeated references to endurance running.  I guess more clarification of the term “endurance” is in order before this aspect of the article can be adequately debated.  Where one man pictures “endurance” hunting, though, I picture a coordinated, team-effort, and a series of intermittent sprints from the participants.  I would imagine that our early ancestors preferred to hunt larger (more caloric bang for the overall energy expenditure of the hunt) and relatively slower game.  In my mind, that was the more likely hunting strategy.  Why waste unnecessary energy engaged in long, drawn-out chases of smaller, leaner, more fleet-a-foot (or hoof) animals?  Anyway, a link to the Journal of Experimental Biology, and the abstract for the above-cited study, can be found here.

Ancillary to this, notice the design of Oscar Pistorius’s prosthetics (and especially the small “foot” pad).  Lots of capacity for spring (power storage), and a small overall surface area onto which that spring power is ultimately deployed.  Interesting, indeed.

In Health,



  1. Discovered your blog looking for information on fasting – specifically intermittant fasting. The interest was health and longevity keyed by the indications that calorie restriction increases life spans. You’ve got twenty years on me and I no longer have an aspiration to look as good as you or the physical agility and pain-free joints of the old days so I wasn’t really interested in your workouts but I am reading them anyway and considering what changes I might make in my exercise routines (mainly long brisk walks and body weight exercises).
    Anyway I fasted yesterday (no food until afternoon with an apple and some almonds at three and then normal dinner). The scale was 2 pounds lighter this morning and I have been stuck at my current weight for months. I plan to do another fast this week. I am working on info on fasting for health and longevity for my website and maybe something about my personal program but everything takes time.
    Anyway, interesting blog. I intend to keep reading.

  2. Hi Keith,
    i have a question for you,my mom and i went on the Atkins diet for a week and a half she had never been on it before.We are both obese her more than me she called when she had questions i followed the 2002 version straight out of the book,20 grams of veggie carbs 4oz cheese a day and the rest egg’s,meat and fat the result.We both have lost nothing she said she feels a little less bloated same as myself some thing is just not right,Atkins says calories don’t count there is a metabolic advantage and you can eat all the meat and fat you want just dont stuff your self.So the question is do calories count after all? i just read the book by DR gregg Ellis he says he gaind 5 pounds on atkins and calories do count.And i also read this post by Charles Washington at the zero carb forum http://forum.zeroinginonhealth.com/showthread.php?tid=112 it’s really confusing.

    thanks Bill

    • Bill,
      It’s not that “calories don’t count” – they do – but the significance of overall calorie intake is vastly overshadowed by the impact of the calorie source (protein, fat or carb.) and the resultant hormonal response (especially insulin) to those calorie types. My advice is to get a copy of Taubes’s Good Calories, Bad Calories, and keep it handy as a go-to reference source. There is a good deal of science behind why calories derived from carbohydrates have a much heavier biological impact than those derived from fat or protein, but in a real-world sense, what you are primarily concerned with is insulin response, and the fact that carbohydrate calories drives insulin response, which, in turn, drives fat accumulation. It really is as simple (and as difficult) as that.

      By the way, in an active fat loss phase, I’d cut the dairy intake completely, and I’d limit my fruit intake to just a smattering here and there. Cut out all artificial sweeteners as well.

  3. Bill, as I also tried (with some success) the atkins diet in the past before falling of the low-carb wagon. I eventually found my way to the Zone diet, and eventually to a more paleolithic diet, and I am very happy. One thing that makes a huge difference for me is naturally pacing my eating.

    You can call this intermittent fasting, if you like, but as I have completely weaned myself off of refined carbs and starchy foods, I simply am not as hungry as often. When I do eat, I eat a large and filling meal, and walk away satisfied but not bloated. The key is that I just don’t eat if I’m not hungry. If it’s time to eat, really ask yourself if you are actually hungry, or if you just crave the taste of food. If it’s the latter, drink some water, have some black coffee, go workout, or go for a walk. Just don’t let yourself eat because it’s time to eat.

    When you wake up after a restful night, are you actually hungry in the morning? If not, why not wait until you are hungry to eat? Why not try putting off lunch or dinner for an extra hour or two until you are hungry. This would have been unfathomable to me a year ago, and even up as recently as my Zone days where I ate every 3 hours. It works though, and my energy levels have never been better.

    Don’t think of it as forcing a fast. Just let little fasts happen naturally, and I think you’ll see results. The periods in between when you feel like eating will grow. Good luck man. Sorry for hijacking this post too!


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