So much we don’t yet know

your say January 18, 2019 01:00

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It appears that Eric Bahrt believes himself to be a noble and effective advocate for vegetarianism. Although I shall not comment on nobility, his effectiveness is highly questionable.

Eric is simply not conversant in the science, and nor does he keep current with developments in our understanding of nutrition. He cites extremely primitive studies that have long since been discredited. 

The last decade has seen extraordinary advances in our understanding of nutrition through multidisciplinary contributions from the fields of genomics, proteomics, biochemistry, medicine and especially studies of the human microbiome. We now know, with vastly improved accuracy, how much we still don’t know. And this marks the beginning of a breakthrough in true understanding.

I suggest that, if Eric wishes his advocacy to be respected rather than ridiculed, he show his readers the unfailing respect they deserve, coupled with a willingness to discover the extent of what he does not know.

If he could begin in this manner, then he would recognise his own statements – such as “clearly the evidence is overwhelming that the less meat you eat, the better off your heart will be” – as utter nonsense.

Human metabolism and diet are now understood to pose problems as complex as planetary climate modelling. It requires supercomputer applications and huge data sets to achieve even a rudimentary understanding of what is really going on.

I sympathise with Eric’s passion and his motivation to alleviate suffering. If he could harness that energy and spend the four to six years necessary studying this matter at university level, he might then become an effective spokesperson. Until then, perhaps a consideration of what is not known would prove illuminating.

Michael Setter

Bang Saray