Conservatives hold a Darwinian philosophy of life, that of the "rugged pioneer/frontiersman" who can make it on his own without government help or interference. Those that need help are parasites. So, there's this Tea Party type at a right-wing rally, protesting BIG GOVERNMENT social programs and intrusion into our lives, carrying a sign which read (appx.): Keep Your Hands Off Our Medicare! (Medicare is a BIG GOVERNMENT social program administered by BIG GOVERNMENT.)
I must admit to not personally having studied or been educated about the American foundation - but I have heard many reports from people I trust that it was indeed a good plan to start with - perhaps like a good friend of mine has said - it was intelligent people seriously overestimating the ability of others to live up to such ideals.
Which kind of leaves me thinking that idealism isn’t good for much. We must do what works, not try to create a system that would work if only humans were ‘better’. Humans are not better – they are greedy, violent, vain, arrogant and so on… the system that will work, will be a system that accepts humans for what they are both good and bad – for our kindness, cooperation, compassion, values of sharing and being fair, as well as our negative traits.
Alice, maybe I'm misinterpreting you, but birth defects and illnesses have been around forever, including among Paleolithic and indigenous peoples. It is true that contagious diseases became epidemic only when people started to live in large groups after the agricultural revolution, because when people lived in small bands, a disease might get started but then died out for lack of new victims. Sometimes taking the whole tribe with it. It's also true that victims of congenital defects probably didn't live very long, unless the defect was minor. You see high infant mortality in animals living in the wild, some of which is due to genetic defects, but the mothers usually eat them, because they simply die. How could we believe humans are any different, except that we don't eat our defective babies, but try to save them?
My diabetes, and hypothyroidism are due to an auto-immune attack by my own body. I MUST have pills for the thyroid, and insulin for the diabetes. Diabetes was documented over 3000 years ago in India, even though they didn't know the cause of it, and again in Egypt very soon afterward. It's really NOT nutrition related -- they have identified genetic markers that show if someone is predisposed to autoimmune disease. They don't know what triggers it, but studies have been done on cow's milk, for example, and come up negative time after time. It may be a virus, but again, no one knows. But Type 1 diabetes can hit at any time during an individual's life, and occurs everywhere. The only difference is that when African children, for example, develop it, they always die, because their parents cannot afford insulin. Nutrition just doesn't help.
And diabetes is just one example. Health is MUCH more complicated than just nutrition. All of us have slightly different metabolisms, and immune systems, and even respond to food differently. For example, an insulin-resistant diabetic (usually Type 2) does MUCH better on a low-carb diet -- eliminating pretty much all dairy, sugars and starches, whereas an insulin-sensitive one (usually Type 1) can eat more carbs. But not too many, because injected insulin can only do so much. Insulin-sensitive NON-diabetics also can do well on vegetarian diets that contain a lot of carbs, while insulin-resistant non-diabetics just gain weight on such a diet. And yes, I'm bringing nutrition into my discussion, but only to show that one size doesn't fit all! :-)
I would like nothing better than for all of us to be healthy, but in my case, I simply cannot do it without replacing my missing hormones, and regulating my errant heartbeat, and if that means taking pills and shots, then so be it!
Interesting theory about leaky gut -- I've heard of it before, but don't really know much about it.
The theory behind Type 1 diabetes is that a person is born with the susceptibility to it; there are specific HLA genes that have been tied to it, but it takes a trigger to actually cause the auto-immune attack. Nobody knows what that trigger is, though. Once upon a time, they thought it was cow's milk in infancy, but that has been disproven several times. Breast-fed babies get Type 1, too. They also thought it was the Coxsackie virus, too, but they have never been able to prove that, either. So, it remains unknown. Some Type 1 mothers are keeping their babies gluten-free for the first year in the hopes of preventing Type 1, but whether that will work or not remains to be seen.
About stomach acid. GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) is caused by a weak sphincter muscle between the stomach and esophagus, allowing partially digested food and acid to back up into the esophagus. There is no happy answer to this problem. I hope it's not what was really causing your chest pain, and I also hope it wasn't coronary artery spasms! But anyway, there is a surgery for intractable esophageal reflux, which wraps part of the stomach around the bottom of the esophagus, but it takes away your ability to belch, which sounds unpleasant to me! I have severe GERD, which means that unless I take proton pump inhibitors, I have severe pain 24/7. For me, it's not just eliminating cheese, or not going to bed until my dinner has digested. It's a quality of life issue, and because I don't want to bother with the surgery, then PPI's are the only thing that relieves the pain. Which is why I say there is no happy answer.
I don't understand what you mean when you say natural selection is causal. The evidence that some malformations are due to malnutrition, such as spina bifida rates being reduced when the mothers' diets are enriched in folate is not natural selection. It's a very specific result of a specific nutritional deficiency. Natural selection, on the other hand, means congenital mutations in genes, which are not influenced by maternal diet or anything else -- they just spring up and are usually deleterious, and every once in a while advantageous. Inherited defects are simply that, and the difference between us and animals is that we can repair many defects that would have been fatal if left to nature. So we are defeating natural selection in a way -- allowing babies to live and grow to reproduce and pass on hereditary defects that would have been weeded out in nature. Not that I'm advocating letting these infants die, but it's one of the reasons why I think we are circumventing human evolution!
Roman – the irony! Do these conservatives see their own self-contradiction? Do they generally support getting rid of health care? They seem to here in Australia – but then they like also historically, to give out chunks of money to motivate people to have more children… who knows what goes on in their little heads…