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Marlene Zuk's Argument Against Mismatch

Marlene Zuk argues against the view that we're maladapted to our modern world in Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live. For shorter versions of her argument, see her articles Your Paleofads Are Paleo-B.S. and Misguided Nostalgia for Our Paleo Past.

JR's review on Amazon explains that Zuk's book attacks straw men:

"The arguments of the book boil down to claiming that supporters of "Paleolithic diets" make three claims, which she then says are false. The three straw men of her anti-paleo-diatribe: (1) human evolution stopped after the neolithic, (2) that humans in the Paleolithic were perfectly adapted to their conditions, and (3) humans in the Paleolithic ate one unchanging diet."

Zuk points out that human evolution has not ceased (and her book offers good examples of recent and relatively rapid evolution). But she overlooks the crucial point that our environment has changed so rapidly that evolution, though it has not ceased, has not progressed suffiiciently rapidly to prevent the growth of a wide gap between our current environment and that to which we are adapted. She argues that we were not perfectly adapted to our Paleolithic environment, but what is important is not that we were perfectly adapted then, but that the slow rate of change of the prehistoric environment enabled much better adaptation than we enjoy today.



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