Last week, I finished Exuberant Animal by Frank Forencich. Movnat aficionados and Paleo lifestyle enthusiasts hail the book as the essential primal lifestyle text. Since I’ve developed an interest in the Paleo fitness movement, I decided to check it out.
I’ve wondered when my faith would clash with much of what pulls the Paleo program along, views about evolution and natural selection, and it finally happened in this book. Much of what I have read, including McDougall’s Born to Run, has been brief and subtle, used to enhance or explain the physical, medical, or nutritional aspects of the human species. But almost never offensive.
Until I read this book.
Near the beginning of the book, during a discussion of the complexity of the human body, Forencich uses the scenario of parents telling their children that a stork brings babies to demonstrate how some refuse to “view the human body in a larger ecological context…independent of the world and the environment (34).” Forencich is, of course, an advocate of the “human as animal” viewpoint. This has never bothered me. It is reasonable to classify humans as animals, as we have all of the qualifying characteristics. It is also reasonable to view humans as “above” animals (Mr. Forencich would disagree), since we are more sophisticated.
Had Forencich said that he believed humans were animals, that we evolved over time, that our current health and fitness suffers because we have neglected our evolutionary roots…? No offense taken, point made, even respected.
“Creationists are the worst offenders in this regard, the most notorious perpetrators of storkisms. As they tell it, the human body was simply called into being by a supreme organism. This storkish deity brought the human body to earth and now our species stands alone, independent from and superior to the rest of the biosphere (34).”
Apparently, Forencich doesn’t know very many true creationists.
To compare the view of creation to the myth of the stork is to do what many disrespectful atheists choose to do: poke fun at the “absurdity” of God, of intelligent design. Forencich would like to believe that creationists can’t “explain” their beliefs, that this view is full of holes, just as the stork view is full of holes.
It gets worse.
Forencich actually “quotes” all creationists as saying, “The natural world is astonishingly complex in its details; it is beyond our capacity to explain or understand it. Therefore, a stork created it.”
If Mr. Forencich knew more about the source of his “jokes” he might express his views differently. I know enough about other beliefs, theories, views, religions, to know that they also have holes and may even seem “absurd.” But I don’t know enough to crack jokes that seem too personal and a bit unnecessary, especially if I am writing a book about fitness and health.
The comments from Forencich were personal and unnecessary.
Also, I don’t know very many creationists who feel that humans are “independent from” the “rest of the biosphere.” On the contrary, many Christians view creation as a whole, as God’s, and they pay great respect to the fact that all other parts of the “biosphere” were created by God before man. And the Bible says that all of creation was designed for God’s glory, not for Man’s. Most Christians (the true ones, anyway) view creation as all-encompassing (the universe, animals, plants, etc.) with one common purpose: to glorify God.
I finished the book, in spite on this little jab, and I even gave it a decent review because the book does contain useful and excellent advice for fitness, nutrition, and health. And because I paid for it.