New York Times Dot Earth’s Andrew Revkin Suddenly Believes In “Natural” Causes (And Not Man-Made Ones)

A couple of days ago I wrote a piece aimed at encouraging readers to consider a diet change to improve their health for the coming new year, and to ignore the consensus high-carb/lowfat diet. My own health has improved dramatically since I stopped listening to the preventive maintenance advice peddled by the boys at the expensive repair and spare parts shop, advice that always seemed to land me on their workbenches. Go figure.

I also used it as an opportunity to illustrate the absurdity and the extreme danger of consensus-driven science, using Andrew Revkin’s stroke to highlight this.

In the example I suggested that his stroke was perhaps root-caused by the high-carb/low fat diet – the very one advocated as healthy by the consensus of America’s major health and medical institutes and associations. The one that we are finding out has been a catastrophe. I just assumed that Andrew followed their advice because, as we all know, he is a big believer in science by the consensus of leading experts – especially when critical issues are at stake. In effect I suggested that Mr. Revkin had been probably (and ironically) a victim of the very consensus he so dearly endorses, like he does in climatology.

Mr. Revkin reacted, denying that his brush with death had anything to do with (consensus) nutrition at all. I expected that. He wrote:

Hmm. You must not have read much of my article or related blog posts. I experienced what’s called a ‘spontaneous dissection’ of the left internal carotid artery (which is not in the brain). Resulting clots traveled to the brain. Such strokes are not a function of diet at all. My arteries were (and are) clear. These strokes are mainly triggered by physical injury to the carotid – everything from some yoga and chiropractic moves to tipping your head back in certain ways painting a ceiling, even getting a shampoo at the beauty parlor. The video, created by a medical illustration team for someone with a very similar stroke, is informative:

Here he claims his type of stroke was caused by “‘spontaneous dissection’ of the left internal carotid artery.”, which is like blaming a bridge collapse on “spontaneous beam rupture”. Well, bridge beams and rivets just don’t rupture for nothing when hardly loaded, do they? They do so because of rust from poor maintenance, or perhaps ignored fatigue-cracking as it ages. Andrew’s medical issues are personal and I don’t want to dwell into them in particular. But here he insists his arteries are healthy and suggests that “spontaneous dissection” in arteries in general is just something natural, a bit of bad luck (even though medical science shows that arterial health is in fact very closely related to nutrition). This is amazing.

It is truly stunning that some people can infer a possible connection between a single storm in New Jersey and SUV emissions in California, yet are not able to see the clear connection between diet and strokes in middle-aged men.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if Mr. Revkin’s own stroke was nutrition-related or not. It’s not our business. What matters is that for many people who have suffered the same, or have had a heart attack, or who struggle with Type 2 diabetes, etc., it is very often diet-related and the direct result of the consensus-driven nutritional guidelines, which today are proving to have been underpinned by fraudulent and bogus science, read here.

Today the scientific literature tell us that Andrew’s condition, once very rare, has become more commonplace over the past decades. Strokes in middle age men are not natural incidents resulting from bad luck, but rather they are, as is the case with the explosion of cardiovascular disease and diabetes sweeping across the western world, a direct result of the catastrophic, junk-science-based medical and nutrition consensus of the past decades.

Thus it would be nice if people like Andrew Revkin would concede that the notion of consensus-driven science is dangerous, that it always needs to be vigorously questioned and that skeptics are essential.

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Revkin and he deserves much credit for bringing the much needed attention to the stroke issue. I just have serious issues about how he selectively applies science from field to field, whatever suits him best.


23 responses to “New York Times Dot Earth’s Andrew Revkin Suddenly Believes In “Natural” Causes (And Not Man-Made Ones)”

  1. Michael Gilroy

    I believe you are a bit off base with your persistance to trying to blame Mr. Revkin’s spontaneous dissection’ of the left internal carotid artery on his following consensus science. Diet is a very weak factor in this event. Please don’t try to force your scenario of consensus science into a situation where it is clearly not applicable. Give it up and admit that you’re barking up the wrong tree lest you appear similar to your opponents.

  2. handjive

    Another example that would be relevant for Revkin, is the response of 97% certified consensus climate scientists in the WSJ which started, ” If you have a heart problem do you go to your dentist” …

    Quite so:
    Researchers have found that treating gum disease (periodontal disease) may reduce heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.

    From personal experience, this information was known in at least 2007.

    Did Revkin listen to his 97% consensus mates and ignore his dentist warnings?

  3. Peter

    Good post. Here is an interesting article in today’s Australian newspaper:

    I read their is a new book out on this subject, debunking a lot of the nutritional science.

  4. Jake

    Follow this, evolution-based diet non-consensus, but well supported, scientific thesis for diet and you will enjoy great health, even at older ages. As Mr. Gosselin suggests, the present diet consensus is a fraud, and many in the field know it, but MSM and inertia are tough opponents. I am 62, and as fit, healthy, and vital as a 30 year old for sports, etc.

    1. DirkH

      Ahem. At the page we see
      “If you learn to simulate the nutrition of what the human diet has been through 99% of our evolutionary history,”

      So I take it that you and the page believe in micro evolution, but not in macro evolution – as, if you believed in the latter, “99% of our evolutionary history” would not quite make sense – 90% would be in the form of single-celled organisms, followed by, well, all kinds of vertebrates with wildly varying nutritional needs.

      This brings up an interesting question. WHAT did the first lifeform EAT?
      It didn’t come with chloropasts.

      1. handjive

        DirkH, “What did the first lifeforms eat?”

        This doesn’t answer your question as such, but:

        One little shell might help explain our external nose, bipedalism, linear build, tool use, nakedness, extra fat, large brain and even our ability to speak.
        Earlier this month, Nature announced the oldest-known engraving from Java, a discovery that has the potential to change the way we think about human evolution.


        1. DirkH

          Haha. Now they had their fun writing a little new fairytale.

          The real message is this, all the missing links have fallen apart and turned out to be either pure apes or pure humans; Homo Erectus obviously being one of the homos.

          Darwin clearly said, my theory is falsified when no missing link fossils are found.

          Lucy has been identified as an ape. Goodbye, Pitecanthropus. Hello, shell-engraving Homo Erectus.

          Oh BTW they just threw the Out Of Africa theory under the bus, noticed that? That was a politically correct theory to destroy the concept of differences between human races. Oh it’s gone. Goodbye Out Of Africa.

          1. Ed Caryl

            Lucy was an ape. Yes, and so are you. We are the naked apes, primates. Lucy and her kin were halfway between Chimps and Gorillas, and in our ancestral line, or close to it. (There were many lines that didn’t make it.)

        2. DirkH

          From your second link
          ” The carving is the oldest known engraving made by a human ancestor, suggesting that Homo erectus, ancestor to modern-day humans, may have been smarter than was previously thought. ”

          What’s a macro-evolutionist going to say about that? “DAMN! We need these stone age people STUPIDER!”

          WHERE’s STUPID MAN!

  5. Eduardo Ferreyra

    If Mr. Revkin is taking medication with statins or atorvastatins (Lipitor) for reducing cholesterol levels, that could be the root of his problem. Cholesterol is a repair material for the arteries and capillary repair mechanism our body has. If cholesterol is low, arteries get thinner and prone to rupture. Revkin was lucky the arteries in his brain didn’t break, but he should check and see if his arteries and veins are in good shape. Next problem could be an aorta rupture…

  6. John F. Hultquist

    It is possible to have health issues unrelated to diet. Look up Rheumatic Fever and heart valves (mitral & aortic). Then see:

    There are complex issues. Many young died in the early 1900s of Rheumatic Fever. My grandparents had a set of twins die in the early years of last century.
    See this chart:
    Since the 1940s deaths have been much lower but children, especially, still caught this fever. Because they lived they are now in their late 60s or early 70s and the complications for their health show up frequently.

    Nevertheless, I still agree that humans should not eat like Bovinae and Leporidae. They are better eaten.

  7. DirkH

    Wind-turbinization of German countryside faster than ever
    now at 3.5 GWpeak a year (0.595 GW average at 17% capacity factor).
    Jihad on bats!

  8. Susan Oliver

    Just as many journalists reporting about climate science have a tendency to be loose with the truth so too are journalists reporting about dietary conspiracies. Nina Teicholz, the author of the WSJ article, is one of the worst offenders. The following two links document where she has been less than truthful and misrepresented the science in her book which is promoted by the article:

    I’m afraid they are rather long but the misrepresentation of the scientific literature in her book is quite extensive.

    It’s fantastic that you have lost weight following your diet but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to lose weight – the first law of thermodynamics still applies – any diet that results in you consuming less calories than you expend will lead to weight loss. Contrary to the low carb mantra, a calorie is a calorie. This has been confirmed by numerous studies. Here are just a few:

    1. DirkH

      “the first law of thermodynamics still applies – any diet that results in you consuming less calories than you expend will lead to weight loss.”

      You are assuming that the human body is a combustion engine that burns proteins, fats, and carbohydrates a 100%.

      That’s entirely ludicrous.

      1. Susan Oliver

        Dirk, I’m assuming nothing. A large number of metabolic ward studies confirm it.

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