There was a story in the news recently (“Rare Condition Gives Toddler Super Strength” by Sandy Maple, published on Parent Dish.com, Apr 2nd 2009 3:00PM) about a young boy with unusual strength for his age. An excerpt:
At first glance, Liam Hoekstra looks like your typical toddler. At 3 years old and 30 pounds,
he sports a mop of curly brown hair and a mischievous smile. But hand the boy a pair of
dumbbells and it is immediately clear that there is something special about him. With 40
percent more muscle mass than the average person and exceptional strength, agility and
speed, Liam is a real-life Bam Bam Rubble.
No, Liam hasn’t been working out — he was born with a genetic condition called myostatin-
related muscle hypertrophy. In essence, his muscle cells reject the protein myostatin, which
results in above-average muscle development, a super-fast metabolism and virtually no
It’s interesting to consider what the human potential is, when we see things like this.
But it’s even more interesting to see what perspective evolution and philosophy add. Evolution has “selected” for mind, for reason, for a volitional consciousness, and for the brain and nervous system to support it. It has not “selected” for super-strong people with the form of man but without the functions needed to utilize that form for survival. (Have some hominids who have gone extinct been strong but stupid? I’m not aware of ever reading about any hominid like that.)
The fact and idea that evolution “selected for” reason gives us another perspective from which to look at “form follows function” and another way to look at reason as man’s means of survival.
I learned the idea of reason as man’s basic means of survival by reading some of the author who has been all in the news: Ayn Rand, writer of Atlas Shrugged. Her philosophy of Objectivism says about reason:
Man’s mind is his basic means of survival—and of self-protection.
Interesting. Fascinating. And a pregnant thought.
Her point is an important one in this age of stressing physical prowess but not mental prowess — which later makes the former possible!! It is science and technology that have given us the ability to develop and reap the strength and health people and athletes have today.
But the perspective of evolution (and what is implied in the quote of Ayn Rand above) shows that man needs both physical prowess and mental prowess to survive. We need both body and mind. Evolution, after all, seems to have been “selecting” for a more and more powerful consciousness — fish to mammal to ape to hominid to man– after all.
A clear implication is that we need to spend more time and put more effort and resources toward developing our minds. Reason plays a major role in our survival and our lives.
Another point of the news story about the young Liam Hoekstra is how the boy’s condition affects his body’s fat content, which in turn affects his nervous system and brain function and development. And the story says, by implication, that a lack of fat — certain fats, that is — could cause problems with a person’s consciousness. Which faculty is so critical to our survival.
We need fat. So make sure you and your child get plenty of good fat in your diet!!
Here are some sites to check out for info on fats and diet: