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By F.D. Flam
Charles Darwin did a fine job of showing why his theory of evolution explained the living world better than any creationist ideas could, and evidence has piled up ever since, but a swatch of the American public remain unconvinced. Therefore, it’s always good to come across new scenarios to show how evolution works and debunk some of the misconceptions spread by proponents of “intelligent design” and other versions of creationist mythology.
On the surface, coffee might seem like a good candidate for a plant that was not only designed by an intelligent god but by a god that was feeling rather benevolent toward us humans. After all, this plant produces a bean – technically a seed – that smells heavenly, tastes satisfying, makes us feel good, and isn’t even bad for us.
There used to be some confusion but now, scientists have had the chance to observe lots of coffee drinkers for long periods of time and not only do they find no connection with heart disease or cancer, but they even see hints that those who indulge regularly may be less likely to get liver cancer or type 2 diabetes.
Rob van Dam, a professor of nutrition associated with the Harvard School of Public Health, said some of the confusion in the past came from the fact that coffee is so pleasant to drink that it was favored by indulgent type people – those who slept too little, drank a lot of booze and smoked a lot of cigarettes. By association it seemed that coffee ought to be bad. And the fact that it was mixed up with various unhealthful habits made it hard for the experts to detangle things and tell us whether coffee was good or bad for health.
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