NYU Professor Insults Obese Students

June 4th, 2013 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

The New York Daily News reports that visiting professor Geoffrey Miller wrote on Twitter, “Dear obese Ph.D. applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation.”

Miller is reported to be a prominent professor of evolutionary psychology from the University of New Mexico.  After an onslaught of criticism, he self-renounced, calling his tweet, “idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged.” Doh? According to the Daily News story, he has told his department chair that the tweet was part of a research project. (“On what?” one might ask.)

While he is summering in New York, the Professor might want to get from the library a couple of books in his field.  I’d suggest “The Changing Body, Health, Nutrition and Human Development in the Western World since 1700” by Roderick Floud, Robert W. Fogel (the Nobel Prize winner in Economics) , Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong, (Cambridge Press, 2011), also, “The Evolution of Obesity” by Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin, (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 2009), and, “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” by Richard Wrangham, (Basic Books New York, 2009)

To understand the rather limited role “willpower” plays against the body’s physiological inheritance which favors weight gain and defends against weight loss, he should ask for some time in New York with Jules Hirsch, Professor Emeritus and Physician-in-Chief Emeritus at the Laboratory of Human Behavior and Metabolism at Rockefeller University,  Rudy Leibel, at Columbia University and Louis Aronne at New York Presbyterian Hospital who is both a researcher and clinician, seeing these processes at work in patients.  There are about a dozen other experts within a few miles of the NYU campus he could also contact.

Maybe he could write up this study and interviews under, “What I did on my summer vacation”?