Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, better known as Dr Karl – Australia’s most popular proponent of all things scientific – has an eye-opening religious belief.
As outlined in The Doctor, his 40th book since 1984’s Great Moments In Science, he posits, somewhat tongue in cheek, that the incredibly similar chemical properties of coffee and chocolate, and the way they complement each other, is proof God exists.
“Caffeine is remarkably similar to the stuff that makes chocolate so wonderful,” he says. “It’s led to a deep and philosophical insight.”
The chemical in caffeine is called 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine and it’s a vasoconstrictor, which closes your blood vessels.
The chemical in chocolate is theobromine, which literally means ‘food of the gods’ and called 3,7-dimethylxaanthine, a vasodilator that opens up the blood vessels.
“So firstly, it’s obviously not a coincidence,” Dr Kruszelnicki laughs. “In fact, it proves that not only does God exist, he has told us directly that every time you have coffee, you should have chocolate. Thank you God.”
Australia’s drug of choice, caffeine may be a good deal better for us than first believed too.
Among its many fascinating insights, from the ability of booze to make us deaf, to the possible immortality of bum-eating jellyfish, The Doctor outlines several study results that suggest coffee may improve life expectancy.
Regular imbibers enjoy a 14 per cent lower risk of dying prematurely from any cause, even if they go for decaf, peculiarly. Caffeine also slows the progress of liver disease and reduces your chances of developing Type II diabetes or prostate cancer.
“A little bit of coffee is almost certainly good for you, but too much is bad,”Dr Kruszelnicki reveals.
“It’s the same with beer. Dietitians and I have a disagreement over chocolate. I say it’s perfect and they say it’s a junk food. I prefer the term ‘discretionary food.’ So eat small amounts and enjoy it.”
A photo posted by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (@doctor_karl) on
Dr Karl takes aim at CSIRO
Dr Kruszelnicki has been deeply disheartened by savage cuts at the CSIRO and the sidelining of science in Australia.
In particular, he worries about the restrictive focus on profit-driven research, reducing the chances of happy accidents, like Australia’s leading role in creating Wi-Fi.
CSIRO scientist John O’Sullivan had been working on a unique way to detect collapsing black holes.
While he never quite pulled it off, the specialist mathematics he designed went on to form the basis of what became Wi-Fi, earning Australia massive royalties, which turned out to be a bit of a double-edged sword, Kruszelnicki argues.
“As a result, they employed as the head of CSIRO [Larry R. Marshall] an entrepreneurial guy who believes in water divining and then oversaw the firing of one quarter of the staff,” Kruszelnicki says.
“It makes you weep.”
Regardless, Dr Kruszelnicki will remain a passionate spokesperson for scientific research, in his books, with two more coming hot on the heels of The Doctor, as well as on radio and TV.
“You need scientists to make the pathways for the future,” he insists.