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Was meat-eating essential for human evolution? - Page 2
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Thread: Was meat-eating essential for human evolution?

  1. #51
    mrknifey87
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Very well said, StevieP.

  2. #52
    Poo = Fun! TofuFooYung's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    If spiders started eating spaghetti and started dying from a disease attributed to the spaghetti, would we still say that the spiders were meant to eat spaghetti?

  3. #53
    Russ
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    I know I would!

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    There's probably a bluebottle somewhere erecting an Italian restaurant as I type

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote TofuFooYung
    If spiders started eating spaghetti and started dying from a disease attributed to the spaghetti, would we still say that the spiders were meant to eat spaghetti?
    Well, the problem is the word "meant".

    If you reprased the question to "would we still say that spaghetti was the optimum nutrition for spiders?" then we could give that an asnwer.

    To say that eating meat is not optimumal for human health is fine - the quesion has meaningful because we can measure the relative benefits of different diets. If you say "meant" - you have to show intent or design. The only way the question could make sense is if you believed in god but that just makes things even more confusing because you would had to prove that you knew god's intentions.

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    I am having trouble accepting that. I feel fairly confident in saying that humans were not DESIGNED to consume fleshy meats. The mere fact that it must be heated to destroy bacteria is enough for me. I can understand that the consumption of insects might have been intended, but meats? I doubt, also, that humans were meant to commit suicide.

    I guess I don't understand what you're saying.

  7. #57

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Firstly have a read of the definition of DESIGNED:http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=designed

    You will see that it requires a designer. Because of that when we speak of revolution of a species we have to say "evolved" because evolution has no goal - what work best at the particular time wins and there's nothing more to it than that.

    Also when using words like designed it implies that a particalur capacity a species has, say running, has been measured against some standard of what is deemed acceptable as running. Tigers are better at eating meat than us and cows are better at eating plants. Does it then follow we should do neither?

    The main thrust of the "we are not designed to eat meat" is it can reduce our life expectancy compared to not eating it. But it does not follow that we do not have the ability to eat it. Let me give you an example.

    The life expectancy of low-tec societies, e.g. hunter gathers, is lower than that of wealthly westerners. Do we then go on to say "we are not designed to live in jungles"?. Well, no, the complete opposite would be true. So, we can not make statements about the design of being meat eaters just because we live longer with out it.

    Humans are really adaptive to their enviroments and being able to eat a wide range of foods is one of our great strengths as a species. Its pointless to deny and only makes it easier for others to dismiss veggie arguments if we persist in saying things that are untrue.

    This all might seem a bit pedantic but we should take great care to only put forward veggie arguments that make sense. If we put forward unsupportable statements against meat eating then those arguments will be the ones they will pin you down on to make ua look stupid for being veggie. We must stick to the facts.

    Of course many meat eaters use the "we're designed to eat meat" argument. Now, hopefully you can defeat that argument by just saying:

    you: "designed by whom?"
    them: by evolution

    you:evolution doesn't design, it evolves.

    them: ok, we're evolved to eat meat!
    you: we've evolved to rape and murder also. Do you justify those activities in the same way?

    VICTORY!

    1 point to veggies - 0 points to meat eaters!

  8. #58
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    I see your point, Stevie, but I have to disagree... I wrote "meant" in my initial post, because humans as a species are NOT meant to eat meat/dairy, not because a designer did not mean us to eat these things, but because our species evolved this way. There's plenty of anthropological evidence showing that humans differ dramatically from true carnivores (I'm sure you've probably seen articles such as this one).

    Of course, we can go against that and eat meat/dairy, but as you mentioned yourself, it will have adverse consequences. The purpose of evolution is reproduction (maintaining the species in existence). In addition, each individual has the basic goal/instict of survival, which imo includes health. So, if eating meat/dairy causes significant health problems and even death (heart attacks, cancer) then wouldn't you agree that we've evolved into a species that's not meant to eat meat/dairy?
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  9. #59
    mrknifey87
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    If we aren't meant to eat any meat or dairy, then how would we get our daily values of vitamin B12, for instance? Primitive humans didn't have supplements or vitamin shots. It isn't like they could just chow down on semen all the time (not to be nasty, but as far as I know that's the only good source of B12 that's readily available (for men (and some women))).

    We vegans have to watch what we eat because a lot of vitamans and minerals found readily in meat and dairy, which in my mind lends credence to the idea that we are meant to eat both. To me the argument for vegan is based on intellectual choice and beliefs, not what is "meant" by nature. Sure we can be healthy, but I know plenty of very healthy omnivores too. I'd just as soon leave mother nature out of a philosophical approach to life altogther.

  10. #60
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    I could be wrong about this, but as far as I know, a good quantity of B12 should be found in soil; conventional farming methods (which use all kinds of pesticides, herbicides, and so on, and do not use helpful strategies, such as crop rotation) have stripped soil from many nutrients, including B12. And iron and calcium, which I'm assuming are the other nutrients that you claim are "found readily in meat and dairy" can be gotten from vegan sources of food as well...
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  11. #61

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    What you are referring to is discussed in The China Study. The author discusses how the soil used to have more nutrients and also that we used to not be as "hygenic." (That is, that before we abused the agricultural land, there were more bacteria and also we process foods--including putting antibiotics on them and washing them obsessively--thus getting rid of many nutrients, including B12.) Of course, being less "clean" probably isn't a good option, but there are still some sources of vitamin B12 like nutritional yeast. Trying to repair the damage done to the soil would be a good idea, but would probably take generations There are cultures that are basically vegan that do not have the depleted soil or great hygenie that seem to get plenty of nutrients from their plant crops. Also, we have genetically manipulated crops for higher yields, but often depleted them of their nutritional values--not to mention taste.
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote DancingWillow
    There's plenty of anthropological evidence showing that humans differ dramatically from true carnivores.
    There's plenty of anthropological evidence showing that humans differ dramatically from true herbivores.

    So what? We're pretty crap runners compared to "real" runners like cheetas, so are we not evolved to run? We're pretty crap swimmers compared to "real" runners like fish, so are we not evolved to swim?

    Of course, we can go against that and eat meat/dairy, but as you mentioned yourself, it will have adverse consequences.
    You can not go against evolution. Its not going to come over and say "you can't do that". If you take that line then we are going against evolution by typing, leaving in houses and using toliets.

    [qoute]
    The purpose of evolution is reproduction (maintaining the species in existence).
    [/quote]

    Not quiet. Evolution is a mechanism that favours a adaptions that result in increased survival rates. It has no purpose, no aim, no goal.

    In addition, each individual has the basic goal/instict of survival, which imo includes health.

    No, not really, we are far far far more complex than that. Evolution does not drive our actions. We don't sit there and think, oh doing X will increase my chances of propogating my DNA, instead we have evolved things like friendship, love, sexual desire, etc. It is these things that give us the advantages that may increase the chances of our DNA getting passed on. Without such high level systems notions of compassion would be absent from us, and we would never be vegans. As I hinted at before, we are not the victims or the slaves of evolution.

    So, if eating meat/dairy causes significant health problems and even death (heart attacks, cancer) then wouldn't you agree that we've evolved into a species that's not meant to eat meat/dairy?
    Ok, I'm now the meating troll:

    troll: Ok, you are saving that an action that causes illness proves that we are not meant to do it? That is your argument? Then how do you explain self sacrfic, why would any one endanger themselves for another.

    2ndly those who eat moderate amounts of meat have the same life expectancy as VEGANS (see Plant Based Nutrion published by the Vegans Society) AND vegetarian out live vegans. Therefore, we must have evolved to eat dairy and eggs!

    Me again.

    This is why your argument is false. Your facts about diet are correct, but your argument is wrong.


    Bed time!

  13. #63

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    The reasons that vegetarians and "moderate" meat eaters live longer are myriad. First off, the already discussed changes in soil, hygiene, genetic engineering, etc. of plant-based agriculture. Consequently, vegans may have a harder time getting adequate nutrition under some such circumstances. However, if a vegan can find healthy unprocessed non-GMO organic produce, I think you'd see less of a problem. Secondly, the "richer" nations--whose populace tends to eat more dairy and meat--tend to have better health care and hygiene, leading to longer life-spans. I would even suspect that in these rich cultures many people label themselves "vegan" or "vegetarian" when they are not, so that would skew any results of studies within the culture. It also depends how much "vegan" (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, etc) food the moderate meat eater or vegetarian eats to "make up for" the damage the non-vegan food does to your system. (For example, in the already discussed book The China Study, naturally occuring soluble and insoluble fiber can counteract to a small extent the negative impact of animal-based foods whereas more processed foods--especially fiber "supplements"--did not have the same impact.) It also matters what the vegan eats...if the vegan eats processed foods (such as processed soy meats) for every meal, many of the health benefits would be overshadowed by the unhealthy pattern of eating despite its "vegan" nature.

    So what is YOUR "true" argument?
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  14. #64
    Seaside
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote mrknifey87
    We vegans have to watch what we eat because a lot of vitamans and minerals found readily in meat and dairy...
    What are they please?
    And no animal is "meant" to consume dairy beyond infancy, much less the milk of another species. We are "meant" to consume what is easiest for us to obtain. I'd like to see anyone walk up to a wild cow and try to push her baby away and start sucking on her teat without getting kicked in the skull and killed. Its much easier to get our calcium from plants, which is where we should get it from, and where we always used to get it from before we became "civilized".

  15. #65
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    As Kerrie Saunders, PhD, states "The United States is one of the sickest nations on the planet. Most Americans accept degenerate chronic diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer as part of the normal aging process."

    As for those who think it is advantageous to eat vegies without washing them first, you need to watch for the trichostrongylus worm found on vegies that have had manure on them. May as well garnish your salad with faeces direct. There are quite a few people with gut problems from eggs of these worms. ("Pathology" 1995, 27:182-185).
    Eve

  16. #66
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Non-human omnis and carnis have a natural urge to eat what appeals to them in their basic form.

    How many human meat eaters have the in-built capabilities and desire to hunt down an animal and kill it with their bare hands and eat it, skin, feathers, eyeballs, guts and all? Who, if starving, would walk straight pass a fallen fruit or vegetable and wait in the long grasses to hunt down a bird or a rodent?

    If humans SHOULD* be eating meat, then they should only be allowed to eat meat on the strict condition that they have to catch it themselves from the wild, and without weapons, without tools to remove the fur and feathers, without ovens and sure as hell without knife and forks. If humans SHOULD* be eating dairy, then lets take them out to see some wild goats and milk them, and eggs... lets see them raid the nests of large birds living in the wild.

    1) Who could be bothered? 2) How many people seriously like the taste of raw meat? Raw milk? Raw eggs? 3) Who wouldn't get sick? 4) Who can digest feathers? 5) Who can outrun a wild animal and bring it down without weapons... even domesticated cats & dogs can! 6) Who slavers at the site of a chicken? Who looks at a cow and envisions themself taking a large bite out of its side, skin and all? 7) Who's teeth could do that? 8) And so on!

  17. #67
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote mrknifey87
    If we aren't meant to eat any meat or dairy, then how would we get our daily values of vitamin B12, for instance?
    Hi, this has been discussed in many of our B12 threads. Have you seen our B12 forums?


    Primitive humans didn't have supplements or vitamin shots.
    And they weren't exposed to these B12 killers either. B12 has even been found in leaves, in soil, even in bark and in plain river water (NOT exposed to chlorine, of course). The so called primitive humans were privileged; they ate fresh food, and they never ate processed food. They didn't have amalgam in their teeth, didn't take any mercury containing vaccines, and they didn't use any of all the chemicals we use today (which are known to destroy B12).

    We vegans have to watch what we eat because a lot of vitamans and minerals found readily in meat and dairy, which in my mind lends credence to the idea that we are meant to eat both.
    First of all, meat eaters definitely have to watch what they eat. Secondly, where do you think the minerals and vitamins found in animals come from? Humans normally don't eat meat eating animals.... If everything that contains minerals and vitamins is meant to be eaten, we'd really have to change our diet. I'm sure you don't suggest that we are meant to eat something just because it contains nutrients...

    Have you seen this thread?

  18. #68
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    The main thrust of the "we are not designed to eat meat" is it can reduce our life expectancy compared to not eating it.
    I disagree. We have to develop tools to catch animals, we can't fly like the birds, we can't swim under water and catch fish, we don't have claws, we have only two legs and can't run fast enough to catch most animals. Some meat eaters use the 'tool-argument' to say that since we can make tools, we are 'meant to' use our ability to create tools to make weapons. IMO that statement is only based on habitual thinking; we don't have to make a trap or gun or nuclear bomb just because we can.

    Of course we can use the art of creating tools, the art of cultivation (we do that already when we make a house or clothes), but there are different ways of cultivating nature. One way is destructive (example; a nuclear bomb is also made out of ingredients that once were 100% natural, but we don't normally can a nuclear bomb a 'natural' product). I think the expression 'meant to' or 'designed to' often is used when we intuitively find something in accordance with natural, ie. that our legs are meant for walking, and doesn't necessarily involve a god or religion. Since everything can be 'natural' if we want it to, 'in harmony with nature', makes more sense, but it's just easier to say natural.

    Back to the tool/cultivation thing: If I peel a banana and eat it, I have also been 'destructive', but the banana hasn't destroyed my body, and the banana peel hasn't destroyed nature, it is recycled 'in harmony with nature' (unless someone tries to eat it to get drunk, apparently it contains 12% alcohol!).

    If we kill an animal, it is destroyed. The process of killing another being isn't 'in harmony with' that animal to me, and that animal is part of nature. If it's not in harmony with that animal, it's not in harmony with nature. Hence it is not natural (it's not 'in harmony with nature').

    As we know, the animal doesn't want to be killed, so instead of harmony, there is fight, pain and conflict. It's children/parents/kids doesn't want it to be eaten either. We attack nature destructively when we kill an animal, and even if we are able to do it using tools (guns) not provided by nature (like ie. claws), we are vegans, and don't think that we are 'meant to' make a weapon just because we can.

    It seems that getting enough B12 wouldn't be a problem at all in a natural environment, but IF we would have to create B12 by using tools, cultivating bacteria to get the nutrients we need is still a process that's much more in harmony with nature than trying to catch and kill a bear, deer, moose or fox.

    Not only aren't the animals OK with becoming our food, I'm not OK with killing or eating them either, even if I've been trained to eat them. It doesn't feel natural, the thought disturbs me, it doesn't seem that we are meant to do it (yes, I think nature is full of meaning and intentions), and I don't need to.

    Not only are we not equipped with the speed and claws etc. that natural meat eaters are, but most people don't like the idea of eating raw meat, so we would need even more tools in to be able to eat and digest it. And re. the evolution thing, even if humans at some early point in evoulution would have been natural meat eaters, there aren't enough wild animals to feed humanity today anyway, which means that the only way to survive on a animal based diet would be mass production of chicken, eggs, meat etc, which even many meat eaters admit that they don't accept.

    The choice is not difficult, is it?

  19. #69
    FR
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Good points, Korn. I wanted to add that our bodies make b12 and store it as well. Those who are b12 deficient have absorbtion problems and they can be either omni or vegan.

  20. #70
    DancingWillow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote StevieP
    We're pretty crap runners compared to "real" runners like cheetas, so are we not evolved to run? We're pretty crap swimmers compared to "real" runners like fish, so are we not evolved to swim?
    First of all, running and swimming are not intrinsically damaging to your health, unlike the consumption of meat and dairy, which, as mentioned before, has serious consequences, including death. Second, if you want to swim reacreationally, then we are evolved to do that; our bodies and limbs allow us to do so. However, I doubt that you would argue that humans are swimmers, as we cannot live underwater like other swimmers (fish, manatees, etc). Thus, we're clearly not "meant" to be swimmers. You can choose to go against that, and decide that you'll live like a swimmer, but you would obviously die.

    Quote StevieP
    You can not go against evolution. Its not going to come over and say "you can't do that". If you take that line then we are going against evolution by typing, leaving in houses and using toliets.
    Yes, you can go against evolution, or, more specifically, the current abilities and mechanisms that your body has evolved. All the heart disease, heart attacks, hypertension, and so on are precisely nature coming and saying "you can't do that"... unfortunately, most people ignore this warning and continue to destroy their bodies.

    Quote StevieP
    Not quiet. Evolution is a mechanism that favours a adaptions that result in increased survival rates. It has no purpose, no aim, no goal.
    And since death due to cancer, heart disease, and other health disturbances is the opposite of an "increased survival rate," then evolution does not favor it.

    Quote StevieP
    No, not really, we are far far far more complex than that. Evolution does not drive our actions. We don't sit there and think, oh doing X will increase my chances of propogating my DNA, instead we have evolved things like friendship, love, sexual desire, etc. It is these things that give us the advantages that may increase the chances of our DNA getting passed on. Without such high level systems notions of compassion would be absent from us, and we would never be vegans. As I hinted at before, we are not the victims or the slaves of evolution.
    I don't understand your point/argument here...


    Quote StevieP
    Ok, I'm now the meating troll:

    troll: Ok, you are saving that an action that causes illness proves that we are not meant to do it? That is your argument? Then how do you explain self sacrfic, why would any one endanger themselves for another.
    Self-sacrifice is a whole different story and not a good analogy here. It usually involves religious beliefs and rituals, unlike basic survival needs (eating, sleeping, etc).

    Quote StevieP
    2ndly those who eat moderate amounts of meat have the same life expectancy as VEGANS (see Plant Based Nutrion published by the Vegans Society) AND vegetarian out live vegans. Therefore, we must have evolved to eat dairy and eggs!
    Now, you're confusing correlation and causation. You can't argue that eating dairy and eggs causes vegetarians to outlive vegans, because there are other factors that come into play (lifestyle choices, exercise, etc). For instance, if a vegan is either uneducated about proper nutrition or chooses to eat junk food, then a healthy vegetarian who eats healthy food, exercises, and so on, will mostly likely outlive the unhealthy vegan. And that's not even factoring in genetically inherited aspects of health. On the other hand, there is research that clearly shows a causative relationship between eating meat/dairy and various diseases, just like there is a clear causative relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
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  21. #71

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Slow down guys, your getting all excited over this but you don't need to.

    What I'm try to do is ensure you are not putting forward arguments that are flawed. If we are to win the veggie debate we must know which arguments we can win and those we can not and those which just make us look like we don't know what we are talking about.

    1 To say: humans are better suited to eat plant matter than meat is true.
    2 To say: humans can not eat meat is not true. (we see them doing all the time)
    3 To say: humans are not evolved to eat meat is not true. (and is the direct implication of the previous statement).

    If its not in the nature of a species to do something (say fish and tap-dancing) you don't need to make rules about it. Fish can't tap-dance and therefore you KNOW they have not evolved to do it. If they could tap-dance you would KNOW that they had and it would be stupid to say to them "you shouldn't tap-dance", even if they still weren't as good at it as Fred Astaire. It is simple: if they can do it, they evolved to do it - there is no other way they could have got that ability apart from evolving it. The first animals to evolve eye had crap eye, it does not mean they should not see.

    You need to understand the differences between the above statements.

    If you argue statement 1 you will win the argument. If you argue statements 2 or 3 you have lost.

    The vegan forum is a nice place to be because it does not allow meat eating trolls to probe your veggie beliefs. But in some ways that is a pity because it would help refine your understanding for how to promote veganism in debate.

    There are so many good reasons to be vegan that we don't need to put forward false ones.

    If your veganism hangs on the belief that we did not evolve to eat meat then your veganism will be dismissed by anyone with the merest passing interest in biology and WE don't want that.

    Very briefly:
    1) Who could be bothered? 2) How many people seriously like the taste of raw meat? Raw milk? Raw eggs? 3) Who wouldn't get sick? 4) Who can digest feathers? 5) Who can outrun a wild animal and bring it down without weapons... even domesticated cats & dogs can! 6) Who slavers at the site of a chicken? Who looks at a cow and envisions themself taking a large bite out of its side, skin and all? 7) Who's teeth could do that? 8) And so on!
    This assumes humans do not have brains!

  22. #72
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote StevieP
    To say: humans are not evolved to eat meat is not true.
    Cattle can be kept alive long enough to go to slaughter on carcass and manure, and lots of drugs. Just because they can eat something that does not provide optimal nutrition and survive on it does not mean they are evolved to eat it. Through the use of technology we can obtain flesh for consumption, just as through the use of technology we can force cattle to eat flesh too. But humans are not evolved to eat meat, any more than cattle are. We evolved, we continue to evolve, and some of us eat meat. These two processes are independent of each other.

    Quote StevieP
    This assumes humans do not have brains!
    We cannot yet use our brains to change our internal systems into those of carnivores. We have a mistaken idea that carnivores are superior to prey animals, and we want to be like the predator, and not the prey, so we try to imitate them, and go against our biological needs in a misguided effort to appear superior to all other animals. Humans do have brains, but most of us are not using them to their best potential.

  23. #73

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Boy this is hard work. Two simple statements.

    1) Can a species gain an ability (eating meat, flying, jumping etc) other than evolving it?

    2) Do humans have the ability to eat meat?

    If you answered 1 - No, 2 - yes then humans evolved to be able to eat meat. (STOP: It's a total differerent point whether eating it is a good idea though (like rape and murder) - so don't even start typing that point again - we all agree!!!)

    If you answered 1 - yes - then you have made a crucial biological discovery which you must publish and becomes very famous.

    If you answered 1 - No, 2 - No. Then you are on a planet where all the humans are vegan and then this conversation has been totally meaningless to you.

  24. #74

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Just because humans are able to eat meat does not mean that they were meant to eat meat though, right? As Seaside pointed out, cows are forced to eat other cows (by it being added to their feed) and can do so, but they are obviously not "meant" to eat meat being natural herbivores. Besides, humans completely altered the "cow" that is fed back to other cows, making it an unnatural--not even evolved--product. Thus when cows are eating other cows, it would NEVER have happened without man's intervention and material manipulation--they would not have been able to eat the "cow" any other way.

    We humans are probably fructivores: our bodies are better able to digest and process fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc than meat, dairy, and eggs. Even fructivores (such as chimpanzees) sometimes eat some "meat"--usually small amounts of insects that might make up 1 ounce of their weekly diet--but if they ate like most Americans eat, they'd end up in the same condition that most Americans are in healthwise because they were not meant to eat like that. I actually read about one study where rabbits were forced to eat carnivorously and ended up with arterial plaques whereas dogs/cats fed the exact same way did not--because they are MEANT to eat carnivorously while rabbits and humans are not. BTW, with your argument, you could also argue that people evolved to smoke tobacco so we were "meant" to do so since we have that "ability."

    Oh, and humans (as well as other animals) can LEARN a new ability without a biological evolution according to most social scientists, so it's not an exciting new discovery to say so...that is not to say that the ability to learn did not evolve, but the specific behaviors were learned and not something that had to have a physical/biological evolution to occur. (That is, they can "learn" to drink cow's milk even though that may lead to--because of their biology--lactose intolerance. Some people "evolved" to have the enzyme that digests lactose after many generations.) I guess this goes back to the "nature vs. nurture" argument over whether your behavior is determined by heredity or the environment. The answer (to most but the most diehard biologist or social scientist) is that it is a combination of both that makes us who we are--INCLUDING what we eat. It seems that quite a few of us on this forum believe that humans in their original/natural state were fructivores/vegans, but we went against our inherent nature based on many occurences and perhaps through learning (i.e., seeing natural carnivores take down prey and thinking that seemed like a good idea), leading to some physical changes (i.e., producing more of the enzymes that break down meat).
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  25. #75
    reticent
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Evolution doesn't "mean" for anything to happen. Humans aren't "meant" to eat vegetables any more than they're "meant" to eat meat. Humans evolved the capacity to eat meat. So did cows, else they would not be able to digest it. Cows did not evolve the ability to eat iron and thus cannot digest it. Eating meat isn't optimal for either man or cow, but evolution isn't concerned with anyone's health.

    Evolution produces bad ideas all the time. Those ideas eventually go extinct with no human intervention needed. Evolution produced the dinosaurs.

    Man can build airplanes because man evolved the capacity for reason. The capacity for reason is a phenominally powerful natural attribute, but it is a natural attribute none the less.

    ...and for the record, during a previous phase of my life I have caught edible animals bare handed. Didn't even need my capacity for reason to do it.

  26. #76

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote eve
    As Kerrie Saunders, PhD, states "The United States is one of the sickest nations on the planet. Most Americans accept degenerate chronic diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer as part of the normal aging process."

    As for those who think it is advantageous to eat vegies without washing them first, you need to watch for the trichostrongylus worm found on vegies that have had manure on them. May as well garnish your salad with faeces direct. There are quite a few people with gut problems from eggs of these worms. ("Pathology" 1995, 27:182-185).
    Right, U.S. citizens in general are the sickest relative to rich/industrialized nations, as we have loads of the diseases of affluence: diseases caused by an excessive diet, lack of exercise, and loads of "unnatural" foods (i.e., high fructose corn syrup). However, many poor nations are really "sicker" with diseases of poverty: diseases caused by malnourishment (no way to afford/find food or only a few foods available--like only eating rice all the time), dangerous physical conditions (i.e., living in a "war zone"), and lack of medical care. The diseases of affluence and poverty both IMHO show that humans were meant to eat certain types/combinations of food and not others.

    As far as not washing veggies, I totally agree...that's why I said we wouldn't want to go back to the "less hygenic" days even if we could. We can get plenty of B12 in fortified soy milk, fortified cereal, dulce (and some other sea veggies), nutritional yeast, etc. We were just talking about how humans who were naturally vegan used to get their B12. I hope no one took my discussion as encouragement to stop washing veggies
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  27. #77
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote StevieP
    B1) Can a species gain an ability (eating meat, flying, jumping etc) other than evolving it?
    Driving a car, operating a computer, using a cook stove, watching TV, ..........
    These are all learned abilities, not products of evolution. Even human speech is a learned ability. We have evolved the capacity for speech, but if we are not taught how to speak before we reach a certain age, we will never be able to speak. This was documented in a severe case of child abuse. The little girl in question was kept locked in a basement for many years, and when she was finally removed, it proved impossible for her to develop the ability to speak with her vocal cords, in spite of her intelligence. There was no physical reason for her inability; she had a voice, and could make sounds, but never real words. She was able to learn to use sign language, but she never became able to speak.

    Most wild mammalian predators are not born with the ability to hunt. They must be taught by their mothers or their pack. They have evolved the capacity to hunt, but not the ability. That is taught.

    Humans have learned that they are able to consume meat. However, we do not have the biological capacity to thrive on it, and since our bodies manufacture all the cholesterol we need (cholesterol is a vital brain nutrient despite all the bad press it gets) we have not evolved a need for outside sources. Cholesterol is found in animal "foods" only. Since we have not evolved a need for outside sources, we have not evolved an ability to consume "meat". We have learned it instead.

  28. #78
    FR
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Spot on, Seaside.

  29. #79
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Thanks FR!
    And you too, eclectic_one. I forgot to quote what you said about learning.
    Quote eclectic_one
    Oh, and humans (as well as other animals) can LEARN a new ability without a biological evolution according to most social scientists, so it's not an exciting new discovery to say so...

  30. #80

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote Seaside
    Driving a car, operating a computer, using a cook stove, watching TV, ..........
    These are all learned abilities, not products of evolution. Even human speech is a learned ability. We have evolved the capacit
    Don't get too excited FR.

    Ohhhh yes they are!! If they can just be learnt then ANY animal could learn them, but they can't.

    The brain evolved general purposes modules for dealing with problems, not specific modules for one off tasks.

    To run through a forest and not the hit trees requires a massive amount of processing power associated with understanding of the laws of motion, of 3D processing etc, predictions of grip on different surfaces etc.We have not evolved a modules to run through forests.

    These are the skills we use in driving a car, and that's why we find it so easy.

    (Learning is also an evolved ability).

    We did not evolve the ability to pick up 3 cm * 5cm stones, and then the ability to pick up sticks, and then the ability to pick up 3cm * 7cm stones etc, we evolved the ability to grasp 3D objects in multiple planes.

    You're so close with the langauge bit, but you've drawn the wrong conclusion. See below.

    There's most probably not much point in pushing this debate any further but let me suggest that just a little more reading on how evolution works will make you an even more passionate veggie than you already are.

    Try any book by Richard Dawkins and if you want a good read on the evolution of langague and why that girl could not learn to speak check out "Stephen Pinker" specifically the "Language Instinct". Until that point I would recommend not promoting vegginess by evolution unless you start from.

    "Humans have evolved not to require meat in their diet" - that one is true!!

  31. #81

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    If you've not noticed from another thread, my mate James Gold is on VeggieVisions talking on this very subject:

    http://www.veggievision.co.uk/james_gold_part1.htm

    (I would pick him on his "designed" argument stuff but he's bigger than me!)

    Anyway, check him out, he's very good at his stuff and a very nice man.

  32. #82

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Eating meat/dairy/egg is one of the specific "tasks" we did not evolve to do. Finding nutrients is necessary, but some people probably LEARNED (either by necessity in not having access to non-animal food sources due to drought or the like or by seeing other animals eat animal-based food sources) to eat animal products, it was not inherent in our nature to do so. As others have pointed out, our bodies do not "run" well on an animal-based diet, showing that it is not MEANT to metabolize such foods. [The study I already mentioned where herbivores produce arterial plaques on an omnivorous diet but carnivores and omnivores cannot is an obvious example.] I already admitted that we evolved to learn, but the specific behaviors--like deciding to eat flesh--are learned and not directly a result of some physical evolution. For example, there are cultures that are cannibals, but other cultures find that a taboo--like most Western cultures. They learned to eat people and have their reasons why they consider it OK, while other cultures find the behavior completely disgusting and barbaric. So which of these behaviors--cannibalism vs anti-cannibalism--are we "meant" to do? And yes, many consider language aquisition an instinct, but again the specific--which language(s)--is a learned behavior. Some people are multi-lingual and others have a hard time with one language. There also seems to be (as Seaside pointed out) a cut-off point beyond which a person will never be fluent in a human language if they have never learned one. Besides, there are other animals who can learn human language--such as some great apes and parrots--up to a point. Animals have also been taught behaviors that they would never have done in the "natural" world such as dancing, whistling the Andy Griffith show theme song, etc. And yes, there are human beings who are quite adept at running through forests because they learned to do so due to their environment.

    An example outside human biology might be a good analogy...My mom used to have a 1974 VW Bug, which ran on REGULAR gasoline. After a while, you couldn't find regular gasoline--only unleaded. So my father added a special additive that somehow combined with the unleaded to allow the Bug to run on it. Does that mean that the Bug was MEANT to run on this additive+unleaded gasoline? No, it means that it could run on it and someone invented a way to do so, but the Bug was meant to run on regular gasoline and really never ran completely "right" on this created mixture.

    Obviously I personally do not believe that biology is the complete "master" over our behaviors because the environment (through reinforcement and punishment, observation, etc) can alter our behaviors even if we are not biologically meant to do something. For example, some animals who chew their fur into bald spots without any physical problem underlying the behavior or people who have PTSD due to an extreme physical trauma. Biology is not destiny...for better or worse, sometimes we ignore what we should and are meant to do (biologically). Yes, there are biologists (and those who almost "worship" biology) who will claim that everything is biology, but thankfully there are many more scientists--in the "hard" and "soft" sciences--who realize that the whole is more than the sum of its parts: nature and nurture are intertwined in our behaviors and lives. (Some even discuss how the mind is an emergent property.)
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  33. #83

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Ok. just one more.

    Quote eclectic_one
    Eating meat/dairy/egg is one of the specific "tasks" we did not evolve to do.
    There are NO high level specific task - see above.

    Finding nutrients is necessary, but some people probably LEARNED (either by necessity in not having access to non-animal food sources due to drought or the like or by seeing other animals eat animal-based food sources) to eat animal products, it was not inherent in our nature to do so.
    Do you imagine our ancestors going around trying different foods and saying to themselves - oh I'm not suppose to eat that, ahh this ones on the list, I'll eat that instead.

    No, either through mistake or curiously they tried EVERY thing. The poisions killed them. Those who evolved to detect the poisions through taste and smell won out. Those who tried meat and had the enzymes to digest them (however badly) would have had some small advantage over those who could not make use of this extra food when their normal food was scare (and it goes for all food matter not just meat - one of the mistakes that's repeatedly being made here is you're treating meat as some special case and its not - step out of the vegan box.).

    You need also to remember that when meat becomes a problem it is only be reducing life expectany. We don't die at the ripe old age of 25 because of meat eating. If meat eating does not have a negative effect on our reproduction rates then eating meat is no issue for evolution.

    As others have pointed out, our bodies do not "run" well on an animal-based diet,
    They do "better" not eating meat, but that's irrelevent here.

    showing that it is not MEANT to metabolize such foods.
    Open your dictionary - meant.

    The study I already mentioned where herbivores produce arterial plaques on an omnivorous diet but carnivores and omnivores cannot is an obvious example.
    Makes no difference to reproduction rates - irrelevent.

    I already admitted that we evolved to learn, but the specific behaviors--like deciding to eat flesh--are learned and not directly a result of some physical evolution.
    Bees never ever ever ever ever ever learn to eat fish - I wonder why they can't?

    Humas never ever ever ever ever ever learn to eat grass - I wonder why?

    For example, there are cultures ....
    Stop right there ... cultures!!

    An example outside human biology might be a good analogy...My mom used to have a 1974 VW Bug,
    No its a very bad analogy because the VW WAS designed and we evolved. You must understand the difference by now!

    Obviously I personally do not believe that biology is the complete "master" over our behaviors because the environment (through reinforcement and punishment, observation, etc) can alter our behaviors even if we are not biologically meant
    meant meant meant meant

    Biology is not destiny...for better or worse, sometimes we ignore what we should and are meant to do (biologically).
    meant meant meant meant


    (Some even discuss how the mind is an emergent property.)
    Yes, they are the SAME thing. Evolution is meaningless without an evironment and the brain is such a wonderful device that it need to be programmed by the enviroment to do all the great things it does.


    My answers may have seemed a bit curt but I feel you have yet still to appricate how evolution works and it is because of this you feel what I am saying is an attack on your justification for veganism - its not and when you understand why it is not you will be stronger when confronted by anti-vegan arguments.

    Evolution:

    It has no goals so you can not use words that imply design, authority, judgment, morality etc when speaking of it.

    It does not progress or regress.

    No species is any more evolved than any other.

    Evolution only makes a difference if a trait effects reproduction rates (strokes and heart attack in old age make no difference)

    Evolution does not give capability to solve one specific problem, it only gives "tools" to solve those problems.

    So, if you can put forward an argument that does not break any of the above then your home and dry, but if it does your arguement will be dismissed by those who do understand evolution and one more potential veggie is lost to us.

  34. #84

    Default Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution

    First off, I have never tried to "convert" someone to veganism using the evolution argument and don't really foresee a situation where I ever will. Largely because as I have already stated, I do not believe that evolution completely determines human behavior. I realize that human behavior is MUCH too complex to be explained through reductionistic biological theories.

    As far as the VW analogy (definition of analogy: Similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar--Yahoo education), I do understand the difference between design and evolution, didn't you notice that I said that I was NOT referring to human biology/evolution, but rather showing that just because something can work--whether evolved or designed--does not mean that it was originally meant to work that way. The human mind is amazing and that was my point, we can in some ways "design"--there is a mind-body connection that even neuroscientists don't fully comprehend--ourselves to behave in certain ways even if it is not a biologically evolved/helpful trait to do so. And CULTURE is important in showing how evolution is not the be-all-end-all of human behavior. Cultural differences show how people can do things that do not necessarily make biological sense such as some cultures killing off infant girls when that will eventually lead to a vast imbalance of the sexes, which does greatly affect the ability to have future children. Many even discuss how humans use culture as a "replacement" for the myriad instincts that many animals have (yes, there is argument about humans having instincts and as I already pointed out many believe that language aquisition is an instinct)...since we do not naturally know as babies to avoid a hungry tiger, we have to have a culture to teach us how to keep our babies out of the tiger's way. Someone can also have biological parents who were intelligent, caring, and loving, but end up adopted and raised by ignorant, uncaring, hateful people and end up LEARNING to be totally different than that person's biological makeup. Just because some animals do not do every behavior that humans have chosen to does not disprove the point that humans can learn to do things that they were not meant to do. BTW, I just read an article on how in some parts of Asia, Afghanistan, and Africa people ARE eating grass as they have no choice with no other food available, so yes, humans do apparently learn to eat grass when necessary.

    The definition of mean: To have as a consequence; bring about (Yahoo education). Does evolution have consequences? YES. Since "In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences (Robert Green Ingersoll)," I still think that saying mean/meant is quite applicable...so human beings have as a negative consequence of not staying true to their fructivore nature problems such as lower fertility (less sperm production, testicular cancer--even at younger ages, endometriosis, etc) which DOES have an impact on reproduction. And yes, eating meat/eggs/milk can have an impact on "youthful" people if you die of food poisoning or diseases such as asthma, which are largely animal-based food problems. [I know it is not completely due to meat/eggs/dairy, but the vast majority of deadly food poisoning instances do involve meat.]

    On top of all that, I personally think debate/disagreement is healthy on any topic, as I enjoy true debate with open-minded people, even if they don't agree with me. However, to make character attacks on someone who doesn't agree with you by implying that they are somehow inferior (by being condescending--i.e., "you must know the difference by now" and repeatedly saying "meant meant meant") or nit-picking only points you have arguments against (i.e., "stop right there...culture!," ignoring PTSD, and constantly picking on the definition of one word--when most words have myriad definitions and one might fit or not, etc.) tends to water down any argument by showing that there is no cool-headed objectivity or openness to the possibility that those you disagree with might have some valid points. This is a topic, whether believed or not, that there is NOT complete agreement on even within the scientific community. Besides, I really think being condescending would be more likely to scare away future vegans--or anyone that you're trying to convince of anything--than seeming to not be an evolutionary expert.
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  35. #85
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote DancingWillow

    I know evolutionary changes take a very looooong time, but given that there are no signs of meat-eating stopping any time soon (despite more and more people converting to veganism), is it possible that it will continue long enough to cause such changes?
    I believe there is truth to the phrase "you are what you eat". If you look at children raised on a vegan diet and children on a meat eating diet they do develop at different rates. I feel that heavy meat eaters are prone to aggression (don't know if that is scientific or not but that's my observation). I remember once wondering how many violent criminals are vegan I wonder if there is a medical correlation to meat eating and violent behavior. Anybody know?
    Everything I eat has its beginnings in a seed.

  36. #86

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    I've started doing my own reading about this after this discussion--like I said, I like learning new things and I agree that having more supporting evidence is a good idea--and found this site (both links from the same site) that discusses how culture is more "to blame" in humans meat-eating:
    http://www.ecologos.org/fft.htm
    http://www.ecologos.org/meat-eating.htm
    {Peta also had some mention of human evolution, but their explanations were very brief and simplistic IMHO.}

    I also found this about how meat/dairy/eggs influence reproduction (has links to many articles on the subject):
    http://www.pcrm.org/search/?query_string=infertility

    I personally think that one reason people eating meat can continue on to ages old enough to reproduce is because human beings designed ways to do so (i.e., taking tons of medications or having surgeries that we invented to stave off the natural consequences of our unnatural behaviors).

    Also, if the word "meant" bothers some so much, how about this...since if you focus on the context of my argument and not the minutiae (such as semantics) it is obvious that equipped is just as apt, just substitute "equipped" for every time I said meant. So evolution equipped our human bodies to be fructivores, as displayed by the many traits that others have mentioned (long intestines, no claws, etc). However, we were also equipped to learn and create, leading to tools (i.e., forks and knives, medicines, guns) and processes (surgery, cooking, pickling, etc) and even the creation of culture to override the natural state of our bodies. So we cooked meat to kill bacteria that carnivores have natural defenses against, take medicines to overcome the problems that animal product consumption causes, sometimes even have surgeries to overcome those problems.
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  37. #87

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote UrbanVegan
    I believe there is truth to the phrase "you are what you eat". If you look at children raised on a vegan diet and children on a meat eating diet they do develop at different rates. I feel that heavy meat eaters are prone to aggression (don't know if that is scientific or not but that's my observation). I remember once wondering how many violent criminals are vegan I wonder if there is a medical correlation to meat eating and violent behavior. Anybody know?
    I'm sorry I can't recall the source (I'll try to find out), but I have read that aggressiveness is more common in non-vegans. I think one of the sources was the book Plant Roots by Bowlby...a book I'd recommend to anyone. I know I've read in many sources that more animal products lead to higher levels of estrogen/testosterone, which would lead to more of some types of behaviors and actually in some cases infertility.
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  38. #88
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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote eclectic_one
    I know I've read in many sources that more animal products lead to higher levels of estrogen/testosterone, which would lead to more of some types of behaviors and actually in some cases infertility.
    Which is why teens with meat diets develop their sex drive earlier than those who do not eat meat.. well based on a study I read. I remember reading once that vegetarian and vegan teens become sexually active later than those who eat meat. I also read this is why female children "develop" so early and why their menstrual cycle begins before vegetarian and vegan girls. I really do believe that meat in a child's and teen's diet does impact their development.
    Everything I eat has its beginnings in a seed.

  39. #89

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Yes, quite a bit of research does seem to indicate that animal products, especially meat and dairy, has a big impact on hormones and the human body.
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  40. #90

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution

    Sorry for the long delay in replying but we've just had National Vegetarian Week and World Enviroment Day back to back in the UK and I've been running five events over that time and so the joys of debate (regardless of how condescending ) have had to be placed on the back burner.

    BTW others - unless you have time to kill just skip to the end of the post.

    Quote eclectic_one
    First off, I have never tried to "convert" someone to veganism using the evolution argument and don't really foresee a situation where I ever will. Largely because as I have already stated, I do not believe that evolution completely determines human behavior. I realize that human behavior is MUCH too complex to be explained through reductionistic biological theories.
    As soon as you talk about a species (humans) and "not meant to" you are putting forward either an evolutionary argument or a god one, and I refer the reader to the thread title.

    As far as the VW analogy (definition of analogy: Similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar--Yahoo education), I do understand the difference between design and evolution, didn't you notice that I said that I was NOT referring to human biology/evolution, but rather showing that just because something can work--whether evolved or designed--does not mean that it was originally meant to work that way.
    "but rather showing that just because something can work--whether evolved or designed"

    But the big different is "meant" is totally applicable to something that was "designed", e.g. the VW, but totally unapplicable to something that evolved - so the analogy is merely an attempt to show that "evolution" and "design" are the same thing. I know you say that you understand the difference but your analogy shows the opposite.

    The human mind is amazing and that was my point, we can in some ways "design"--there is a mind-body connection that even neuroscientists don't fully comprehend--ourselves to behave in certain ways even if it is not a biologically evolved/helpful trait to do so. .... the point that humans can learn to do things that they were not meant to do.
    Here you are again slipping into the mind set of believing evolution has given us a module in our head that says "if you do A you will pass on your genes and if you do B you will not" - a kin to the idea that there is a "you eat meat" module in a carnival and a "you do not eat meat" in a herbivoure.

    What really happens is that there are lots of general purpose modules that come together to give solutions that are generally benifital in passing on genes. Evolution does not come along and say "oi you, humans! I didn't give you hands to type on keyboards I gave them to you to hold flints! - stop it!", no it just made us dextrous.

    Our great social skills are just another evolved skills which us humans can use as we please and if a species (not a culture) does something silly with those general skills for long enough it will lose them or go
    extinct.

    If you move away from the emotional subjects like veganism, cannablism and killing babies when thinking about evolution, and replace them with unemotional things like running, flying, swimming you will more readily see the mistakes in your reasoning.

    BTW, I just read an article on how in some parts of Asia, Afghanistan, and Africa people ARE eating grass as they have no choice with no other food available, so yes, humans do apparently learn to eat grass when necessary.
    No, they have not learnt to eat grass, they are merely starving and unless they can gain access to food they can properly digest they will die. I hope they are not reading your post.

    The definition of mean: To have as a consequence; bring about (Yahoo education).
    Ok, let us play with this one.

    The orginal premise:

    "Humans are not meant to eat meat".

    Let throw your new word into it, (and we have to completely rearrange the sentence to do it):

    "There are consequences for humans if they eat meat."

    Well that does not get us very far. If we take the standard meaning of "consequences" it just means "if one thing happens it will cause something else to happen" - cause and effect.

    So let drop that into the sentence:

    "if humans eat meat something will happen."

    Again, we have not got very far as it fails to tell us anything about what will happen. So if we had:

    "if humans eat apples something will happen" it would be an equivent statement to the meat one.

    So the only conclusion we can come to is you wany to use the word in a slight diffence sense by putting an implied "bad" in front of it as in:

    "If you break the law you will suffer the consequences!"

    (This arguing technique is called equivocation. You start an argument by using one meaning of the word and then try to end the argument by slyly using a different meaning, but no worries as it is normally an accident caused by the looseness of language.)

    So using this more emotive definition of the word we get:

    "if humans eat meat something bad will happen."

    And if they do eat enough of the stuff, bad things will surely happen and no one is in disagreement with that statement.

    So, does that sound like agreement to you? Well, if you go back to my second post you will read:

    "... eating meat is not optimumal for human health ... ".

    It is just a more succinct way of saying if humans eat meat something bad will happen [to their health].

    But why would you use the such an obscure meaning of the word meant when you really just want to say it was unhealthly? I put it to you that your adoption of the word consequences is just case of weasel words?

    Does evolution have consequences? YES. Since "In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences (Robert Green Ingersoll),"
    By this he means that there are no moral judgements, things just happen that way, there is no "meant" about it - go back to my very first post.

    I still think that saying mean/meant is quite applicable...so human beings have as a consequence of not staying true to their fructivore nature problems such as lower fertility (less sperm production, testicular cancer--even at younger ages, endometriosis, etc) which DOES have an impact on reproduction. And yes, eating meat/eggs/milk can have an impact on "youthful" people if you die of food poisoning or diseases such as asthma, which are largely animal-based food problems. [I know it is not completely due to meat/eggs/dairy, but the vast majority of deadly food poisoning instances do involve meat.]
    It has to be a signficant impact. Just taking on of your examples (but I can do the same with the others if you need it), ... about 500 people a year die from food poisioning in the UK, that's slightly less than the number that get murdered and we are not now going to start arguing that we not evolved to be able to kill each other. Dying from food poisioning is no fun but it not important as a evolutionary pressure humans (not in the West anyway.)

    On top of all that, I personally think debate/disagreement is healthy on any topic, as I enjoy true debate with open-minded people, even if they don't agree with me. However, to make character attacks on someone who doesn't agree with you by implying that they are somehow inferior (by being condescending--i.e., "you must know the difference by now" and repeatedly saying "meant meant meant") or nit-picking only points you have arguments against (i.e., "stop right there...culture!" and ignoring PTSD, etc.) tends to water down any argument by showing that there is no cool-headed objectivity or openness to the possibility that those you disagree with might have some valid points.
    Sorry if my "short hand" upsets you, but it becomes tiresume to explain the same points multiple times.

    "nit-picking" - very unvegan habit even nits have a right to live their lives in freedom. Which good points have I missed? I will address them.

    I'm sure on different subjects or in different arenas you would humble me with you superiority and I'm sure if Richard Dawkins butted into the thread he would be very quick to pull me up where I have erred. I apologize for my style.

    to the possibility that those you disagree with might have some valid points
    But what if there are none? I'm not being nasty, but what should one do in such a situation? I could put "we great respect ...." before every comment if that would help, but we all know what that cliche means.

    And how do you think I go to the point of abandoning this "meant to eat meat" argument, only by listening to those who are not vegans! da-Darh!

    "meant meant meant" - try forming your argument without using that word - it is the whole crux of the argument and if you can not say what you mean by not using it then you have yet to understand what you are trying to say.

    "stop right there...culture!" - Cultural traits verses evolution are explained in great detail in my very first post.

    I really think being condescending would be more likely to scare away future vegans than seeming to not be an evolutionary expert.
    I do get upset when false arguments are used to prove veganism and it makes the job of campaigning vegans more difficult if they have to spend their time proping up myths. The need for reliable B12 sources in the vegan diet was fiercely resisted (and still is somewhat) by some parts of the vegan community but by getting the science and language right and facing up to reality this has only be a positive thing for all vegans. We also need to remove false argument so we only put forward arguments that we can win for the good of veganism.

    If a few vegans or even future vegans go away from this thread understanding that the "we are evolved/designed/meant to eat meat" argument is either illogical or at best irrelevant then the excerise has been very worth while indeed and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to exercise the points so well.

    (Ok that very last bit was a wee bit condescending but it was designed to be fun, and I'm sticking out my check for a well deserved slap!).

  41. #91

    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    First I feel I have to respond to your characterization of me as somehow uncaring because I mentioned the people eating grass in some areas. I'm not sure why you characterized me in such a way from the comment, suggesting that I thought people enjoyed or deserved it...my very point was the complete opposite of that: that people will do what is necessary even if it is not "meant" to biologically occur--they have no choice as there are no food sources available, so they have started trying to eat grass, in complete opposition to YOUR previous statement that people have never tried to "eat grass." That is, since you implied that humans have not evolved to eat grass (by relating the bees eating fish example just before your statement) and further said they would not do something they were unable to--as you said only evolution makes you "able," they would not try. Since they are eating grass, that shows that they LEARNED to--which you said they hadn't...you even made the connection that the idea of humans eating grass is as ridiculous as bees eating fish. But bees operate more on instinct than humans, which was my point entirely! Regardless, I do understand and sympathize with these people who have no choice and personally give to many charities which are helping. My ignored point in that discussion is that many anthropologists believe that is why humans turned to meat--being unable to find suitable vegetable matter in some areas and climates--and that people will LEARN to do things even if they make no biological sense. I am only responding to your last response on this thread because I found it offensive that you would impune my character in such a way.

    Also, as you just mentioned that food poisoning doesn't kill many (though if you looked worldwide, I'd disagree), there are two ailments that probably do that are linked to meat consumption: flu viruses and HIV/AIDs. With the current concern about the bird flu, I read up on flu viruses in general and most (if not all) come from Asian bird populations. The way they first enter human populations is through the slaughter/consumption of sick birds. Once there, they mutate into (often) airborne viruses, but the original start of the ailment is meat. Also with HIV/AIDs...many researchers into the origin of the virus believe and have fairly decent proof that it started with the slaughter/consumption of monkey meat. Though again there was mutation, if humans had not originally gone against their nature and slaughtered/consumed meat, flu pandemics and even the AIDs epidemic may not have happened. Surely you can't argue that the flu (in its many forms over hundreds of years) and HIV/AIDs have not killed millions--many of which were under the age of ability to reproduce!

    Finally, I have found your arguments as persuasive as you have apparently found mine (and the MANY others who have disagreed with you). Your continued display of condescending and judgemental comments (such as your mischaracterization of my comment about people eating grass) is far from convincing for your "side" and mainly seems meant to be argumentative. With that in mind, I see no reason to continue this discussion just to "argue" for the sake of argument--apparently some others caught on more quickly
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  42. #92

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    Default Re: Vegans, Omni's, and Evolution...

    Quote eclectic_one
    to YOUR previous statement that people have never tried to "eat grass."

    Quote StevieP
    Humas never ever ever ever ever ever learn to eat grass - I wonder why?

  43. #93

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    Default More on Evolution

    I was reading some of the old threads on evolution on the human diet and a majority of the posts began with the ad hoc assumption that meat eating is relatively modern.

    I would caution my fellow vegans about tossing around this assumption when in debate. You can find justifications and evidence for just about anything, and a lot of it sounds fairly plausible. I've, for instance, read a lot about raw food diets and a lot of the arguments sound like they hold water, but if you dig deeper you notice there isn't a tremendous amount of science behind it. It is logic from the hip, so to speak.

    Anyway, I recently came across this long article that addresses many questions and issues regarding humankind's prehistoric diet. I found it quite thorough, and a lot better researched than anything I've read that was strictly pro-vegan.

    A basic summary is that the author researched a lot of paleontological journal articles and within the scientific community there is little debate that a) humans ate meat and b) have been doing it for quite some time. He then talks about how much meat, as he is interested in finding a diet based primarily on what we evolved on. He suggests that meat comprised about 30% of the prehistoric diet. Later he talks about cooked food, since his other goal is to discount complete raw-food diets, namely the Hygienist diet. He talks about probable dates humans began to use fire as a means to cook food. This all leads up to a discussion on how we've probably been eating cooked food for long enough to actually evolve to properly digest it (especially meat and yams). The final part is all about idealism and doesn't talk much about diet or science and what not.

    I found the section on lactose tolerance quite fascinating, more because the suggested rate that humanity would gain widespread tolerance.

    I think it is pretty clear that cultures that consume meat as the primary item in their diet are in general less healthy, but you read on these forums (and hear from vegan friends) the suggestion that eating any meat is strictly unhealthy. From the looks of this, and at least according to the author of the article, this is just idealistic, myopic hogwash. Armchair philosophy, he calls it.

    Maybe your opinions will differ, but I found the article very compelling (if mostly becaused it did address in a very good manner all of the evidence I have stored in my brain about how veganism and vegetarianism are somehow natural diets). Of course my main field of study is mathematics, not paleontology or nutrition and so I have every reason to be compelled. If anything though, I am prompted to find the same research articles the author did and dissect the information myself.

    Cheers.

  44. #94
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: More on Evolution

    I found it quite thorough, and a lot better researched than anything I've read that was strictly pro-vegan.
    Beyondveg is anti-vegan site. There's nothing 'beyond' about it at all. A lot of what is written there seem to be based around a person who lived on raw food for a while without knowing much about nutrition, and (of course) ended up totally out of balance.

    Like most other stuff I've seen from them, this article seems like a fanatic attempt of trying to convince people that they shouldn't eat vegan, "because people have been eating animals for thousands (or ten thousands, millions or whatever) of years".

    There have been cultures that have not been eating meat for thousands of years too. Secondly, if something have been happening for a long time, it's still wrong if it's wrong. Women have been raped for ages, men have killed each other, the life expectancy was a lot shorter back then due to a number of reasons... and so on. Do we want to eat and do what they did just because they did it? And - did they? Did they all?

    beyondveg work very hard to promote "viewpoints" a la "evidence shows humans have always been omnivores"... but - when did 'always' start? Is it OK to be a vegetarian today if there were vegetarians 1000 years ago? Or isn't the last 1000 years part of 'always'? What about 5000 years ago? 10,000 years?

    The idea that we should *** **** because "humans always *** ****", is not only unintelligent, it is a dangerous way of looking at life.


    When humans develop as a species, there will be changes - in our bodies, in our digestive systems, in life expectancy, in how we look and in our diets. That change need to be initiated by someone. If humans did not eat meat, say, 10,000 years ago and some tribes started to eat a meat-less diet 5000 years ago, current vegetarians and vegans aren't even part of the beginning of the process away from a meat based diet. And even if we would have been the real pioneers - why bother? Shouldn't we be proud?

    Human evolution is said to start with Australopithecus Afarensis (3-4 million years ago) - and they were herbivores. If science and Google had existed 1-2 million years ago, when Homo Habilis apparently started to include meat in their diet, do you think they would have gone 'Wait, Australopithecus Afarensis didn't eat meat 2 million years ago, so we shouldn't do it either? Do you think the admin at beyondveg eats insects and poo because primates that were part of the human evolution had this things on their menu? Or, if research showed that it was common among early 'versions' of humans to hunt and eat each other, would he do the same?

  45. #95
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    Default Re: More on Evolution

    I really don't care if humans were "designed" to eat animals or not. We have a choice whether to do this or not and I choose not!



    Edit...I hope that didn't sound rude. It was not meant to.
    "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
    - Theodore Roosevelt

  46. #96
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    Default Re: More on Evolution

    All my bodily functions appear to be functioning properly on a pure vegan diet, especially digestion. I certainly feel better than I did as an omnivore. I think I can guage my health by that better than any article.

  47. #97
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    Default Re: More on Evolution

    Surely early humans were eating meat from animals that were free ranging anyway. Since by definition these were hunter gatherers and so before the domestication of animals. These animals would have been very different physiologically from the intensively farmed animals that are bred for meat today and so the nutrients from them would also be different. I don't see this as much of a reason for eating meat really.
    I also agree with Red, I don't choose not to eat meat because I believe it to be natural or not, I have a choice to do less harm and still get all the nutrients I need. Why would I choose to do more harm?

  48. #98
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    Default Re: Are we designed or 'meant' to eat meat?

    This seems like a good place to ask this...
    What do you think of the idea of meat-eating being essential to human evaluation?

    This isn't a full article
    http://berkeley.edu/news/media/relea...-14-1999a.html

    Even if it is so, should it matter? it's like if they showed that a propensity to killl other people helped us survive, that wouldn't mean we should go around killing eachother and it'd be ok, since that's what we used to do. Also, they say it doesn't reflect on vegitarian diets today with our knowledge of nutrition... but I feel it can be used as an arguement to the whole "meat is natural" thing. I was shown this and didn't know how to respond except to say that the person had to look damn hard to find it and if this was proven and excepted the information should have been more easily available. I dont' see any evidence either. Just meat lobby propaganda?
    Last edited by Korn; May 5th, 2009 at 06:56 AM. Reason: This post was moved over from another thread
    "To reduce suffering means to reduce the amount of ignorance, the basic affliction with us." -Thich Nhat Hanh

  49. #99
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    Default Re: Was meat-eating essential for human evolution?

    There seems to be controversy about this. Some people see shellfish eating (rather than or as well as meat eating) as having played an important part in the lives of early humans or proto-humans, who tended to hang out along shorelines at times in their evolution. People point to the chemistry of the brain to support the idea, as well as some archaeological finds e.g. http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...own-seafood-di

    Personally (as I'm sure I probably said further up the thread) I'm most convinced by the view that humans have done well in evolutionary terms because they can feed opportunistically on a lot of different foods and adapt to what's available at a given time. Species that can only feed on a narrow range of foods are likely to have suffered more when conditions changed and foods became unavailable.

    To me, veganism is another example of our adaptability

  50. #100

    Default Re: Was meat-eating essential for human evolution?

    This is my view:

    Human intellect developed from our social environment. Human brains are wired mostly on how to figure out who in the group is trust worthy, when someone is lying, remembering people's stories, etc. The idea is that the modern intellect developed not due to what we ate, or where we lived, but rather, the social environment of other humans itself.

    Afterall, the brain itself isn't made of protein. It is mostly FAT.

    In fact, we can see parts of this in other intelligent animals. The "smartest" are social animals, regardless of what food they eat.

    Intelligent Birds are all social: Crows, and parrots. One eats carrion, the other eats nuts. Both are social.

    Intelligent Cecapods: Dolphins, Orca. Both eat fish, but most of all, both are highly social.

    Intelligent large mammals: Elephants. Primary herbivores and social animal. Notice how large carnivores aren't as intelligent as elephants.

    non-human Primates are very intelligent, and the most intelligent, Bonobos, Chimpanzees, and Gorillas, eat mostly herbivorious diets.

    Not all social animals are intelligent in the manner. Bees are a good example. However, these large social animals use "culture", and their social groupings quite differently than social animals without as much "culture".

    Thus, I think that it is the social culture that is unique to "intelligent" animals. Thus it is our relationship to each other, and the symbols that we live with, that created an environment where the human species adapted to larger and more complex brains.

    It wasn't our diets. It wasn't where we lived. It wasn't our hunting or gathering. It was our nascent social culture that required our brain, and our brain required that social culture. They are one and the same.

    My rather un-expert view of human evolution has yet to be fully challenged even by my friends who have doctorates in anthropology. It seems that my ideas aren't new, but rather that some prominent anthropologists have the same idea (but much more refined and with direct evidence rather than the anecdotes I've posted). It is one of the competing ideas of how humans evolved.

    I'd say, to me it is the most compelling.
    ....


    That said, I think it matters very little in the end, since right now, I am free to choose to eat what I want and I can thrive.
    context is everything

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