Thursday, August 22, 2013


Did you know that if science contradicts your agenda, you may just ignore it?

Unfortunately, this happens all the time on many topics spanning all social and political ideologies. Whether your interest is in vaccines or climate change or gun control or alternative medicine or, as in this case, the evolution of omnivorous humans, people seem to come up with a predetermined conclusion and work backward to prove their opinion.

A friend posted this picture and article. I pointed out that it is pseudoscience.

More words happened.



[The following is not what Peter said. It came with the meme. You still need to read it, though.]

To those saying that humans are ''omnivores'', just because they eat both plants and meat, you need to do some actual research, [Advice in which I took. Advice in which the article-writer did not.] because what you choose to eat and what you are meant to eat are 2 completely different things. Actually, it's not even a choice. Humans eat meat because their parents shoved it down their throats when they were children, so they grew up thinking it's ''normal''. It's all due to indoctrination, social conditioning and lies coming from the meat industry. [But not the "organic" and agriculture industry, right? Prepare for said indoctrinating...]

We are not omnivores. The ''omnivorous human'' myth is based on ''observations'' that humans generally eat both plants and meat [Yes, all myths are based on observations. Wait, what?] - it is not based on scientific or biological facts [Except for the scientific and biological facts.]. Judging by anatomical design, and not by eating habits or traditions, humans are natural frugivores (a frugivore is a type of herbivore that's designed to eat and digest mostly fruits and greens).

All primates are natural frugivores. Yes, they sometimes eat meat, but that doesn't prove anything. [!?] Deer, hippos and horses also eat meat sometimes, and cats eat plant foods, but it would be silly to call them omnivores. In addition, according to some tooth enamel analysis of fossilized teeth of our ancestors, it appears that most of our ancestors had a mostly frugivorous diet (starch, fruits), while meat was just a small part of their diet, and our early ancestors did not have the ability to eat hard things, such as meat, so they were eating mostly soft fruits.

[This is a very long article. If you don't feel like reading it, even though you should, I'll explain later why this has no bearing on modern human anatomy.]

Natural omnivores are basically carnivores that are also adapted to eat plants. One would expect an omnivore to show anatomical features which equip it to eat both animal and plant foods. According to evolutionary theory, carnivore gut structure is more primitive than herbivorous adaptations. Thus, an omnivore might be expected to be a carnivore which shows some gastrointestinal tract adaptations to an herbivorous diet. [Except when something evolves in a different way, by all means, feel free to ignore it to push your ideology.]

An omnivore has an intestinal tract 4 to 6 times their body length, while carnivores' is about 3 to 6 times their body length. A human's intestinal tract is 10 to 11 times their body length, therefore humans cannot be carnivores or omnivores. [Comparing two different things is not always accurate, as is the case in comparing lions and humans. Especially when one was always one thing and the other evolved from one thing to another.]

In other words, one first must have been a natural carnivore, in order to become an omnivore, after many years of evolution. A natural herbivore cannot magically turn into an omnivore, no matter what. [Straw man argument. The science of evolution is not magic. Though it may seem that way to you since you obviously don't understand it.] This single fact [that I invented] is enough to invalidate carnists' ''theory'' that humans are ''omnivores'' [in my version of magic-science].

[From what I can discern, a "carnist" is what a "vegan" calls someone who "chooses" to eat meat. Because they believe we are all really vegans and that eating meat is a choice, much like Republicans believe being gay is a choice. It makes them feel superior, I guess. Ooh, did I just get political? Suck it.]

[Next comes a bunch of science-talk that none of the readers will understand. Including me. It's designed in a way to make you think the author is a knowledgeable person on the subject and that you should believe what he espouses. In actuality, it is senseless gobbledegook without context. I am knowledgeable enough to know when I'm being hoodwinked by a snake oil salesman.]

We have multiple copies of a gene, called Amylase 1 (or AMY1), found in human DNA, which is evolutionarily designed for digesting tubers (starches, like potatoes). Ptyalin, a form of Amylase, is also found in our saliva, and in the saliva of other frugivorous animals, which proves that we are designed to eat carbs. The salivary amylase gene has undergone duplication during evolution, and DNA hybridization studies indicate that many individuals have multiple tandem repeats of the gene. The number of gene copies correlates with the levels of salivary amylase, as measured by protein blot assays using antibodies to human amylase. Gene copy number is associated with apparent evolutionary exposure to high-starch diets. For example, a Japanese individual had 14 copies of the amylase gene (one allele with 10 copies, and a second allele with four copies). The Japanese diet has traditionally contained large amounts of rice starch. In contrast, a Biaka individual carried six copies (three copies on each allele). The Biaka are rainforest hunter-gatherers who have traditionally consumed a low-starch diet. Perry and colleagues speculated the increased copy number of the salivary amylase gene may have enhanced survival coincident to a shift to a starchy diet during human evolution.

''Atherosclerosis affects only herbivores. Dogs, cats, tigers, and lions can be saturated with fat and cholesterol, and atherosclerotic plaques do not develop.''

[This lengthy article I will address later as well. Should your lazy ass not wish to read it.]
Still think you're a natural omnivore? Try eating only raw meat (without any spices or seasonings, like true omnivores do) for at least 2 months and see if you can digest it and not get very, very sick. A true omnivore can live on an entirely plant based or an entirely meat based diet (without taking any supplements) and be healthy. True omnivores (and carnivores) can produce their own vitamin C. Humans can't. We would die from scurvy if we tried eating a meat only diet.

Facial Muscles
Carnivore - Reduced to allow wide mouth gape
Herbivore - Well-developed
Omnivore - Reduced
Human - Well-developed

Jaw Type
Carnivore - Angle not expanded
Herbivore - Expanded angle
Omnivore - Angle not expanded
Human - Expanded angle

Jaw Joint Location
Carnivore - On same plane as molar teeth
Herbivore - Above the plane of the molars
Omnivore - On same plane as molar teeth
Human - Above the plane of the molars

Jaw Motion
Carnivore - Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
Herbivore - No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
Omnivore - Shearing; minimal side-to-side
Human - No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

Major Jaw Muscles
Carnivore - Temporalis
Herbivore - Masseter and pterygoids
Omnivore - Temporalis
Human - Masseter and pterygoids

Mouth Opening vs. Head Size
Carnivore - Large
Herbivore - Small
Omnivore - Large
Human - Small

Teeth (Incisors)
Carnivore - Short and pointed
Herbivore - Broad, flattened and spade shaped
Omnivore - Short and pointed
Human - Broad, flattened and spade shaped

Teeth (Canines)
Carnivore - Long, sharp and curved
Herbivore - Dull and short or long (for defense), or none
Omnivore - Long, sharp and curved
Human - Short and blunted

Teeth (Molars)
Carnivore - Sharp, jagged and blade shaped
Herbivore - Flattened with cusps vs complex surface
Omnivore - Sharp blades and/or flattened
Human - Flattened with nodular cusps

Carnivore - None; swallows food whole
Herbivore - Extensive chewing necessary
Omnivore - Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing
Human - Extensive chewing necessary

Carnivore - No digestive enzymes
Herbivore - Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
Omnivore - No digestive enzymes
Human - Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

Stomach Type
Carnivore - Simple
Herbivore - Simple or multiple chambers
Omnivore - Simple
Human - Simple

Stomach Acidity
Carnivore - Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
Herbivore - pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
Omnivore - Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
Human - pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach

Stomach Capacity
Carnivore - 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
Herbivore - Less than 30% of total volume of digestive tract
Omnivore - 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
Human - 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract

Length of Small Intestine
Carnivore - 3 to 6 times body length
Herbivore - 10 to more than 12 times body length
Omnivore - 4 to 6 times body length
Human - 10 to 11 times body length

Carnivore - Simple, short and smooth
Herbivore - Long, complex; may be sacculated
Omnivore - Simple, short and smooth
Human - Long, sacculated

Carnivore - Can detoxify vitamin A
Herbivore - Cannot detoxify vitamin A
Omnivore - Can detoxify vitamin A
Human - Cannot detoxify vitamin A

Carnivore - Extremely concentrated urine
Herbivore - Moderately concentrated urine
Omnivore - Extremely concentrated urine
Human - Moderately concentrated urine

Carnivore - Sharp claws
Herbivore - Flattened nails or blunt hooves
Omnivore - Sharp claws
Human - Flattened nails

Bill Mancuso
I have no problem with people being vegans, vegetarians or omnivores. However, this article uses pseudo-science to push an ideology. This is not actual science.

I have no problem with other people's opinions, but simply saying that something is pseudo-science pushing ideology does not make it so.

[I tried to save him from a lengthy debunking, I did.]

Bill Mancuso
That is not an opinion. This article lies, excludes scientific evidence and cherry-picks facts that make it appear to support its predetermined conclusion, i.e., pseudoscience. Here's an example: In the first link included in the article (a very long article that I actually read), it even says there's evolutionary evidence of meat-eating: 
"This conclusion runs counter to recent isotope work suggesting that the australopithecines did in fact consume significant amounts of meat and nutritional work suggesting that meat may have provided critical nutrients for both young and old hominids." 
[People who push an ideology that is not based on facts often count on their audience not actually reading the article, just the headline and maybe subtitle. (See previous post: The Brain Frees: Chicago Confidential.) And 99% of the audience never reads past the headline. Known primarily in the right-wing echo-chamber as their main news format. But it occasionally happens on the left as well.] 

Plus, this list of comparisons is completely subjective and not scientific. "Stomach Capacity?" Approximately 1.5 million years ago, man's stomachs were 1/3 larger because they needed to eat a whole lot of plants for the calories. Then, they began to eat meat, a compact, high-energy source of calories that does not require a large stomach. Evolution. Our stomachs are smaller because of our evolution into eating meat. Now, we are smart and know what specific nutritional values individual plants provide us, so we don't need to cast a wide net. We gained this knowledge from eating meat, which accelerated brain growth. Also, the human liver most certainly can detoxify vitamin A - despite what many vegan ideological sources lie about. However, according to science, vitamin A is efficiently absorbed and utilized by humans at an average rate of 75% when taken from a mixture of sources including multivitamins, fish liver oil, and the fortification of foods such as animal foods, plant foods, milk, butter, margarine, breakfast cereals, and some snack foods. Whereas vitamin A obtained solely from plant foods are absorbed much less efficiently, at an average rate of 50%. Also, evolution provided humans with hands enabling them to make tools for hunting, capturing and slicing before eating - they do not need serrated, razor sharp teeth to perform all of these functions. What do sharks use their hands for?

There is nothing wrong with being a vegan or vegetarian, so there's no need to lie to justify them. They are not better or worse than being omnivorous. And therein lies the manufactured conflict: each group (like politics or religion or sports or superheroes) have picked their team and fight anyone who doesn't think theirs is the best - to the exclusion of all rationality. The only argument I accept is the one founded on not harming animals. I respect vegans for that reason.

I think you need to re-read this. It is not promoting one life-style OVER another; with the exception of the parent title that posted the article, this article does not say that one lifestyle is better or more superior than another. [Yes, it does. It's trying to convince omnivores that they are wrong. How is that not promoting one lifestyle over another? Also, he  negated his comment with the use of this phrase: "with the exception of..." ] As far as lies, cherrypicking and excluding scientific evidence; you show me one little article that is conclusive on ANY subject and I will show you an article that hasn't been fully researched, documented or explored. [Research that is conclusive, is not conclusive?] There are reasons that entire libraries are formed on subjects like these. [Like the libraries of inconclusive research on UFO's?] It is not a conclusion by any means, although it IS scientifically sound. [What? No... see... no. Just, no.] It even says, "Yes, they sometimes eat meat..." in the third paragraph. [!?] Your "sharks using hands" analogy is as is irrational and silly. All living things use tools that are given to them and/or developed by them. Some Birds use rocks and gravel to prepare their food. [They evolved to having no teeth.] Some animals camouflage themselves or spin webs to lay traps. [They evolved to use those methods, which is why their species’ survived.] Some even use OTHER animals to prepare their food, eating out of their fecal matter in order to get their nutrition. [Their digestive systems evolved this way. In humans, bacteria does a major part of the digesting for us. It even stimulates cell growth, represses harmful organisms, trains our immune system and defends against some diseases. Cherry-picking individual traits from separate animals and comparing them to the entirety of human evolution is not science, it’s pseudoscience.] Tools are not exclusive to humans. [He just backed up my point that humans don’t need serrated teeth. We use tools for that job.] As for "Our stomachs are smaller because of our evolution into eating meat...?" Really? Why didn't our intestines evolve as dramatically then? [They did. Our intestines are longer now because meat is more difficult to break down than foliage. We ate a LOT of twigs and berries and leaves to get the nutrients we needed, so our stomachs were larger, but our intestines were shorter because they are easier to process.] Or our teeth? And you are only partially correct that we gained knowledge from eating meat; yes, we learned something - that humans CAN eat meat - in much the same way that any carnivore can eat meat - but that is about the extent. (And yes, we learned FAR more- educationally- from eating meat, but it did not make us superior or make our brains grow larger solely from adding this food source to our diet.) [The first half of that parenthetical sentence contradicts the second half of that parenthetical sentence.] As it clearly states in the article: 
"Still think you're a natural omnivore? Try eating only raw meat (without any spices or seasonings, like true omnivores do) for at least 2 months and see if you can digest it and not get very, very sick.”
Nowhere in this article is it saying that you should convert to veganism or vegetarianism. [The entire point of pseudoscientific articles like this is to convince you to do the thing it promotes – in this case, be a vegan. Otherwise, why would it lie? “Humans are vegans, but I’m not saying you should be one.”] And nor do I. Eat meat, or don't... it doesn't matter to me. [Then why did you post this?] Killing is normal... and killing for food does not start and end with animal sources. Even Vegans kill to eat. Something living HAS to die in order for another being to go on living. That is life. What DOES matter is that Ultimately you cannot doubt or deny the obvious fact that human teeth are predominantly characteristic of frugivore and herbivore.

Bill Mancuso
I did not say it was promoting one lifestyle over another. [Even though it is.] I was pointing out that it was clearly excluding and cherry-picking information to make the case that humans are not omnivores. Humans are omnivores. Because science, unlike pseudoscience. There are plenty of real science articles conclusive on this subject. Just because you ignore them, doesn't mean they don't exist. My 'sharks using hands' analogy is not silly. It clearly explains the silliness of wondering why people don't have giant, sharp, pointy, serrated teeth - we don't need them because of evolution. We have hands, with which we make tools to hunt, capture and cut food into tiny morsels to put into our mouths. Sharks hunt, capture and cut food with their mouths only, that's why they use their one and only tool, a giant mouth with giant pointy teeth - which also exposes the subjective nonsense in the article comparing "Facial Muscles," "Jaw Type," "Jaw Joint Location," "Jaw Motion," "Major Jaw Muscles," "Mouth Opening vs. Head Size," "Teeth," "Chewing," "Saliva," and "Nails." [‘Humans don’t have sharp, serrated teeth with giant jaw muscles, so obviously we shouldn’t eat meat.’ I could do the same subjective comparison with birds: ‘Humans don’t have beaks, so obviously we shouldn’t eat nuts and berries and insects.’ Pseudoscience.] We have hands that make tools for all of that work, so we don't need those things. Again - evolution. Yes, you are correct, many animals use tools - rudimentary tools that make one or two actions easier - but nowhere near the complex tools made with complex, dexterous hands that humans use for complex tasks. Advanced evolution. [I haven’t seen any birds use rocks and gravel to build a space shuttle yet.] Comparing any animals to people doesn't work for this reason. Our teeth did evolve, they used to be flatter. Out intestines did evolve, they used to be shorter. And yes, we learned we CAN eat meat - at least 1.5 million years ago. And we did eat meat. And our bodies evolved to process that meat - this all is what evolution is about. We didn't, now we do. Evolution. It's like saying we only live out of water only because we LEARNED to, but we're still aquatic. Or is that analogy silly, too? As for the completely unscientific and nonsensical "dare" to eat raw, unspiced meat - 'Still think you're aquatic? Try living underwater for two months and see if you can not die.' Is that dare silly? Yeah, it is. [That dare doesn't take into account raw foodism - or sushi.] No, that article does not say you should convert to vegan or vegetarian, it's just trying to convince us that we already are. And yes, killing is normal, I was talking about empathy, not science. And I can doubt that human teeth are obviously characteristic of frugivores and herbivores because they are not. Because, again – science.

*****     *****     *****

As to the article, “Diet and the evolution of the earliest human ancestors” (which I know you didn’t read) - it was about australopithecines from the Plio-Pleistocene era, which was four million years ago. We’ve evolved since then.

As to the article, “Twenty Questions On Atherosclerosis” (which I also know you didn’t read): this article presents the facts that were omitted from that article in order to push that pseudoscience:

*****     *****     *****

 Well, maybe not completely different…

Just so we’re clear, I’m an omnivore, by both evolution and choice. But this is the most beautiful and inspiring thing I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Luiz Antonio: Why He Doesn't Want to Eat Octopus - Translated into English
Make it fullscreen to read the subtitles


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