I know, it’s Wednesday…
So, Things I am reading…
I’m Re-reading Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World for our Skeptics group. I don’t like to re-read books very often, but this book is such a classic, you kinda need to. Anyway, read along with us!
Also just discovered Lois McMaster Bujold, with luck I’ll have more to say on this soon.
Finals are almost here. They can’t be over quick enough.
Things with links:
Millions of Puppy Mummies in Egypt Labyrinth – I warn you, if you are a little squimish, this might not be the slideshow for you. Still, millions of mummified puppies are pretty damn cool looking, especially when you find out why the Ancient Egyptians did it.
Why you can all stop saying meat eating fueled evolution of larger brains right now – This is a blog post by David Despain and twitted by our fav DR. B.J. King at NPR. I wanted to tear this apart when I first read it, but then I browsed the comments section, and not only were other people pointing out the glaring red flags, but they were providing access to science that directly refutes this post.
What I love most about these two posts is how blatantly biased they both are. The best quote from King is:
“Do I agree with every last thing Despain writes? No. As a nutritionist, for example, he doesn’t recommend a vegetarian diet, and that I’d take issue with.” [King 2012]
Not to mention if you read King’s breif post, you are led to believe that Despain has definitive, conclusive, evidence that we should all be grazing on grass, which is not even close to what Despain says. Though he might have been trying to get there, but you know…facts…
Despain tries to make an argument that humans couldn’t have evolved because of meat, because everyone knows brains are fulled by carbs. Which is, and isn’t true. This argument is addressed pretty aggressively in the comments, and I’m not going to re-hash it here. But he’s got a few gems himself.
“Although meat does provide some valuable micronutrients and essential fats, there may not be anything incredibly special about meat nutritionally except that it freed up carbohydrate calories for feeding brains that were roughly three times larger than chimps without the use of gluconeogenesis” [Despain 2012]
So, you know, besides providing micronutirents, essential fats, and allowing our brains to get more fuel, meat really didn’t have much to do with anything… Then after trying to debunk Greg Wray‘s research, Despain’s expert Peter Ungar says: (Evolutionary Anthropologist FIGHT!…not really)
“On Wray’s research, Ungar also added,
I’m not an expert on fueling the brain, but …” [Despain 2012]
This last bit is great, always shove the blame onto unspecified others:
“Is Wrangham suggesting redemption for raw dieting and vegetarianism as a healthy dietary approach in a modern world? Some people might think so.” [Despain 2012]
Some people? Who people? Be specific, oh wait, even the experts paraded out here in an attempt to back that up wouldn’t completely downplay the role of meat in our evolution. Because, as was stated in the beginning of the post:
“There’s little use challenging the evidence that meat, whether eaten raw or cooked, was “brain food” for our ancestors. The fossil record shows a clear correlation between the appearance of hominin meat eating some two million years ago — as evidenced by stone tools, cutmarked bones, and changes in hominin teeth structure — and the drastic increase in cranial size that continued until the agricultural revolution.” [Despain 2012]
You know, Facts…