The Genealogy Diet?

Here’s an interesting article on human evolution. In a nutshell, it says that Tibetans that live at 13,000 feet – an altitude where the oxygen level is so low as to make it impossible for people from lower elevations to function properly – evolved the capability to live at this altitude in about 3,000 years. While the article discusses the controversy surrounding the time spans, it brings up an important point – our genetic heritage plays a role in what type of environment we might thrive in – and that includes our food environment.

A better known example is lactose tolerance. Adult humans were originally not able to properly digest milk. Then, with the rise of agriculture and the beginnings of animal husbandry, primitive peoples had a rich supply of calories in the milk of the animals they raised for meat.

They drank it and got sick. But not all of them.

The ones that didn’t get sick probably tended to have more kids – who could drink milk as well – and thus, people with European heritage can drink and digest milk, while a lot of other races find it a big problem.

This is why you find cultures – modern ones – where dairy is almost nonexistent in their traditional foods – how many dishes in your local Chinese restaurant have a cream sauce?

Another example is alcohol. Some people metabolize alcohol very differently than others. Some Asians and Native Americans – which share a common heritage as it is believed that Native Americans originated from Asians that crossed the land bridge between Alaska and Asia during the last Ice Age – are more profoundly affected by alcohol.

Basically – they can’t hold their booze.

Give some of them a single drink and they’re done – they turn purple and can’t drink anymore.

There’s plenty of links on this to be found – here’s one if you don’t believe me.

All of this leads me to wonder: why are there no diets based on our race?

Is it because we are so obsessed with eliminating racism that we deny the fundamental differences between peoples?

There’s a big difference between thinking we’re better than another race or culture, and acknowledging we’re different.

If we can really evolve in as little as 3,000 years, then it might be smart to consult our genealogies before we begin a diet, find what foods our ancestors ate, and use these as our basics.

The good news for us cookie-eaters is: if we just keep at it, in a few thousand years, our descendants will thrive on a diet of Chips-a-Hoy.

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14 thoughts on “The Genealogy Diet?

  1. Ah evolution. Many embrace it as unassailable truth. I find it highly improbable.

    On the other hand, Dauermodifications (kind of an embarrassment for evolutionists I would suppose) is an observable phenomenon illustrative of the plasticity of living organisms. Here’s a bit of comment:

    The amazing fitness of organisms within their own particular habitat demands an explanation. And the explanation must also account for the fact that living things seem to have a large capacity for adjustment to environmental pressures and seem to be able to pass on the benefit of these adjustments by inheritance to succeeding generations. Since experimentally it has not seemed possible to mimic nature in this respect by effecting changes on nuclear genes we must suppose either that there is some built-in mechanism of adjustment that is inheritable by some other means than nuclear genes, or that God has been at work creatively making these adjustments throughout the past.

    Certainly the fitness of things is everywhere manifest in nature and all the more manifest as the circumstances are more carefully examined. Since the environment tends to be in a state of flux, fitness must involve a similar flexibility. The ideal mechanism would be one which can capture and hold any successful adjustment made in one generation so that the next generation can build upon it. Wood Jones was one of those who argued strongly for this view, but despite his eloquence, current orthodoxy—having rejected Lamarck—did not allow him a hearing: he was arguing in favor of some form of inheritance of acquired characters. (8) He was arguing, in fact, in favor of the view that environmental pressures did have a direct effect on the development of living forms over successive generations and not merely an indirect effect through a process of natural selection by elimination of the less fit.”

    http://www.custance.org/old/sci-faith/4ch1-4.html

    Regarding the ability to metabolize alcohol, here’s an interesting video about primates in which the narrator noted that the percentage of heavy, moderate, and teetotaler monkeys on the island matches human observations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSm7BcQHWXk I suspect that the metabolic variations that determine drinking tendencies may operate similarly in a wide variety of species.

    • Ok…it’s my fault. I don’t keep this blog on topic. Guilty.

      So why is evolution improbable? I still have my questions about it – how exactly do 2 groups of the same species change so profoundly that they can’t interbreed, for example, but improbable is pretty harsh. I read up on dauermodifications and I don’t see how a form of neo-Lamarkism can’t also be a part of evolution, or why it would embarrass evolutionists.

      We’re getting too close to the notion of God for a blog on low carb, but here goes: there is nothing irreconcilable between evolution and a belief in God unless you believe the earth was created less than 10,000 years ago.

      Even if one believes in a literal interpretation of the bible written by the hand of God, can’t it be accepted that some of the language God used in it might have been written for a Bronze Age audience that would have not understood the notion of billions of years and evolution?

      If we are God’s children, might He, as any parent might, try to simplify a complicated explanation?

      • You make a good point. I also can’t see why people have to take the bible literally.

        Lamarkism is not out of the question in evolution either. Because changes in your DNA can be passed on to the offspring by the mother. Maternal inheritance. So what an organism does in its lifetime (ie what it eats etc) can have ramifications for its offspring. So this is certainly within the scope of evolution just not natural selection.

        Also just to add my two cents. When you say your not sure how 2 groups of the same species change so profoundly they cant interbreed. Well by that stage they are no longer the same species. Also some species can breed such as lions and tigers. But basically it usually happens when one population within a species becomes isolated (ie geographically), and their environment changes to an extent that they evolve and their DNA changes so much that when, and if, they do ever breed the changes are so great that they can’t produce viable offspring.

    • What makes evolution ‘improbable’, Dave? It might be *incomplete* – there’s much we still don’t know – and I don’t see how Dauermodifications – the ability of organisms to pass along traits influenced by the environment – is incompatible. Maybe both mechanisms, and a half-dozen more we can’t even conceive at present, might play some part.

      The drunk monkey studies are interesting because my understanding is that humans are much more genetically similar than monkeys – you’d think that if this was true, the proportion of monkey lushes to monkey abstainers might differ.

      • What makes evolution improbable? For one thing, a basic tenant of evolution is that all of the complexity we observe in living organisms is the result of random (chance) chemical reactions. The assumption is that it is an inherent property of matter to give rise to life. This assumption has been tested exhaustively by scientists. No one has ever produced a living organism from inorganic material, likely because even the simplest of living, reproducing organisms is unimaginably complex. So it remains that all evolutionists have is an assumption upon which to base their narrative.

        Before I studied the saturated fat controversy I studied the evolution controversy. There are some interesting parallels.

        Proponents of evolution and the diet/heart hypothesis use a lot of repetition and superlative in their writing, a sickening amount. They also insist that their case is beyond dispute.

        I have a young friend who has embraced the theory of evolution. A whole back he wrote:

        “This is the best summary article I’ve found so far:

        http://talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

        As I mentioned the other night, the evidence I find most compelling is the genetic evidence, found in “Part 4. Molecular evidence”, although the entire article is certainly worth reading.”

        In the opening paragraphs of the above article one reads:

        “Because it is so well supported scientifically, common descent is often called the “fact of evolution” by biologists. For these reasons, proponents of special creation are especially hostile to the macroevolutionary foundation of the biological sciences.”

        So well supported? Foundation? I think not. There’s considerable uncertainty. For example, this article http://jbiol.com/content/8/6/59 begins:

        Comparative genomics has revealed extensive horizontal gene transfer among prokaryotes, a development that is often considered to undermine the ‘tree of life’ concept. However, the possibility remains that a statistical central trend still exists in the phylogenetic ‘forest of life’.

        In my own garden I’ve observed some interesting variation in pansies, poppies, and tulips. Regarding the poppies, a few years back a variety of poppy that consistently produced flowers with four petals suddenly produced these gorgeous pink flowers that look like carnations. The next year there were more pink flowers and red ones as well. Last year there was a third red/white color combination. This year there were even more colors. This year I’m not allowing any four petal flowers to produce seed. As soon as I can see that a flower has four petals, I rip the plant out to the ground and shred it.

        Pansies are interesting. I’ve never planted the smaller variety called violas. They just appeared and proliferated. I’ve been ripping them out in favor of blue pansies of regular size. However, no matter how careful I am about allowing only blue pansies to throw seed, I still get wide variation in color and size.

        Regarding your original comment about Tibetan adaptation to low oxygen levels, I have a friend who is a Cinematographer who was hired to film a recent Everest expedition. Some time after they reached the summit he discovered that his oxygen regulator had malfunctioned and he had been breathing straight air on the way up. He was still able to function and there were no nasty consequences for him, health wise. He said that a few people are simply biochemically configured to handle the thin atmosphere. Others, no matter how highly conditioned, are susceptible to injury at high altitudes. Did you ever watch Vertical Limit? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0190865/

        • Well, Dave, as you often do, you’ve given me yet another interesting thing to explore. I hadn’t planned on researching evolution, but I think I’ll be doing so soon.
          It would be foolish of me to comment on this before I do some research, except to say that you seem to be saying it is improbable that randomness can begat the complexity that is life – forgive me if I misconstrue your comments.

          On the surface, it *does* sound improbable.

          If you think evolution is improbable then what do you believe better explains it?

          ‘I dunno’ is an acceptable answer. I think science should be able to say: it’s a bad theory and we’re just not knowledgeable enough yet to come up with a better one.

        • You don’t seem to be talking about evolution but rather natural selection. Evolution is more than natural selection. None of your arguments are anything new to evolutionists who study evolution. Of course the environment can influence development that is what Stephen J Gould talked about. But don’t confuse evolution with natural selection.

        • I would also like to add that there are no parralels between the low fat argument and evolution. Not one study on evolution has ever proved it wrong. Whereas a number of studies have shown that low fat diets don’t work. All biological studies suggest that there is a lineage of species. For example, rats have more in common with humans than fish. Genetics, morphology, paleontology and development all suggest this to be true. In fact during development an organism tends to mimic its evolutionary pasts. Thats why humans grow gills for a short time during faetal development. To prove your intelligent design argument all you need to do is find a mammal that shares more genetic similarities to a beetle that it does to another species of mammal. THEN you would have a case on your hands.

        • Again your confused. Origin of LIFE does not = evolution. Different processes altogether. So when you state its a basic assumption of evolution I question the information you have on evolution.

  2. One obvious problem, a lot of people now are ‘mutts.’ We have many different races in us. And in big countries like China, ask a Chinese and he/she will tell you that diets are very different in different parts of that same country. So it’s hard to generalize. I suspect that down the line, scientists will better learn to correlate specific segments of DNA with specific strengths and weaknesses and thereby be able to give more effective advice on individual tendencies. Of course, that knowledge would open a whole nother can of worms when it comes to health insurance. That kind of knowledge in the current open market for health insurance would probably result in some people being unable to get health insurance. As it is, it’s hard to find insurance if there is even a tiny little thing wrong with you, unless you can get it through work, and many work places no longer offer it because of the rises costs and bad economy. If you get sick, they just fire you and hire someone else.

    • As to the first part: a point I missed – an important one – is that no one should feel guilty if they go on the diet their friend went on and fail to lose the weight they did. We get thin for as many different reasons as we got fat in the first place. We need to see diet plans as a guidebook and not a bible, and be willing to experiment.

      Experimenting means educating yourself and testing out different approaches. This takes time an effort that a lot of people just don’t want to (or don’t know how to) apply.

      So they get all revved up, get on their chosen plan, run into roadblocks – and give up.

      As to the second part: ugh. I read an article that said 9 out of 10 tests doctors prescribe are to protect themselves from lawsuits. Now lawyers provide a valuable function of defending us if we are wronged, but the system is out of whack – it’s like lawyers have become an autoimmune disease on society – attacking society while thinking they are helping it.

      Maybe we don’t have a healthcare crisis as much as a legal crisis.

  3. LCC asks, “If you think evolution is improbable then what do you believe better explains it?”

    The alternative explanation for the origin of life as we know it is intelligent design. Now, if a Designer exists, there are two possibilities. He either has a relationship of some sort with His creation or He doesn’t. If He does have a relationship with humans in particular, then the spiritual dimension (or explanation, if you will) has some merit. If the Designer does not communicate with his created beings in any way, a lot of people are deluded.

    At any rate, nature is what it is. Whether one believes it was created or simply happened, the fact is, we can discover all kinds of interesting things about how the real world works and manipulate the material universe without committing to a firm belief in an origins narrative.

    What galls me about some evolutionists is that they insist that the evolution narrative is some sort of foundation for the biological sciences and said sciences would be thrown into confusion if the theory of evolution were doubted or abandoned. Weird stance, in my opinion.

    Regarding the age of the earth, ‘I dunno’. In fact, there’s a lot I don’t know that I’m curious about. Oil, for instance. How did so much of it get where it is? Something I’d like to look into when time permits.

    • No. A flaw in evolution does not mean by default there is a designer. Occam’s Razor. The simplest explanation is not some creator in the sky made life. This is creationism in disguise and we all know it. I don’t believe there is a flaw in evolution though. I won’t be saying anymore out of respect to LCC. But I suspect your ‘research’ is based on anti evolution websites or books.

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