Friday, May 30, 2014

A thought experiment.

A thought experiment refers to the consideration of some hypothesis, theory, or principle for the purpose of thinking through its consequences.

What would happen if you took 20,000 human animals and divide them into two equal groups. Make them all, say, 10 years old and equally divided between the sexes. So...you have 2 groups of 10,000 humans each (who are all 10 years old). Now...for the next 50 years one group can only eat plant based foods and the other group can only eat animal based foods. The only other stricture or condition is that no fire/heat can be used on the food. In other words, no cooking or any other application of heat to the food is allowed.

What would the groups look like (in terms of health, survival rate, etc) in 50 years? The survivors from each group would be 60 years old.

As a variant, do the same thought experiment except this time allow cooking. Actually you can find folks who have done at least the plant based food side of it...for example....Donald Watson founded the Vegan society in 1944 and died in 2005. That means he apparently lived at least 61 years on only a plant based diet. I don't know of any members of a group that only lived on an animal based diet...there might be...I just don't know about them.

It isn't difficult to see that healthy survival (e.g., Donald Watson) is easily possible on a purely plant based diet...but healthy survival for 61 years on an purely animal based diet is rather unlikely.

I can't vouch for accuracy here, but it is interesting.
Here's a link to the original graphic and here's a link to a written comparison of digestive tracts (written by a M.D.) for those who might want to explore further.

So...next time someone trots out the notion that humans are "carnivores" you might suggest the thought experiment (the one without the cooking) and see if that doesn't throw a little kink in that notion.

The only way we're "carnivores" (other than maybe eating bugs or worms) is with the assistance of technology (heat). Killing our fellow Earthlings and eating their bodies is about as natural for human animals as flying is...both require technological assistance to be accomplished to any meaningful degree. You can jump off a roof (unassisted by any technology) and "fly" for a short time...but the end result probably won't be enjoyable.

In the meantime, live vegan and you won't need to worry about your healthy survival being negatively impacted by your food choices...and your fellow Earthlings won't have their healthy survival negatively impacted by your food choices either. That's a win-win for everyone.





5 comments:

D.E.M. said...

Yes, heat and knives. I heard a conference paper once on the origins of meat-eating and fire with homo erectus (I think) & how it led to increased brain/cranium size... which wasn't matched by increased size in the birth canal... which in turn implied that nine-month gestation was premature (the only kind homo erectus females could survive).
So, we're "smarter," born prematurely, and complete freaks of nature.

Bea Elliott said...

Well I heard once that you could not live entirely on flesh alone due to the need for vitamin C (scurvy), carbohydrates, and fiber. There's a fellow in my neighborhood who went the Atkins diet route a few years ago. His body went into extreme ketosis and it required hospital recovery with intravenous glucose as a cure. Seems there is something called "rabbit starvation" or protein poisoning... I'd call a meat-only diet a ticket to an early grave - For all parties. :/

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM and Bea.

DEM: You've described us perfectly. :-)

Bea: Yep, that way of eating is a sure way of dying...for all impacted by it.

Christine said...


Very interesting article. It cannot be argued that meat eating is natural. The Greek Philosopher Plutarch said something similar way back in ancient times:


“If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of ax. “ I often quote this or words to this affect - can’t always recall the exact quote in a heated debate. This always leaves them speechless. I think a lot of the illness we suffer is the result of incorrect and unnatural eating. People just believe what they are brought up to think that man is omnivorous and eating meat is natural. If meat were natural to humans we would not need to cook it. What other animal cooks his meat or in the case of consuming dairy drinks the milk of another species or consumes milk after weaning. Large herbivores such as elephants survive well with only plants and live for decades, humans are no different.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christine. And thank you for the Plutarch reference. I was fairly certain I wasn't the first to apprehend the distortion involved in the idea that humans are "natural" eaters of dead beings. One thing our continuing to do so is a testament to is our ability to persist in adhering to folly. We're probably the best of all the Earthlings at that dubious doing.