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the mythical predator

The Mythical Predator

September 2010

Much of my recent research focused on surveying the latest findings in ethology and primatology. Inspired by the plethora of new work that attempts to overcome the civilised bias and mythology and learn about the animal world for what it is: an attempt at diversity, proliferation of life in all forms, and wilderness, I posted the following update on my facebook wall:

“Reason 1 for NOT eating meat and fish should be compassion; not in the sense “I’ll kill and eat you compassionately”. That doesn’t hold in court when the victim is a human animal, and so it shouldn’t when it is other animals.

Reason 2: Our bodies are not intended for the consumption of our animal siblings. Our sleeping patterns and the proteins we best absorb show that we are meant to be berry-eaters, fruitarians with veggie supplements” (1st September 2010).

This comment developed into a lengthy debate, which I believe would be of interest to a wider public, particularly that just a few weeks prior to that, Nekeisha Alexis-Baker asked me to expand on vegan-vegeterianism and the killing of animals during my presentation in Portland, Oregon.

The discussion that followed my FB post demonstrates how deeply people believe the lies that help civilised human animals rationalise murder and fear and construct them as “natural” and as “facts” and how self-contradictory and illogical the civilised rationale is. It also shows how much deeper and more dangerous it becomes the higher up the ladder of “success” the persons get: the more education, professionalism, and professional prestige they receive – the more confused, arrogant and deaf in their beliefs they become, blinded by the authority vested in their words. I recently had a similar debate on Human and Other Animals on Open Anthropology coop.

I thank all the participants in this debate and hope that it will be helpful to others. Andrea starts with an astute observation:

* Andrea C: Your last point is really interesting – you know how pediatricians (or books at least) tell you not to worry about babies & small children fussing about what they eat because their body tells them what is necessary? My nearly-4 yr old nephew left to his own devices will only eat fruit….i wonder if that is his true digestive system speaking out?
01 September at 23:46


* Maria NR: You should look into nutrition according to blood types that make your politically correct notion of not consuming meat, difficult for some, unhealthy for others, and contradicts your point 2. Look forward to more. Bisous

Thursday at 04:59


* Layla AbdelRahim: Who told you I haven’t? The problem with the concept that people’s genetics and blood-types differentiate them and their needs is a racialist and ultimately racist theory. My starting point is that we as a human species and as groups within this species are not as different as certain evolutionary theory adherents insist. So, regardless of our blood-types, we should eat locally wherever we end up moving. And moving is part of living. So, frontiers, border control, division into blood-types, ethnic groups, species is all part of the pain and destruction we have caused and are symptoms of death.

It is enough to look at our closest siblings, the primates. The vast majority are fruitarian. Very rarely – not even 10% of their diet do chimps hunt and that’s been linked to the encroachment of humans, deforestation, and the fact that humans believe that their blood-type or their nature by divine will or by natural design demands the meat of the “bush” – they hunt and eat the primates. Cannibalism at its best. If you include all animals as connected into one family – then eating chicken is also cannibalism. Finally, regardless of the different blood-types, we do not need to sleep sixteen hours like the lions do after a hunting spree. We need frequent feeding at much shorter intervals and we best absorb what I listed above. The buffalo and the elephant have different blood-types, but eat the same grass, only locally.

Also, I don’t understand why you call my “notion” “politically correct”, when the politics that depend on the economy of domestication, racism, sexism, speciesism and meat consumption demand the opposite of what I state. Being politically correct means that you eat your hamburger and be hostile to including animals as sentient persons along with humans. Being politically correct means not to offend the rich and to accept the poor as a natural fact, namely, to accept discrimination and the division of beings into “naturally” and therefore “rightfully” powerful and their victims. Being politically correct means to accept inequality and discrimination by blood-type, genes, skin colour, lips, curliness of hair, eyes, height, etc. So, it is your acceptance that diet is linked to blood-type that is very politically correct and stinks of democratic White Supremacy as much as of Nazi German science.

Thursday at 08:57


* Roger P: I agree with the moral sentiment but not number 2. And number 3 vegetarians have got a much smaller carbon and methane (much wors than carbon) footprint. Since the cows and pigs fart so much and the whole agribusiness machine would be so much smaller.

But on number 2 I disagree. Modern humans came about through genetic mutations leading up to proper humans not too different from us around 200,000 years ago. Between then and 2,000,000 million years ago the fossil record shows that our deep ancestors ate meat (and other stuff of course incluiding berries). There is a fossil record showing old bones cracked open to get at the marrow with teeth marks; there are knife marks as well. The oldest evidence recently dug up in Ethiopia stretches this evidence back to tool use to around 2,000,000 million years … stone knife marks on goat like animal bones.

There is strong circumstantial evidence that for much of the missing link time between the fossil record and 60,000 years ago our ancestors lived close to the sea. The water ape theory. We are the only apes whose babies are born able not to sink like a stone and drown when thrown in the water .. i tested this myself. Our bodies are incredibly well adapted for swimming. All humans love the sound of the sea and running water. We need to drink a lot of fluids compared to animals that have not evolved close to water. The record is missing due to rising sea levels but if true fish must have been a key part of our diet. Palentolic neurologists say the fish diet was key to our brains being able to evolve beyond the dimwit ape size with the same reasoning going for other sea mammals like whales and dolphins. And fish oils seem to be an important part of our diet e.g. the Omega 3 fatty acid dietary supplement craze for those who don’t eat fish.

Thursday at 10:24


* Layla AbdelRahim: ha ha ha – feels like the old days in Adams Morgan with Maria, Roger, and I arguing about the ways of the world.

Actually, Omega 3 can be found in veggies, seeds, nuts, beans, and seaweed. Much of the latest research points to that humans, like chimps, supplemented their diet by scavenging carcasses in times of ecological changes or their movement. But the idea of domestication might have come about with the conscious decision to consume more meat with hunting and with symbolic thought that caused alienation from our animal siblings and from ourselves, which then gave rise to the tool industry. The work and perspectives of such researchers as Matsuzawa, McGrew, Zerzan, Ingold, among others, show that domestication and civilisation were a matter of choice to use the environment differently and not a survival necessity. Genes are not that well understood yet in order to allow us to draw any definitive conclusions on etiology; which means that the ideas we get and the perspective with which we approach the world is what makes the difference in our brains (such as atrophying or developing certain physiological areas of it) and, so, choosing to be a cannibal will affect your physiology as well as the environment, but it would be wrong to conclude that because now one consists of dead cow one is biologically destined to always kill and eat cow.

Thursday at 11:28


* Roger P: nice one .. was a proustian sentence too … well now you taking us back genetically to our ancestors over 2 million years ago … and of course there has been quite a bit of genetic change since then .. nice to be in touch anyway

Thursday at 14:34


* Layla AbdelRahim: did proust talk about dead cows? nice. If you like to think of time as a linear dimension, then, I’m not taking you back, I’m offering you my hand and my knowledge to jump with me forth into the chaos of the Future Primitive (John Zerzan’s, that is, I don’t know about Proust) and we can further change our genes in a million ways with respect to the sentience of the beautiful chickens, goats, cows, and all.
yes, good to see you in pixels. hope to see you in flesh too.

Thursday at 15:12


* Layla AbdelRahim: an addendum:
why is it so difficult for the civilised cannibals to renounce this diet and way of living when it can be so easily demonstrated that we eat meat not because our well-being depends on it but because we choose to maintain a “genetic” make-up that we have invented for ourselves, regardless of the fact that it causes great suffering to the domesticated non-human and human animals and regardless of the fact that the civilisation we built in order to maintain this “biology” exterminates hundreds of species each day, pollutes, kills, desertifies whole oceans?

Thursday at 15:40


* Maria NR: Wasn’t Hitler a vegetarian??

Friday at 09:41


* Maria NR: Genes, my dear are not made up or invented by us, we are born with them… isn’t that common knowledge??… it appears that you are reinventing facts to support your cause, and find that, frankly, highly unacademic. Debates should be based… on facts, not manipulations of the facts, a dangerous preoccupation of our greatest dictators and butchers of the world. I don’t mind vegetarians at all… Hitler, of course, being the exception and find your violent use of words against us meat eaters as rather degrading and very simply detracts from the important points of your arguements… I also think that the scientists who have conducted studies on blood and nutrition would find your use of their work as “racist” to be highly unpolitically correct, especially as some are “people of color”… keep eating leafy green veggies!!! I love them too! Bisous!

Friday at 10:16


* Layla AbdelRahim: Even if Hitler was a vegeterian, how is his vegeterianism and his reasons for it relevant to what I am saying above? I am talking about categories of knowledge (whether we know ourselves as related to the rest of the world) and about sentience (if any act of cruelty motivated by my selfishness causes pain to another living being, am I in the right to continue my “genetic” or whatever other traditions of causing pain simply to satisfy my “cultural” and “genetic” whims – even if my “society” claims that I have a right to cause and ignore this pain?). How does Hitler figure here, when his vegeterianism (if he was one) was stemming from an egomanic desire to live a young, happy, long and parasitic life based on the extermination of whole groups whom he hated? The ultimate question is: do you choose not to hurt your animal siblings because you care for life or do you choose “food” because you care only for yourself and don’t give a crap about others?

Friday at 10:19


* Layla AbdelRahim: Maria, you obviously are not familiar with the epistemological critiques in the field of anthropology and sociology of medicine and science. I wonder why do you have this strong urge to dismiss me as “unacademic”? Not that I identify myself with academia – in fact, I do not, but still interesting.

Friday at 10:35


* Layla AbdelRahim: As for genes, if they are not affected by experience, then how could evolution be possible? Or do you believe that non-human and human animals were created “as is” with people devouring their planet always? Then how come life existed in the diversity that we know for millions of years and 12-15 thousand years of civilisation has brought it to the brink of extinction? And today there are at least a billion people in the world who are vegan/vegetarian (check out India for instance) – so were their genes created different?

Friday at 10:41


* Maria NR: Hello agiain, Hitlier has absolutely nothing to do with what you are talking about, but this discussion reminds me of a dispute that lasted perhaps months on a University Campus in which militant vegetarians claimed that eating meat made people more violent, and meat eaters were therefore the cause of brutality, cruelty, and bloodshed in the world. The response to this was Hitler’s photo, with the slogan: Wasn’t Hitler a vegeterain? I suppose your comment about Nazi German Science, triggered my reaction, which by the way has nothing to do with whether or not nutrition is linked with blood types. The fact is, nutrition is linked with blood types, and that biological fact, whether or not it has been used to support racial theories, should be considered.

I am not dismissing you as unacademic, but find the reinterpretation of facts to support ones own ideas ie: that the destruction of the world is caused by meat eaters, instead of having constructrive discussions according to the facts dangerous – racial theories, as you have pointed out, is an example of how scientific facts about our biology (different blood types, different needs) are reinterpreted to support ones own cause.

I am not, by the way, calling you dangerous… and believe you are very much an academic…

Friday at 16:48


* Maria NR: Genes and evolution, evolution takes thousands, billions of years, in which time, we could have all evolved to have 3 eyes, and 4 arms. What evolutionist call early evolution occured perhaps over the past 5000 to 25000 years, our genes in …our life time (unless we were exposed to high levels of toxic chemicals), no matter what we eat now, could never change, that is a biological fact.

People in India, are our genes very different from theirs… recent studies have shown that we are not very different from one another, but we must not confuse genetic differences with genetic expression. The same amount of pigmentation exists in all of us, but their expression has evolved out of the environment in which our ancestors lived, we are therefore a world that is multi-colored, not because of genetic differences, but due to necessity (active pigment for protectection against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays). Even though I might decide to live in the high northern regions where the sun does not shine as long or as frequent throughout the year, I will always have dark skin and my children, as well as their children, will also have some varying levels of this genetic expression.

Nutritional needs, is an example of varying genetic expressions created from varying enviromental conditions (types of food available, weather, terrain etc.).

When you discuss how other non meat foods could just as well sustain us in with the same nutritients found in fish and meat (seaweed, nuts, veggies and beans), you cannot ignore the fact that, as Roger notes, those who do not eat fish have nutritional deficiencies.

Your point is well taken, we are destroying our planet due to the way in which we consume, but are meat eaters the cause of this destruction and is the answer in converting meat eaters, and those meat eaters who refuse to convert, eradicated or forced into camps to make them comply to the new world order of vegetarians?

Friday at 17:26


* Maria NR: What would this world be like? We could imagine an overpopulation of animals and a destruction of our natural environment, an ecological disastor in which our oceans seaweed is eventually destroyed due to increased demands, the domesticati…on of animals replaced by increasing lands dessimated by overcropping to feed the masses who must eat more inorder to obtain all essential protiens to support life…

What is required is balance, not one evil replaced by another in response…

We need to change our level of consumption, not eat more then we need, be concious of the environment by chosing to buy foods that were grown/raised with this conciousness… but these are notions of the priviledged, that are largely inaccessible to the poor.

We have also known for a very long time that the increase of population to support and feed is a main factor… this fact has caused the rise of increased technologies to feed these populations. Should we then move to mass destruction of our population or perhaps forced sterilization as some extremists have suggested?

Our answers should be guided by humane solutions that take into consideration the scientific facts we have before us and to search for root causes and corresponding solutions to our world’s ills; meat eaters and baby mongers are not root causes, but easy targets that have found their way into anthropological, sociological, and militant publications.

Friday at 18:13


* Layla AbdelRahim: Ok. now I see; you are not responding to my argument, but to the argument of the “vegetarians on campus”. Because my etiology is different. My argument is that ontological categories and “identity” (human, ethnic, national, blood-type, male, female, among other identities) is what makes people violent and allows them to consume non-human and human others in a variety of ways. My point about the millions of vegans and lacto-vegetarians is precisely that the fact that these people still exist and live healthy and happy lives points to that we have not evolved for millions of years into meat eaters. In fact, the heavy reliance on meat is a very recent occurrence that came with domestication. So, the millions of years of evolution to the state we are in now is a lie. But we know that the whole system of domestication is based on lies. Also the concept that without us devouring the planet there would be too many of all sorts is a warped way of convincing people that the fact that their civilised consumption is leaving none is the best thing to have happened and to call it balance is really crooked. Plenty of research on all that on my website and on the net and in the publishing industry in general. Finally, I am not twisting facts, I am pointing out to their logic – the logic of civilisation and the logic of wilderness. All the facts that I work with are either from my own anthropological fieldwork or from other scientists. If no one questions the politics and the perspectives behind “the everybody knows this”, how can we attempt to know? Unless you think everything is already known or that some people can question and others shouldn’t be trusted with a new perspective.

Friday at 19:49


* Andrew Mandelbaum: For what its worth I can’t sleep and felt like commenting

There is a fair amount of reasoned and persuasive critiques of the blood type diet easily available on this web. I researched it earlier this year and found D’Adamo’s claims shaky at best though I was not leaning either way entering the ring. Is there some answer to the extensive critiques of his work?

We know we can “survive” as individuals across the whole spectrum of diets from vegan to carnivore. Though recent epigenetic research on methylation would suggest the meat eaters end of the spectrum to be full of increased cancer risk. I don’t see how genes are much of a compass in this journey. A childlike examination of the realities of butchering a mammal versus cutting up a radish I suspect would yield more light. We learn more and more about the feelings and desires and intelligence present in animals and the knowledge we gain, if cleanly faced, demands that we follow are childlike aversion to slaughtering the animals we recognized as children to be our friends.

I also recognize that nature is not always childlike or necessarily in line with my desire for less pain and blood. So what. There are clearly times when we must tell genes, or habit, or nurture, or civilization to fuck off.

There are two reasons why something is an easy target.
1) Its a minority habit easily scapegoated by the masses to release tension without threatening the majority of the herd.

2) Its a clearly violent act that has been smuggled into our everyday life by the sheer force of the common everyday adjustments we have made to rationalize the violent or oppressive nature of the act
Again. Tape the butchering of a mammal on the friendliest of farms. Show the tape to a child. Ask the child which is violent, the butchery or the outrage against the comfortable acceptance of the butchery?

Btw I still have some animal in my diet..I just recognize what I am part of and refuse to say my hands are clean or that its the best we can do.

The population problem will soon open a tear in our world that will be immune to balanced reactions and we will be passed the point of flux and action and enter a time when necessity will make all the hand ringing about population reduction obsolete. I hope that as a species we will back of the cliff and figure some thing wonderful out but vegas (or the history books) isn’t giving very good odds.

Yesterday at 01:18


* Maria NR: @ Layla: Yes, I am responding to your argument by drawing on the similarities of an argument of vegetarians on a University Campus and the potential dangers that these militant attitudes embody (labeling meat eaters as cannibals that draw on Nazi German Science to support their choice of diet, and scientists that show through there work that we are different are racists).

Which, by the way, you completely evaded. A new perspective, or even a perspective, on this would be welcome, and wonder why you evade the question. That is what I mean by unacademic… not that you are unacademic… we should not be afraid to accept hard truths and find ways to devalue them degrading those who have provided these hard facts, just because we think that these truths will take away from a political perspective important to us.

I am not asking you not to question the politics and perspectives, but to take into account hard scientific facts that anthropologist, sociologists and hardliners make political. The fact that we have different sexual organs that differentiate us from male and female are hard scientific facts that “everyone knows”, the politics of people of all walks of life behind these hard facts are aligned towards supporting their own agendas. I am simply speaking about biology, and you are speaking about politics and perspectives that have been discussed and rediscussed over biological truths.

Placing your politics on biological truths does not change those truths, but are just another line of interpretation added to the many theoretical perspectives, another political theory.

Why is it so difficult to accept biology? We should not be afraid to say that we are different. I am a woman and my biology differentiates me from men. These differences have caused inequalities in the world and our political perspectives provide us with a new way of looking at these differences. But a discussion is possible, new perspectives possible, because we do not deny that differences exist.

Roger, who is a nutritionist, has already given you information on how we have evolved as meat eaters, yet this too you evade and continue on in your hardline fashion. Domestication would have never come to be, if it was not in response to increasing population demands. That is not a lie, but logic. That which you claim to adhere to in your arguments.

You are right when you say that these discussions are like those we had years ago in Adams Morgan or even New York, where we could never agree on this topic.

If you remember, you lived with me for a month in New York while Roger was on mission, and as a form of respect for your perspective and way of life, I ate no meat. I did NOT, however, feel very good because I lacked the quantity of important nutritients needed for my biology, my blood type: O+, the Original blood type (therefore, O = origin), the blood type that can donnate to all other bloodtypes. My stomach was also upset, I had a stomach ache for a good 2 months afterwards, because my biology just cannot support the grains that people of AB and A, B blood types seem to beable to digest easily. If I remember correctly, you are a blood type A. A = Agriculture, those who descended from a line of ancestors who ate mainly fruits, vegetables and grains and cannot, on the whole, support meat. You are therefore following the diet that suits you.

We can learn alot about blood types, about our biology and our evolution.

Yesterday at 08:47


* Maria NR: Hello Andrew, welcome to the discussion! I agree with you, Layla’s FIRST POINT has nothing to do with genetics, and on the whole I agree with this notion. However, we have been debating about Layla’s SECOND POINT, which hard science contradicts.

More on this later if you would like. I have a little boy who needs my attention. Cheers, Maria

Yesterday at 08:54


* Andrew Mandelbaum: The molecular evidence puts the abo blood type diiff. at around 5 million years ago…way before agriculture. Gorillas and chimps have similar variations.

Yesterday at 08:58


* Andrew Mandelbaum: hi back Maria.
yes I am interested in the second point as well. I take issue with the blood type diet being tagged on the hard science side. And I would like to hear more on the hard science in point 2 also.

But…isn’t the ultimate question if faced with a violent history genetically driven and culturally enforced whether or not we can choose freedom from that violence and use our lifestyle, our science, art, and culture to enable an abandonment of this violence. Maybe even in this action pushing the genetics in a new direction.

and just saw Roger’s first note…Salut the Aquatic Ape theory…I love Elaine Morgan’s work…

Yesterday at 09:28


* Layla AbdelRahim: Hi Andrew, good to hear from you and good post. The only thing I disagree with is the Darwinian acceptance that “nature” is violent. I prefer Kropotkin’s interpretation of that violence has been exaggerated for political/civilised purposes and hat cooperation and proliferation is the norm of a balanced and diverse world. This perspective changes much in civilised science. Which brings me to Maria’s posts.

Yesterday at 10:20


* Layla AbdelRahim: Hi Maria, you say
1. “the potential dangers that these militant attitudes embody”. First potential dangers to whom? What about the real dangers that categorising people as different from each other and as species different from each other an…d then killing out 90% of diversity (see the statistics I cite in my work on genealogies on my web-page)? Just because you have learnt to accept the incredible violence as normal and stopped seeing it as violence doesn’t justify you fear of the “potential dangers of militant attitudes”. The militant attitudes of the civilisation you are defending have killed and are still killing non-humans and humans around the world: the gulf of Mexico, the Amazon forests, Iraq Afghanistan, et al.

Yesterday at 10:27


* Layla AbdelRahim: @ Maria: 2. your comment: “labeling meat eaters as cannibals that draw on Nazi German Science to support their choice of diet, and scientists that show through there work that we are different are racists”.
I am not labelling, I am working with categories here. If you call people eating other “persons” cannibalism and accept non-human animals as sentient persons then eating sentient persons is cannibalism. Again, the Semai people of Malaysia (among others) see someone who raises a chicken and then eats the chicken as cannibalism.

Yesterday at 10:33


* Layla AbdelRahim: @ Maria: Nazi German science was based on your argument of people being biologically different. So was slavery. So is the slavery of animals.
Finally, about hard science and facts. Those are completely manipulated by the political perspectives and motivations. There’s plenty written on that (including in my work), so I don’t want to repeat. It’s easily accessible. Again, Nazi German politics stood on a whole platform of “solid” “scientific” inquiry and “respectable” institutions. So has the extermination of Indians, the fear of the Yellow Peril, British and French colonial wars and all and everything. Scientists in this political and economic structure are domesticated by the hand that feeds them. Some fresh critique from those who reject domestication will only enrich our knowledge and increase the possibility of letting life be in the diversity it was meant to be and not in the mono-speciesist disaster that civilisation has inflicted on it.

Yesterday at 10:42


* Layla AbdelRahim: @ Maria: Of course you are free to choose whose knowledge you feel more comfortable with – Roger’s or mine – even though Roger’s was taken from manuals and not from recent analyses in the field (for example, the assumption that we have millions of years of evolution to meat eating is simply wrong, among others). But that’s a choice of personal bias. However, to claim that you know what domestication responded to without examining the evidence that points to that civilisation caused the human population growth (and not because of the faulty Malthusian explanation) is a political position of defending the status quo. 50 years ago people were forcefully sterilised in the U.S. because of respectable scientists, geneticists, doctors, accepted these distinctions and the Maltusian faulty logic (see Natalia Molina’s studies, e.g. Fit to be Citizens).

Yesterday at 11:20


* Layla AbdelRahim: @ Maria And yeah, I’ve forgotten about NY, because I mostly remember you with the Nick – Elizabeth – Yuval crowd on east 13th. But when Roger appeared in this discussion, I suddenly remembered that day you and I spent on the rock under a waterfall in Shenandoah Valley. We fell down the waterfall, and I remember the deer that was so amazed with our screams that it came to stare at us and then followed us on the trail.

Yesterday at 11:30


* Andrew Mandelbaum: hey layla
with you on kropotkin and mutual aid 100 percent but the realities of predator prey relations still disturb me even when some of the red in tooth and claw exaggeration is peeled back. but I would welcome any relief from that

23 hours ago


* Layla AbdelRahim: @ Andrew: The predator-prey issue is precisely what my point 2 is about: our sleeping pattern and the absorption of nutrients (proteins, omegas etc.) indicate that we are not meant to be living the way Darwinian evolutionist claim we have evolved. Lions sleep 16 hours and eat rarely. We need to eat frequently and sleep less. I have the bibliography in the final part of my dissertation, which will be available soon. Further, Kropotkin’s notion of mutual aid explains why the basis of wilderness is the diversity of species, because predators eat less and share more – no private property, domestication of prey, and butchering them and selling them to the impoverished masses. In the Darwinian-civilised narrative, on the other hand, there is fear that there will be too many yellow people, too many animals, to many free-spirited freaks, etc. But this premise is self-contradictory, because 1. when the civilised humans will kill everyone else, who will they eat? Soylent Green film is about imagining that.
2. the mono-speciesist and mono-culturalist (globalist) perspective makes the human predator-cannibal overpopulate the world – that is a problem that they acknowledge, but because they don’t want to re-evaluate the basic premise, we end up talking about who wants to kill the over-fertile, over-sexual, biologically different yellow and black and brown people. When the issue is that these people’s population growth is a response to the mono-speciesist and agricultural/domesticating perspective itself, because the people who grow the food, just like during feudalism, are not the people who eat the food. But they are the ones who have the children, because they and their children are the resources for the domeseticators-predators-cannibals.

So, the argument that because lions eat gazelles we should torture, murder, and devour everything else is based on faulty logic and twists “facts”. Also, the claim that we have evolved into cannibals biologically falls apart when we examine the evidence that until the spread of agricultural civilisation in Asia (and the domesticated civilisations of the Aztecs and Mayans), brought to its logical conclusion by the European conquest of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia most people in the world were either completely or predominantly vegan-vegetarian. If people feel that they need some examples from nature on who to emulate, why not choose to be bonobos? Much healthier, no conflict, berries and sex all day – the hippies of the animal kingdom – the poets of love!

I hope that explains better my posts above.

21 hours ago


* Layla AbdelRahim: PS. Andrew, I remember that you’d like to talk about education – after I submit the thesis, we’ll discuss it at length. For the time being, I’d like to mention the excellent point Andrea makes above: that left to their own whim, children wi…ll eat mostly fruit and berries. Education is really important in order to train them not to follow their desires and not to listen to their beings and bodies but to listen to experts, nutritionists, politicians, doctors, etc…. and to participate in this model of “predator-prey” relations. The curriculum in this education has a concrete perspective and that’s what much of my work is about. And education is about changing people’s natural behaviour and scaring them that their nature is evil, predatory, etc. However, if we take this same genetic foundation as an indication of anything, then we are closer to bonobos and chimps than to lions and other predators.

20 hours ago


* Maria NR: @ Layla: You say that categorizing people as different is dangerous, and then you allow yourself to categorize others and find that normal and not dangerous. Lovely. I’m sure that you have a good answer for this one as well, but spare yourself the trouble of explaining it, it doesn’t really matter. In any event, we at least seem to share some of the same political views. Nothing more to add, you apparently have all the right answers on your website, I’ll be sure to take a look when I have a moment. A nice memory, by the way, take care.

19 hours ago


* Andrew Mandelbaum: @ Layla: morning
i think we are agreed
I too find the hope in the bonobos
I too think any modeling on the predator prey relation is a mistake
I mention the predator/prey realities only to say I find nature a bit harsh at times and cold. Its an emotiona…l reaction that i suppose sheds little light on the talk except to say I am glad we can choose not to model the violence in chimps and our past and to embrace other ways.

Yes….lets talk about kids when it works.

off thread—-A couple of your comments resonated with a section in a book I am reading on the rise of capitalism, the witchhunts and the rebellions in europe. Ever read The Caliban and The Witch by Silvia Federici Silvia.

6 hours ago


* Layla AbdelRahim: Good morning Andrew,
Glad to hear we agree. Just a little correction on the myth of chimp violence. As it turns out, Goodall was feeding the chimps and for at least fifteen years she hasn’t observed any violence. Feeding is domestication of course. The chimps started scheming political games, Goodall says. A Japanese team of pimatologists was working on the other side of Gombe and noticed the eruption of violence at the same time. Kinji Imanishi’s interpretation of animal nature is very Kropotkian (I don’t know if he’d read Kropotkin or if it’s simply the empathy aspect that was observed as a strong drive in the animal world even before Kropotkin and obviously well known in non-domesticated, oral traditions). Goodall herself and other primatologists also have observed that the eruption of war among the chimps could have been caused by the “post” colonial desertification and the violence of the city growth in Africa. Goodall observes that when the standard of living improves among the human populations around Gombe, they are willing to cede parts of their farming land to reforestation of the jungle and for the chimps. When the people don’t have anything, they hunt the chimps and other primates and sell them as “bush meat”.

I discuss all this in my dissertation – so soon, more will be out in addition to the “genealogies” piece. This, of course, is not to deny that violence exists, but it’s greatly exaggerated by the Darwinists, since empathy and cooperation are the norm. Every now and then it erupts as an organised, civilised force. However, Zerzan, among others, has observed that the majority of non-human and human animals make a conscious decision not to go down that path. My point is that, epidemic eruptions caused by viruses or bacteria are the closest thing to human civilisation, even though they don’t appear to have ever been as global and as deadly as ours.

Thanks for mentioning Silvia’s book. It’s on my bookshelf, awaiting my better and freer day. But I have met her in Portland a year and half ago and much of what she said resonated. I wasn’t certain, though, how far she goes in her critique of the State and of civilisation. So, if you have any thoughts on that, I’d love to hear.

So, till soon,

Sunday 5th September 1pm


Andrew Mandelbaum: huh…I guess I have taken the accounts of chimp aggression without considering how clearly understood or consistent the observations

More later

Sunday 5th September 3pm


*** *** ***

I didn’t point out at the time that many of Roger’s statements are simply wrong. For example: “Palentolic neurologists say the fish diet was key to our brains being able to evolve beyond the dimwit ape size with the same reasoning going for other sea mammals like whales and dolphins” dismisses the latest publications on the high intelligence of even chickens and fish. Even the “mainstream” now publishes reports on how apes outsmart people:

My own presentation on the “Evolution of Idiocy” at the commemoration of Darwin conference at the department of anthropology, University of Montreal discusses how civilised human knowledge is based on the purposeful dumbing down of the masses that has grown into a global epidemic; Roger’s insult to the apes is a good illustration how the humans have turned dimwit in their arrogance, alienation, and destruction (including of the self).

who claim that we need fish in our diet for the development of the brain is erroneous, since the majority of people didn’t live near the coast and fish entered human diet …. For example, the Amero-Indians living around the Bay of Fundy did gather what was left after the highest tide in the world receded. However, the peoples living in the forest, didn’t. The brains didn’t evolve any different and many of them spoke a language that was understandable by at least 10 peoples (see my report on the Maritimes in Travel).

Finally, I didn’t even bother to respond to the amazing logic in Maria’s comment that supposedly:

“Blood type A = Agriculture; and O = Origin”.

Well, A in English also stands for Asshole, Apple, Anorexia; B stands for Bullshit, Boring, Banana; and O stands for Orgasm, Oblivion, Orifice of the Great Behind. In short, we all eat the same shit.

Frankly, I don’t even remember my blood type, but just in case Maria’s recollection is correct, luckily, I was born in Russia, and in Russian A stands neither for Asshole nor Agriculture (nor does it in Arabic, my second language). In Russian A stands for Avtobus (the Bus), Arbuz (watermelon), Angel (that’s in English as well). So, am i to eat them all? And then of course, B stands for Bukhat’ and O for Okhrenet’.

Layla AbdelRahim

Sunday, 5th September 2010, 4pm

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  1. Comment by Andy AB:

    Layla, have you seen Jim Mason’s book “An Unnatural Order” in which he argues at the outset that humans were foragers-scavengers before they were gatherer-hunters? He also speaks about how a dimensioning “awe” of nature allowed for people to begin thinking they had power over it, rather than the other way around. They then began to eat animals in order to take their “power” and absorb it, which leads to or at least goes hand-in-hand with the rise of patriarchy and division of labor.

    September 6, 2010 @ 4:50 am
  2. Comment by layla:

    Andy, thanks. I haven’t seen the book, but will definitely check it out. The info that I’ve seen on scavenging, though, attributes the change in diet to periods of dire ecological changes, but that then humans and the other primates who chose to do that would still revert to predominantly fruitarian-vegan diet. I’ll definitely check this out more, though. And, of course, you’re right, the logic of eating animals takes you all the way to all the sophisticated forms of oppression and discrimination of human and other animals we have today.

    September 6, 2010 @ 2:08 pm
  3. Comment by Andy AB:


    Mason does not source his claims very well. I’d be interested in some “further reading” suggestions on that topic.

    September 6, 2010 @ 8:40 pm
  4. Comment by andrew:

    hey layla
    the interesting but still minority aquatic ape theory postulates the limited aquatic period somewhere between 5 and 7 million years ago. way before the time you are speaking of but really its other things about the theory that draw me, more so than just the diet issue we focus on here. admittedly the theory has been thrashed about

    September 7, 2010 @ 12:43 pm
  5. Comment by layla:

    Andrew, there are two ways in which I respond to the aquatic ape theory. I’ll start with the positive, but it’s simply about my personal bias.

    In Russia this theory was put in practice by a physiologist, Charkovski. He was working on that in the 50s, I believe, and in the late 50s or early 60s his wife had, what medically is referred to as, a miscarriage at about less then 5 months. Charkovski said it was not a miscarriage but a premature delivery. It was his first child, a daughter, and he put the aquatic ape theory (he calls it Homo Delphinus) into practice by keeping his daughter in a water tank until ready to graduate into the air. It worked. I’ve been to Charkovski’s place in Moscow and his son kindly took us around his dad’s lab and shared much about his family. Later, Charkovski seems to have lost his mind and much of what he was saying and doing, in my opinion was necessary only for the physiologically and emotionally impaired children (Arshavski blames this epidemic on civilisation).

    When my own kid was born, our friends were inspired by Charkovski – they planned their pregnancies so as to be able give birth in the summer in the Black sea or, if not possible, in water tanks. With our friends, we camped out in the forests on lakes, rivers, and all loved the sea. Our child was 3 months old when she first went swimming in a lake. We all swam together, the children all resembled forest elves or little dolphins. They were happy, intelligent, pensive, kind, compassionate, funny, beautiful.

    However, these qualities are present in all the children who feel loved and whose primate parents (including humans) practice attachment parenting and unschooling philosophy. So, if this worked for me and my friends, it would be wrong to extrapolate from my preferences a myth of origins that I came from Homo Delphinus but that the family that is happy in the jungle or on a mountain must have evolved from a different ape. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. We don’t have enough evidence to point either way. Plus, humans, before the epidemic of cities, have lived in different climates and tuned into their varied environments: hence some lived near the water and were happy to be there and eat what the tides left on the shore, others lived in deserts, the arctic, jungles, taiga, etc. Roger’s claim above that because he and his children and friends are happy to be near the sea doesn’t mean that a person from the desert would not drown or that he doesn’t feel the happiest to be in the desert.

    As for the fish diet that supposedly made us smarter than the rest, that’s just humano-centric, mostly European arrogance at the basis of slavery of humans and other animals. The pelican should have then become the “smartest” if that was what makes “people” smart. And in fact, ironically, not in the way that Roger intended, the pelican is smarter than humans, because she refused to go down the path of mass destruction. But so is every other creature, including the chicken or the pig who don’t eat what Roger eats.

    In any case, if we accept the palleobiological premise of evolutionary theory: namely, that all life on earth came from an electrochemical gradient between alkali and acid in the sea water formed the basis of the living cell: acetyl phosphate and pyrophospate; we are then all connected to the sea. But that shouldn’t circumvent the creativity with which all life was endowed by this sparkle of genius – the electric current. However, if we choose to believe that the past determines the present, then nothing should have burst out into the incredible rich diversity that life presented on earth before the appearance of the civilised human ape.

    The only thing that we can extrapolate from observing the expression of life and the relations in the wild is that there seems to be a law that governs wilderness, and that law is expressed in the fact that there have always been more herbivores-fruitarians than predators; that predators eat very little and sleep a lot; that primates, simians, and prosimians are almost all exclusively fruitarian-vegetarian with a handful of exceptions that still rely on predominantly fruitarian-leafy diet.

    My most serious objection is in the domain of epistemology: i.e. the creation of knowledge and the reasons behind it. Our civilised knowledge is based on omitting facts, i.e. ignoring most information and ignoring the pain we cause others and ourselves – i.e. the basic force of civilised knowledge is apathy and ignorance. That is why it becomes really important to drill these “facts” into people who if left alone, would obviously fail to draw such civilised conclusions, because they would follow their reason and hearts just like animals do.

    This whole “evolution”-education- “facts” logic resembles the following:

    I take a stroll in the wood and see a pear tree that I really like. On the pear tree sits Simon and his offspring and around the pear tree are Simon’s and his offspring’s friends. I see that Simon, his offspring and friends all have long fur in their nostrils. I chop off Simon, his offspring’s, and friends’ limbs so they are no longer able to climb the tree. I take over the tree and allow them to eat mushrooms and poop around my tree so that it gets fertilised, I get more pears and sell them on the market. For future generations, I devise a textbook, obligatory school material, titled: “The Evolution of Long Nostril Fur Genetic Sequence of Pear Poopers”. The textbook would be accurate and based on facts and real life observations:

    “The genes that favour the expression of long nostril fur in one group of primates, known as Simonius Furius, usually do so at the expense of the preference for limbs. Pear Poopers have evolved by choosing to adapt to their nostril fur expression rather than expressing a preference for limbs. Therefore, when they lost their limbs, their diet has evolved to incorporate mushrooms and occasional scavenging. They are however extremely useful as fertilisers and have been used accordingly. This points to the mutual evolution of Pear Owners and Pear Poopers”.
    The teacher in 3rd grade would ask the kids the following question during a test:
    “why do Pear Poopers exist?”
    “so that our Pear Trees get enough poop and we need pears for our food”.
    Score: A+

    September 8, 2010 @ 4:30 pm
  6. Comment by andrew:

    There are interesting convergences between us and other marine mammals or mammals that were at one time marine like the hippo and rhino. The AAT is just an interesting attempt to answer the questions that arise in comparison with us and other primates. Subcutaneous fat layers, bipedal, hairless, descended larynx and so on. Interestingly its not well received by the “orthodox” anthropology community though does seem to be gaining some support. It was put forward by a feminist voice from outside the field so I would think just the reaction it gets especially Descent of Woman would be of interest. And since it plays in fields ages older than civilization I think it can be talked about without any of the pear tree pooper distortions.
    Like I said in the beginning. I just like it cause I like the mind and social structures of marine animals and I miss the ocean terrible. I do eat mussels as I even Singer was open to the ethical eating of mussels at one time. I don’t care about strict categories like Vegan so I don’t mind not fitting in to any. I struggle to remove sardine protein from my diet as I have some allergies to nuts and soy but am thinking it thru.
    From here I will be happy to continue on this or move back to talking about the more central (to me) questions in all this. Maybe you might expand a little on your take on common descent and the mechanisms driving the unfolding of all of us, us being the many species filling the spectrum. I don’t own a copy of Mutual Aid right now but am looking for one.
    Do you feel the habits of primates are foundations for ethical decisions or just clues to something else?
    What are the most important facts from primate paleontology or elsewhere that you think are conveniently missing?

    September 8, 2010 @ 10:17 pm
  7. Comment by layla:

    Andrew, my point with the Pear Poopers was not meant at the AAT specifically, but at the larger argument meant to convince people that they have evolved (almost hopelessly to the endest result ever possible) into the domesticated meat eaters of today, whereas, in fact, their limbs have been amputated by borders, private property, forced labour, and forced diet and that amputation is held against them in the court of civilised law.

    Like I said, palaeobiologists, among others, believe that all life came from the sea. Personally, I find many problems with many evolutionists, but the one thing I find powerful in the theory is that all life on earth shares common origins. We are all related, even with the stone on the ocean floor. But here we are in such different colours, sizes, shapes and habitats. But then the non-domesticated aboriginals have known this all along. Again, that’s what my genesis piece is all about.

    So, it very well may be that all humans have branched out at some point from the other apes and returned to the sea. It is unlikely that they have become so close to the other primates by coincidence from a separate sea branch. The bonobo posture and upright bipedal walking is so incredibly like ours and other signs such genes (although I use genetic evidence with extreme caution because most of the time it is taken to enslave people into genetic fatalism: i.e. we can’t do anything about it, we have evolved, our genes are like this…) – anyway, all these similarities with apes, particularly bonobos and chimps point to the fact that we are probably closer to them at this point than to dolphins. It is possible that we have returned to the sea at a certain point. Everything is possible. But, it very well may be that we haven’t. On the scope of the history of the world, we have but a handful of clues and the rest is imagination. I have no problem with imagination at all. I like stories, I like science as puzzles of stories, I like to befriend human and other animals and learn about them. But unfortunately, this is not the way civilisation treats the fruits of creativity. The problem with these theories in “science” and such debates (not with you, but the way it unfolded above), is that civilised people seek to justify murder and so it becomes crucial for them to convince everyone that they are the ones who have the answers to the truth even though their truth is full of holes, contradictions, and even lies. For example, if we are descendants from an aquatic ape, how does hunting and domestication (torture) of cattle and chickens tie into our “evolution”? How do we know that we should eat fish and not seaweed and plankton? After all, whales do quite well on it – who said we’re not whales? I don’t mind to go and live in the sea – often I dream of myself as a Neanderthal dolphin (when not a someone else) and want to go back to the Crimea and claim my ancestral caves overlooking the Black sea (smile). But that’s strictly a personal issue that cannot be imposed as Knowledge on the lifestyles of everyone else. The magnificence of life is the incredible creativity of where and how it finds a way to expresses itself. So, if you get a kick out of going to the sea, then that’s what you should do and not worry about proof or theory that would justify that desire. If others want to live in the forest or the mountains or the desert or the snowland, then that’s what they should do. But living beings need to move, so when they decide they want to change scene, they shouldn’t have borders to stop them and theories to convince them that they are slaves of people, textbooks, origins and genes.

    So, to answer your question whether I find primates as foundations for ethical decisions, no, I don’t think that only primates should be the foundation for our ethical decisions. Ilya Arshavski’s response to Lena Nikitina’s question on ethics was that all animals – having entered into a tacit agreement to preserve life in all the creative diversity that it has been found – are moral. The ones who impose death and imbalance, such as the civilised human ape, are the ones who are immoral. But observing the lives of primates reveals that the story the civilised have invented for themselves – to justify mass murder and to scare people that they would die if they tried anything that feels better, easier, and happier for them – is one big lie.

    Kropotkin by the way is available on-line.

    I’m interested to hear what you find central and in general your own views and info on all this. Myself, I’ll be working on finishing my thesis, so I won’t be responding soon, but I’ll read with pleasure. Anyways, others probably find it interesting as well. So, please, do share.

    September 9, 2010 @ 2:26 am
  8. Comment by layla:

    Andy AB, much of my bibliography is getting sorted out right now. But you can check out what I already have on genesis. Also, I really enjoy Stephen Jay Gould (Nekeisha would love his book “the Mismeasure of Man”). Also, W. McGrew, Kinji Imanishi, Tim Ingold. And of course Petr Kropotkin – he’s available on the net.

    September 9, 2010 @ 2:31 am
  9. Comment by layla:

    Andy AB, also, I believe you’ll enjoy Richard Leakey (from the Leaky clan of palaeoanthropologists) and Roger Lewin’s “Origins Reconsidered” in they revise much of the errors of the earlier book “Origins” and give a good picture of the debates in the field and how basic premises influence how bones get classified and where the politics take them then.

    Also, Jane Goodall, even though there were some problems with her approach to domestication), she has deep insights into life in Africa among humans and chimps. Mostly, at the time, she was scolded for naming the chimps and not from the position that naming domesticates, but that the “scientist” shouldn’t develop emotional ties with the “object” or “subject” of study – which is precisely my critique of science: alienation and lack of empathy are the very motor of this knowledge which is UnKnowledge.

    Oh, and check out Susan Savage-Rumbaugh’s work on bonobos.

    September 9, 2010 @ 2:49 am
  10. Comment by Andy AB:

    “she was scolded for naming the chimps and not from the position that naming domesticates”

    Layla: I am not sure that I agree that naming domesticates. It is more a way to acknowledge the concrete particular of another, rather than subsuming them under some general genus. So instead of thinking of your cat as “cat” as if it is some generic representation of all cats without its own individual personality, traits, etc., we name the cat to acknowledge its own concrete particularity.

    I don’t see that as domestication. I disagree with John Zerzan on language.

    September 25, 2010 @ 7:21 pm
  11. Comment by Andy AB:


    Another comment: I searched through the Leakey book, but did not see anything dealing with the idea that early humans were forager/scavengers, not gatherer/hunters. That distinction in particular was what I was looking for. The vegetarian connection that undercuts the human as biologically programmed to kill.

    September 25, 2010 @ 7:30 pm
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