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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: can anyone refute the Paliolithic Diet?
Date: 14 Dec 1998 08:28:38 GMT

>  Evolution does seem to promote longevity in species, like birds of
>prey, that are not subject to predation.( the payoff for longevity is
>poor if you're going to be killed by a sabertooth, anyway ).  Can't
>remember the source, but I read somewhere that in species where the males
>"duel" over women, longevity tends to be poor for the same reason.

    Only if the duels are to the death.  Or the male competition for
females is so fierce as to interfere with male food finding, or with
proper fear of predation.  In those cases, males often tend to age
shockingly after hitting the mating season.  Why not?  They're not
going to last anyway.  But this sort of strategy is actually relatively
rare.  In most dueling species, the duels are not serious enough for
evolution to take notice, riskfactor wise.

    Many species, of course, feature male competition for females (due
to larger female investment in raising young in these species).  The
best index for male competition is larger male to female body mass in
the species-- since why else WOULD males be larger.   Humans seem to be
of a moderately competative nature this way, both by body mass
difference index, and by history.  Walruses are prime examples of the
extreme.  Foxes (lifetime pairing) and chimps (promiscuity and no
violent competition) go the other way.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Vegetarianism, Diet, and Sexual Desire
Date: 29 Jul 1998 08:33:57 GMT

In <6plfr5$mtc$> "Laurie Forti" <>

>    Ah, yes, the voice of inexperience.
>    Steve, have YOU PERSONALLY ever maintained a mostly-raw vegan
>diet long enough to actually _experience_ the results; or is your expertise
>limited to sleeping through an orthodox 'nutrition' class that falsely claimed
>that humans are carnivores and that cooking is somehow good for us??

    I've done a vegan diet for a month.  However, it wasn't a
completely raw diet.  I wasn't impressed.  But no matter what you do,
where will always be some nut who will say: "aHA, but you didn't do it
the vegan-raw-MACROBIOTIC way."  Or whatever.

> Is it true that only 1/4 of med schools give any courses in "nutriton"??
>And that those are merely intorductory?

    No.  All medical schools give a fair amount of training in
nutrition, taught by nutritionists.  The problem is that there isn't
enough on nutritional treatment of disease.  The real problem is that
not enough is really known about this.  There's just lots of rumor.

> Doesn't extrapolating data from the very ill to the somewhat healthy
>seem a bit irrational to you??  Victims of colostomy now are the
>standard bearers of health for the masses??

    If they can get a hard on in the morning, they're healthy enough to
illustrate that you don't know what you're talking about.   The
exception proves (tests) the rule.

>    Isn't the lion's share of the masses of unsupported beliefs in
>your profession  built on the rather bizarre assumption that putting
>toxic chemicals, that are not a normal part of the organism's native
>biochemistry(i.e. pharmaceuticals), into said organism somehow "cures"

   No, that putting such chemicals into said organism causes changes
which are beneficial.  Said organism being ill.

   Evolution is not the smartest thing.  Look at those stupid nipples
on male dogs and cats.  Evolution does what if can, side effect or not,
to get good reproduction.  It doesn't worry about old age, where most
of the disease is, because you're supposed to be dead by then, anyway.
It doesn't worry about major trauma, or long periods of no blood
pressure.  Animals and people who had that, didn't survive.  Modern
medicine has to fight evolutionary mechanisms to get them to, even now.
Evolution doesn't know about antibiotics, and causes damage trying to
kill bacteria that could be killed more gently.  And so on.  Evolution
is DUMB when you get past 40.

>    And don't you all mindlessly subscribe to the fantasy that
>somehow it is rational to forceably interfere with Nature's
>survival-oriented signals that something is wrong ("symptoms") with
>toxic "medicines" that suppress the warning signals??

    Getting arthritis in your hip at 70 because you have no cartilage
there anymore, is not a "warning signal", I'm afraid.  Unless you want
to compare it to the warning signal in your car when you have no oil
any more.  The problem being that there's no way to put the oil back in
an old organism.  It's not built to last forever.

>How can anyone with intellectual integrity actualy believe that it is
>rational to interfere with an incredibly complex biochemical system
>that has been self-optimizing for unknown billions of years with the
>rituals of local cultural religions only a couple of decades old?

    How can anybody with intellectual integrity and a modicum of
knowledge (the average human lifespan was about 35 up until about 500
years ago) not imagine that evolution is designed for the problems of
people 35 and under?  You clot well so you can have children and
survive fights and hunts.   At 70, that same ability plus wear and tear
gives you clots in your heart and your brain.  Does evolution care?

>    What is your medical explanation of the above mentioned
>inappropriate (for biological purposes) sexual arousal?

    The same as your explanation for nipples on male dogs, and teeth in
fetal baleen whales.  It's part of a system that does something else,
and not every part of the package makes perfect sense.  It's a
*package* deal.   Just because you have hairs on your knuckles, doesn't
mean they DO something important for you.   People who believe this
need to take college Biology 101.

>And just why does it disappear
>after defecation??

    Finally, an intelligent question!  Erections are maintained with
parasympathetic drive.  No doubt some of this is diverted when you do
GI functions.   No doubt if you're sexually excited at night and find
you need to deficate, you'll have a hard time maintaining an erection
through THAT, too.

                                      Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Europe rejects Canola oil
Date: 15 Apr 1999 08:01:23 GMT

In <7f2f83$fi9$> "news" <> writes:

>>>anyone else with half a brain can see that there is no difference
>between breeding things to manipulate their genes and doing it
>directly, <<
>Very interesting, I'd like to see you cross a soy bean with a salmon
>outside of a lab.

   I'd like to see you cross an ant with a thorn bush.  But the swollen
thorn acacia and the mutualistic ants that live in it have at least one
gene in common.   How did it get from one to the other?  Scientists
didn't do it.  But life has a way of moving genes from closely
connected species.  Retroviruses like RSV may carry snips.  Plants seem
all interconnected (and not a few insects also) by fungi which
interpenetrate their cells and probably move genetic material.  The
ocean turns out to be a soup of viruses, and they'll all just packages
of protected genes, moving from one species to another.  Your
intestinal cells carry genes from your intestinal bacteria.  If Merck
wanted to do that to you, as part of a science project, you'd have a
fit.  Sorry.  Nobody asked you, did they?

   You've go to stop seeing the genomes of living organisms as books of
instructions.  They're loose-leaves of instructions.  A page here, a
page moves there.  We're not doing anything ma nature hasn't been doing
for a billion years.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Europe rejects Canola oil
Date: 27 Apr 1999 05:09:54 GMT

In <> Jim <>

>If you don't see any differences between what we are doing and what
>nature is doing, perhaps it's because your knowledge of genetics and
>especially of genetic engineering and/or your imagination is too limited.
>And RATE of change can be the crucial factor. Some of the changes we are
>making have admittedly been made by nature before but NEVER at anything
>remotely like the RATE we are doing them.

    So what?  Are you under the impression that mutation at some given
rate is safe, but faster than that is faster than the galactic mutation
speed limit, and some motorcycle cop from Natureland will pull us over
and write us a ticket?  You need to back up your argument with
something more than handwringing.

    From looking at islands and isolated water bodies we can tell that
even in nature, speciation can happen very fast.  There are several
species of banana moth that are found only in Hawaii, and we know
bananas were brought there by the Polynesians (since bananas have no
working seeds to be carried by birds, and the plants are about as
likely to survive a 1000 mile ocean float as a rattlesnake; however,
they are a basic Polynesian food crop and carbon dating fixes the
Polynesian arrival well to the 1st century AD).  So those species
evolved only in the last 2000 years.  There is even one species of
copapod (plankton animal) which is native to the Salton Sea and nowhere
else on Earth.  But that "sea" dates from 1905-7 (the Colorado broke an
embankment near Yuma and filled up a low lying salt marsh), and the new
critter was found something like 30 years later.  It surely isn't in
the Colorado.  Something brought some plankton from the ocean to 450
square miles of unihabited and isolated water.  And then, the magic.

From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: sci.physics,talk.philosophy.misc,
Subject: Re: a test for Darwin Evolution theory Re: desire for knowledge and 
	understanding is rooted in desire sex & food
Date: 2 Aug 1999 21:28:58 GMT

In <7o4qui$o0j$> (Roy
Nyberg) writes:

>Personally I think it is a mistake to look at evolution as a MOTIVATION
>for things happening. For example, people don't go to war so that they
>can "naturally select" their own future. Evolution just happens, on the
>side. Other moment to moment motivations are what drives people(animals).
>Evolution is a side effect.

   It is both cause and side effect of behavior, which creates vicious
cycles.  That damn silly tail doesn't do peacocks any good (slows them
up when it comes to predators), but they have it because peahens like
it (ie, their fathers got to breed because they had one, and passed it
down).  Peahens like it because their mothers liked it, and so on.

   How did all this get started?  And what keeps it going?  The tail,
as a big handicap, is a measure of fitness, sort of like a Nobel prize
physics medal plus medal of valor in battle plus olympic pentathalon
gold medal, all rolled into one.  Males that have a big tail which is
also pretty and glossy, have managed to survive predation with it, and
kept well fed enough to maintain its quality in the face of predation
and parasites.  Females see those medals for those various things and
start to salivate.  My, what genes.  The guy may kill himself tomorrow
with the risks he takes, but who cares?  My kids will be children of an
olympic champ, medal of honor winner, and Nobel laureate.  A regular
Forrest gump this guy is, except he's as smart as Feynman.  So she
falls for him, and their kids get the nice tail, or a taste for nice
tales, like the one daddy had.  The males have a hard time with their
risk-taking, and many die early (the Kennedy tradition), but they get
the chicks while alive. And (here's the key) the females get not just a
taste for nice tails, but also all the good genes without the
risk-handicap, and thus an advantage themselves in strength,
intelligence, bravery.  Females without a taste for nice tails (or
medals, or the equivalent of medals--- see "losers") get kids who don't
get these gifts.  Their genes are less likely to survive.

From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: sci.physics,talk.philosophy.misc,
Subject: Re: a test for Darwin Evolution theory Re: desire for knowledge and 
	understanding is rooted in desire sex & food
Date: 3 Aug 1999 09:23:17 GMT

In <7o5vt5$pdu$> (Roy
Nyberg) writes:

>: independent of "survival-of-the-fittest" notions.  BTW, I note that
>: neither you nor any of the subsequent posters addressed "survival-of-
>: the-fittest" dogma, which is central to Darwin's teachings.
>I admit that survival of the fittest is central to Darwin's theory of
>evolution, but not all theories. In fact, most modern scientists now
>accept a theory of punctuated equillibrium (where things remain stagnant
>for many years until followed by a rapid period of evolution ignited by
>something drastic happening like an asteroid colliding with the Earth).

    Sorry, but that's a very garbled version of punctuated equilibrium
(PE), which is explicitly Darwinian, and relies on the same mechanisms
(natural and sexual selection).  PE merely suggests that evolution runs
at vastly different rates, depending on circumstance and population
size.  So most new species appear very rapidly (on a geologic time
scale-- but still hundreds of thousands to several millions of years)
and in very small areas (one island or isolated lagoon), where the
changes may be missed in latter fossil bearing strata.  But the
authors' (S. Gould, N. Eldrich) evidence that this kind of thing DID
happen, was two sets of data showing a complete recored of evolution of
new species in snails and trilobites, where the intermediate
"transitional" fossils DID exist, and were NOT missed.  However, they
ALMOST were, since they occured in only a very small area, and over a
very short distance in the strata.  So they might just as well have
been overlooked, or not discovered.  Which is what the authors suggest
happens in most cases.  That's it.

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