Potatoes: Brain Food for Evolutionary Health
A claim that eating starchy foods, like potatoes, made men out of monkeys made it all the way to the BBC News. “Man’s ability to digest starchy foods like the potato may explain our success on the planet, genetic work suggests,” the subtitle read. Not only that, it claimed “these extra calories may have been crucial for feeding the larger brains of humans, speculate the University of California Santa Cruz authors” of a paper in Nature Genetics.
This benefit, of course, arose after our primitive ancestors mastered fire and cooking. “We roast tubers, and we eat French fries and baked potatoes,” the article quoted one coauthor. “When you cook, you can afford to eat less overall, because the food is easier to digest.”
The paper did not speculate on the evolution of the couch potato. One meat-eater had a different view. The article ended:
Professor John Dupr�, a professor of philosophy of science at Exeter University in the UK, urged caution when interpreting the findings.
He said it was impossible to conclude that the introduction of starchy foods into the diet lay behind the emergence of larger brains in humans.
“Lots of things differ between ourselves and our closest relatives and apart from the difficulty of establishing the relative places in the evolutionary sequence of any of these, the assumption that there is any one fundamental to such change is dubious.
He said the finding does have value in teaching us more about the plasticity of the genome. Despite this admission, he seemed to mash the potato hypothesis.
News@Nature took a less philosophical approach. Showing a picture of a boy spitting, it began its coverage, “Spit might have helped human evolution by enabling our ancestors to harvest more energy from starch than their primate cousins.” Further down in the article, under “Evolution of Spit,” the article claimed, “The ability to digest starch may have had the added benefit of cutting down on diarrhoea – still a major cause of death in children.” Then it quoted Nate Dominy (UC Santa Cruz) explaining, “It might pay to start digesting things a bit earlier in the process to get what you can before it’s shot out of your body.” So Nature was shooting from both ends, apparently. The article praised such research as “a great example of what can be learned about our past via evolutionary genomics.” Science Daily reported this story with similar salivation for its potential to explain human evolution.
This is the level of foolishness that Father Charlie has smuggled into science. The article even uses a suggestive Haeckel drawing of human evolution. If double dribble is a foul committed by babies with no control of either end of the alimentary canal, the evolutionists here are committing double drivel.
The world is in the grip of a stupid myth pretending to be scientific. The new experimental method now consists of trying out new twists on the plot. How about a little empiricism? Feed French fries to a chimp and see if he starts philosophizing or composing symphonies. Notice that this was not from some podunk college professor, but from the world’s leading journal company, and one of the world’s leading news agencies. O grievous folly. The Darwinists are now getting in the habit of supersizing their nonsense meal deals.