Myths that can kill: 1, Meat
Here's one: Many years ago, primitive man had a notion somewhat similar to animism; that if you could hunt down and kill the biggest, bravest, wildest animal you could find and eat some of its flesh, that you would somehow gain some part of that beast's energy and animal virility. In this spirit, beasts were sacrificed in pagan rituals and devoured in the hope of some part of that beast's life-force could be shared.
Primitive stuff, huh? Here's how that myth is played out in our modern world: A big red steak is good for you. Barbecues full of meat are good for you. A plate full of dead flesh is good for you. These are the things said by small boys and by those who don't think before they eat. Rrrrr!
Well, it's not good for you. A plate full of meat is a plateful of too much protein, too much fat, and -- if you live in North America or Europe and you don't eat organic -- too many hormones and growth promoters. All that has been known for some time. What's new today is the news that red meat really is a killer:
Eating large quantities of red meat can increase your risk of bowel cancer by producing substances in the gut that damage DNA, a study reveals today.There it is. Going primitive can kill you. In the modern world there's no excuse for it.
A comparison of cells from the lining of the colon shows that people who eat a diet high in high red meat have a "significant" increase in levels of DNA damage compared with vegetarians. This damage can increase the risk of developing cancer, say researchers at the Medical Research Council's (MRC) Dunn human nutrition unit in Cambridge...
The researchers found that when the red meat diet was compared with the vegetarian diet, there was a "consistent and significant" increase in DNA damage, while damage was intermediate with the red meat/high fibre diet...
Scientists welcomed the findings as 80% of bowel cancer is thought to be related to diet and therefore largely preventable. Each year 35,000 people in Britain are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and 16,000 of them die.
Mankind began moved away from primitivism when we moved away from the short-term existence of hunting and gathering and began planting crops and planning long term, which is the characteristically human means of survival. The world's great civilisations were born out of this glorious transformation in human affairs, but primitivism like this still stayed with us. Today, with modern nutritional science as our guide, it's not only possible to eat well and to eat healthily with a diet that excludes red meat, it's possibly beneficial to do so -- for your health if for no other reason.
Put simply, vegetarianism is rational and life-affirming. Eating red meat is clearly not: it's primitive and health-destroying and antediluvian. If I may paraphrase from this particularly silly pronouncement:
Eating read meat clearly calls for the sacrifice of one’s actual values and happiness for an arbitrary standard. There is nothing noble or positive about sacrifice for any reason. It is literally mixing a little poison in with your food. Destroying a little of your life for no reason...
People should see the evil for what it is, and affirm their own lives as their moral standard. There should be no sympathy for those who destroy their most precious value - their own lives.
If you choose to keep eating red meat, you can't say you haven't been warned. You'll only have yourselves to blame.