Teeth Like Knives

For this fortnight’s “fact” the ICR has attempted to tackle the following questions:

If God created humans and animals to eat only fruits and vegetables, how did meat get onto the menu? And why do some animals have sharp teeth if they weren’t supposed to eat meat in the beginning?

The result is a bit of a non-answer, as you might expect.

Are you a carnivore? Every time you bite into a juicy steak, pork chop, or chicken wing, you’re acting like one. Your doctor might tell you to cut back on your carnivorous activities and eat more fruits and vegetables. But that’s because medical research indicates that we live longer and healthier if we eat less meat. And that’s pretty good advice, considering that was God’s design at creation.

The ICR’s rather uncomfortable position is that of both claiming that vegetarianism is God’s original intention without going so far as to condemn meat eating even in the slightest. Their vague claim about “medical research” supports this, but it’s a more than just a bit of a simplification. Vegetarianism isn’t inherently healthy – potato chips, after all, tend to contain no meat products – and thus simply paying attention to what you’re eating is half the solution. Meat, on the other hand, is not all bad unless you eat too much of the stuff (something which is true for pretty much everything that isn’t some kind of rare-earth metal). So the claim is a quote-mine without even a quote.

To both man and animals God said that fruits and vegetables shall be for food. So, how did meat get on the menu? And why would God create large sharp teeth if they weren’t supposed to eat meat?

The appropriate biblical quote is Genesis 1:29-30:

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

This is, at face value, is an instruction to only eat vegetable matter. But it is in fact a little ambiguous over whether or not other animals should be eaten. While “for meat” appears to mean ‘instead of,’ can God really say that kind of thing if meat hasn’t even been an option up until this point? What’s more, the ICR has elsewhere included ‘”lower” animals’ as organisms allowed to be eaten at this point in time:

Their “death” would not constitute death of truly living organisms.

So it’s a little confusing. Back to the video:

It actually wasn’t until after the flood of Noah that God gave us permission to eat meat.

At the start of Genesis 9 it does indeed say:

9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
9:2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
9:3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things

But I can’t find where it says that animals may eat each other, so there still seems to be a bit of a mystery there.

And those sharp teeth? The fact is that these animals eat other food as well, and use those teeth to break through the tough rids of fruit or the hard shells of nuts.

Er, no. The last time this topic came up was in The Ultimate Question, where sharp-toothed fruitbats were discussed. Point is, while it is true that “sharp teeth” in general can be useful for certain vegetarian pursuits we’re not actually talking about canines here.

For instance, while we think of bears as predators when we camp, they’re actually omnivores, and can be quite content on a vegetarian diet.

Bears are interesting in that they are apparently evolving away from carnivory (with the exception of polar bears), and have less developed canines etc. More importantly, it wouldn’t matter that they could live on a vegetarian diet if it didn’t use their sharper teeth for it.

And don’t forget that our cats and dogs have sharp teeth, just like lions and wolves, but the processed food we give them today is often made of corn, soy beans, and rice.

If it’s been processed by humans, what the food is actually made of is irrelevant to the discussion of teeth.

So the next time you sit down for a steak dinner don’t forget to pile on the veggies – for your health, and to honour our creator.

A good a reason as any to turn down the spinach – they’ll make you creationist. Though does it count if the food had to be domesticated first? I think spuds are ok…

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8 thoughts on “Teeth Like Knives

  1. Gorillas have sharp teeth–yet they are vegetarians. And apes are vegetarians which is further proof that humans and completely different and did not evolve from apes.

    • Big teeth, certainly – I’ll have to look up their diet when I have a moment. But how does this show that “humans and completely different and did not evolve from apes.”? As we see above, creationists seem to be perfectly ok with the idea of a vegetarian animal becoming omnivorous and even a compulsive carnivore. If all apes were vegetarian you thus can’t raise any objection on that ground.

    • Chimps sometimes hunt and eat monkeys.

      I’ve just sent an email to the ICR about a newer blog post. As follows:

      http://www.icr.org/article/6927/ (Tompkins)

      “A new study reported in the journal Science has advanced our
      knowledge of rare DNA variation associated with gene regions in the
      human genome. By applying a demographics-based model to the data,
      researchers discovered that the human genome began to rapidly diversify
      about 5,000 years ago. Remarkably, this data coincides closely with
      biblical models of rapid diversification of humans after the global
      flood.”
      Funny, the Abstract doesn’t mention that. Although you quote a
      participating scientist as referring to “5115 years ago”.
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6090/64.short

      But I thought YECs believed in a Flood around 4,300 years ago –
      followed by an initially delayed spreading of the human species around
      the world. So 5,000 years is a bit too ‘early’ for you!

      “after millions of years of hardly any genetic variation among modern
      humans…”. Liar. Nobody thinks that happened (with Homo sapiens).

      I also note that the study ONLY looks at Americans.

    • US scientist David Levin (in Boston) has informed me:
      “I have attached a Perspectives discussion of this paper published in
      the same issue of Science [assuming this was attached I forgot to save it or the email]. This piece makes clear the very important
      point (see figure) that there are recent mutations and much older
      mutations in the human population. The former are characterized as rare
      variants (carried by less than 0.5% of the population) that are not
      shared between humans of European descent and humans of African
      descent. The latter are common variants (greater than 0.5% of the
      population) and are mostly shared between humans of European and
      African descent. Therefore, the YEC claim that this paper supports
      their position is plainly dishonest.

      From a medical perspective, the importance of the work is that
      previous studies searching for complex disease-causing mutations have
      focused on the more common genetic variants in the population. This
      approach has been largely unsuccessful. But it now seems likely that it
      is these more recent (and rare) mutations that hold the key to complex
      disease. Time will tell.”

      I’m posting this with his agreement.

  2. One of the more memorable parodies from talk.origins was the explanation that orb-weaver spiders, before the Fall, wove webs to catch falling grapes which they then sucked the juice out of to make raisins for Adam and Eve to eat.

  3. True, some chimps have practiced cannibalism. Some hamsters have practiced cannibalism. Many animals that are either under stressful situations are are lacking nutritionally will often resort to eating whatever is available. Still, they are basically vegetarians and we are basically omnivores.

  4. it is an English term called inferring

    3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

    note: God said not eat because he was talking about what they couldn’t eat

    we must inference again when is God says “for meat”
    where meat is defined as edible flesh of animals
    so God is replacing meat with “herbs”

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