Allow me to preface this article by stating for the record that veganism and vegetarianism are perfectly healthy and acceptable lifestyle choices and are, in part, made possible by mankind's scientific understanding of human dietary needs. Further, having compassion for animals and a desire to protect them from harm is a perfectly valid and humanistic cause to champion.
The following is neither a criticism of vegans and vegetarians nor animal rights advocates. It's a criticism of a subculture where these two words intersect. One where the righteousness of abstaining from eating animal products stands above all all else, and where chickens and cows share equality with our species, Homo sapiens.
This sub-group, a vocal minority of the greater whole, has begun the process of mythologizing the scientific history of human evolution to write out the importance role that meat played on the journey that our primitive ancestors took to becoming me and you. Some go as far as to say that human ancestors were themselves vegan.
Because the consumption of meat was both critical for our ancestors' survival, and contributed to our large brains, the very essence of what makes us human, it is, therefore, an inconvenient truth. It does not jive with them that the consumption of animals is both evil and necessary for our very existence.
Assault on Science
These cultists use the 2011 refutation of the expensive-tissue hypothesis as propaganda to say that human ancestors were vegan. Specifically they're referring to Homo habilis, Homo egraster, and Homo erectus. We know that early species in the Homo genus relied on their tool using ability to crack open bones and extract marrow. We further know that H. erectus controlled and used fire to cook, or at least barbecue, food. Their diverse diet led to their survival, whereas other hominid primates, for example Paranthropus boisei, and indeed the entire Paranthropus genus, which specialized in roots and grass, did go extinct as the Earth's climate changed.
This is the same tactic that creationists or climate change deniers use. They find some scientific fact and say it says something that it doesn't, and twist it to conform with their worldview. Then they use it as propaganda.
For example, creationists are fond of doing this with the second law of thermodynamics. They claim it prevents energy from being either created or destroyed, therefore the Big Bang is impossible. However, the law only applies to closed systems and isn't applicable to any theory relating to the origins of the universe.
What the PETA/vegan cultists are doing here is saying that expansive expensive-tissue hypothesis states that meat was required for human brain development, since the hypothesis is invalid therefore humans evolved naturally and did not require meat as a dietary staple.
In reality the expansive expensive-tissue hypothesis (note hypothesis and not theory) has literally nothing to do with eating meat. It was proposed in 1995 and stated that for the brain to grow large then another organ system, hypothesized to be the digestive tract, had to grow small. This turned out to not be the case as evidenced by the 2011 study.
It was revealed that humans have relatively large guts, and animals with more fat have smaller brains because they need more protein for their skeletal muscles to move.
This is exactly how science is supposed to work. It comes up with a possible solution, than that solution is either proven and becomes a theory, and it is disproved and discarded.
The 2011 study even goes on to conclude that meat protein was important for the development of the modern brain. This is in line with established theories relating to human evolution.
In order to stabilize the brain's energy supply on a higher level, prehistoric man needed an all-year, high-quality source of food, such as underground tubers or meat. As they no longer climbed every day, they perfected the art of walking upright. Even more important, however, is communal child care.
Does this make the PETA and vegan groups advocating this false science a cult? Does a cult need to be a religion? When an organized group mythologizes science and rewrites history, and then gets other people to accept their lie based on faith, that's the establishment of a cult. Other groups that fit the criteria of a cult though are themselves not a religion, per se, include Heaven's Gate, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Manson Family
Corrupting history and science for an agenda, no matter how noble the cause, is alarming and dangerous, and is a practice should be spoken against by those who are capable of rational thought.