Cleverone, I applaud you for your taking the time to think creatively about this issue. The "fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"
has long been something I have considered very deeply myself.
Although I am really enjoyed reading your post, after considering it carefully I think that meat cannot possibly be "the" thing. After all, many
animals and insects eat it, and have not shown a corresponding increase in intelligence or brain size. (including our closest genetic cousins, chimps
and bonobo's) In fact, I have to believe it cannot be a literal "fruit" or "food" at all, as if there were such a food that stimulated
intelligence or brain size, some other creature certainly would have stumbled across it by now and eaten it. Some thinkers on this subject believe it
may have been psychedelics, perhaps mushrooms, however even those are commonly eaten by other species both accidentally and purposefully. My own
personal feeling is that all literal interpretations for this "fruit" have to be abandoned, if science and evolution are to be combined with these
tales in search of a possible "core truth."
Despite the tendency for certain groups to interpret the Bible very literally, it seems to me that it is rich in allegory. My own feeling is that the
"eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" refers allegorically to the beginning of dualistic thought. After all,
everything that follows, the shame, knowing death, all of these require some splitting of a "whole" into "parts." Ie: Existence into life/death,
"All that is" into "good" and "evil," etc. I personally feel this story refers to the beginning of "judgemental thinking" itself, and that
once this "leap" was made, an increase in brain size followed suit. (Which would explain the "suffering in childbirth," as humans have difficulty
birthing children due to an increase in brain size that has not yet been completely compensated for by an increase in the pelvic opening.) It would
also explain the "toiling in the soil for a living" as one would be able to anticipate "starvation" or "want" or "surely know death" once one
thought dualistically, and would try to prevent this, rather than as Jesus encourages, trust that God will provide for us as he does "the birds of
the air or the lilies of the field."
I think the Neanderthal part was simply not being totally up to date with the rapidly changing body of knowledge about who, what, and when things
happened in brain size, no crime at all as the field is changing almost monthly at this point. Neanderthals actually had larger brains than Homo
Sapiens. Here is a great link to some info on brain size increase;
Here is another really good article that supports the idea that using the brain in a certain way alone drove the much greater increase in brain size
in Homo Sapiens. All mammals had their brain size increase, but some, (like us) more so than others and this article in "New Scientist" examines
If you personally (cleverone) cannot get the entire article to display and WANT to read it, (New Scientist often makes it difficult) just U2U me and I
will figure out a way. (I subscribe and may be able to help figure something out)
Here is a pertinent piece from that article; "The great brain race: Over the past three million years the human brain has grown faster than those of
most other animals. But its large size is not the only thing that makes it so powerful" by Roger Lewin for New Scientist.
"According to Wilson, brains fuelled their own evolution. When a new behaviour arises in an individual, he argued, it is likely to be acquired by
other members of the population that are genetically predisposed to learn it. If the behaviour is beneficial, these individuals will tend to leave
more offspring, ensuring that the genetic predisposition to innovation and learning - a trait presumably linked in part to brain size - is propelled
by natural selection. Behaviour, not climate change or other external forces, drives evolution, said Wilson: big brains beget bigger brains."
Despite all of the above, you bring up a good point, that meat eating was forbidden humans by the God of Abraham. We were given very specific
instructions to eat the fruits of seed bearing plants and trees. The whole thing with Noah being allowed to eat meat after the flood in my personal
opinion has been grossly misinterpreted by the priestly class. You were not to eat them with their "lifes blood" in them.
From Genesis 9: 3,4,
"Every living and moving thing will be food for you; I give them all to you as before I gave you all green things. 4 But flesh with the
life-blood in it you may not take for food. 5 And for your blood, which is your life, will I take payment; from every beast I will take it, and from
every man will I take payment for the blood of his brother-man."
There are those that believe that this was an allowance that one could eat what was already dead, but not kill something. Which would make sense
after a flood which would have left may dead things, and ruined crops. Notice it even says "blood, which is your life." In the old days it was
noticed that those who lost all their blood died, and so it was thought life was in the blood. Along this school of thought, draining the blood in no
way makes it "kosher" to eat meat, because the underlying idea was the same one reiterated in the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not kill."
Anyway, great post, thank you for putting up with my two cents, and for allowing me the opportunity to consider alternative ones. The protein brain
size increase theory is also supported by some evidence, so it is a good idea, and could well be what they were referring to. Who knows.
point all we can do is share theories and information.