Pharyngula

Wait, what if idiocy is blood-borne?

Larry Moran is proudly Canadian, so this must have hurt a little bit: Canadian Blood Services is advertising with a load of codswallop about your blood type. This is complete nonsense:

  1. Type A: So, you’re an A. You already know that having type A blood suggests that you are reliable, a team player and may benefit from a vegetarian diet*. Did you also know that anthropologists believe that type A blood originated in Asia or the middle east between 25,000 and 15,000 BC?

  2. Type B: So, you’re a B. You already know that having type B blood suggests that you are independent, a self-starter and may benefit from a wholesome well-balanced diet*. Did you also know that anthropologists believe that type B blood appeared between 15,000 and 10,000 BC in the Himalayas?

  3. Type AB: So, you’re an AB. You already know that having type AB blood suggests that you are organized, friendly and may enjoy a vegetarian or wholesome well-balanced diet*. Did you also know that anthropologists believe that type AB blood did not originate until 900-1000 years ago and came into existence when eastern Mongolian invaders overran the last of European civilization?

  4. Type O: So, you’re an O. You already know that having type O blood suggests that you might be competitive, goal oriented and a real meat eater*. Did you also know that anthropologists believe that type O is the oldest and most common blood type, originating in Southern Africa?

Notice the personality descriptions are vague and always positive: this is classic woo technique. Forget your blood type, just read the descriptions, and if you’re willing to go along, they’ll always fit you. This is the same trick astrologers use, formulating anemic, non-specific ‘predictions’ that the gullible reader can retrofit to their own situation.

But the claims about the origins of these blood types are simply lies! They aren’t even consistent: how can you claim A and B arose over 10,000 years ago, but that the heterozygote AB never occurred until 1000 years ago? Since the ABO blood types are present in other apes, like chimpanzees, it’s obvious that claims of recent origin are bogus. Also, as Larry points out, type O is the null allele — it’s caused by a non-functional transferase enzyme. It’s pretty damned unlikely that it is the oldest type.

The Canadian site does list their sources: they include a weird Japanese blood type cult and a pop diet book from a naturopathic quack. So here’s an organization that offers important medical services, and they are peddling woo of the rankest, stupidest kind. I know that blood from morons is just as good as blood from geniuses, but really…why would you want to miseducate your clients?

(Also on FtB)