August 8, 2016

IT’S COME TO THIS: The New York Times tut-tuts the invention of fire and obsesses over its downsides:

But there were downsides, too. Occasionally, the smoke burned their eyes and seared their lungs. Their food was likely coated with char, which might have increased their risk for certain cancers. With everyone congregated in one place, diseases could have been transmitted more easily.

Much research has focused on how fire gave an evolutionary advantage to early humans. Less examined are the negative byproducts that came with fire, and the ways in which humans may or may not have adapted to them. In other words, how did the harmful effects of fire shape our evolution?

As one of Ace of Spades’ co-bloggers writes in response, “Where to start….:”

How about; The taming of fire began the process of creating civilization. There is nothing….NOTHING bad about its use.

The smoke burned their eyes? So they moved away from the smoke, like any three-year-old knows.

It seared their lungs? Really? How do you know? Ever go camping or hang around a bonfire? Oh…of course not. They don’t do that stuff on the Upper West Side and at Brown. But normal people (and probably every animal on earth) know not to stand really close to the fire and breath in the hot smoke and air.

Read the whole thing. As Jonah Goldberg wrote, a theme that runs through the many strains of liberal fascism over the past century is the idea of history taking a giant wrong turn to explain evolutionary events that shaped man, from discovering that big continent on the other side of the big pond to the left of Europe, back to the invention of language, all the way back to the discovery that animals are rather tasty and nutritious when you kill ‘em and grill ‘em.

And since it’s the “Progressive” fad of the moment, these days, whenever history has taken what the left views as a wrong turn, the highly problematic P-word is guaranteed to rear his ugly head:

Negative cultural consequences came with fire, too — and continue to leave an imprint. Anthropologists have speculated that inhaling smoke led to the discovery of smoking. Humans have long used fire to modify their environment and burn carbon, practices that now have us in the throes of climate change. Fire is even tied to the rise of patriarchy — by allowing men to go out hunting while women stayed behind to cook by the fire, it spawned gender norms that still exist today.

Note how nicely that last sentence dovetails with the article that Sarah Hoyt Insta-linked to on Saturday, which was headlined, “How the Invention of the Alphabet Usurped Female Power in Society and Sparked the Rise of Patriarchy in Human Culture.”

When all of history is nothing but victim-making wrong turns all the way down, perhaps it’s time to check your premises, to coin a phrase.

Or perhaps your Gnosticism.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.