Thursday, 24 July 2008 by Phil Lees
At least it is if you're counting in Roman numerals.
I know that this may be adding a dash of kero to the flamewar, but Maytel's redacted post reminded me of a point that Michael Pollan makes incredibly badly. From the everyone's favorite justification for carnivorousness, The Omnivore's Dilemma (p.231):
Domestication is an evolutionary, rather than a political, development. It is certainly not a regime humans somehow imposed on animals some ten thousand years ago. Rather, domestication took place when a handful of especially opportunistic species discovered, through Darwinian trial and error, that they were more likely to survive and prosper in an alliance with humans than on their own.
Pollan goes on to explain that domesticated animals lead much cushier lifestyles than their counterparts whom languish in what is left of Nature. This argument seems like an ecologist's version of the bumper sticker slogan that if God hadn't wanted us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them from meat. Just replace the deity with evolution. A few pages later, he argues that unlike domesticated animals (who made themselves through their own opportunism) humans made bisons. He quotes Tim Flannery:
"the bison is a human artifact, it was shaped by Indians"
I'm still confused as to why Pollan attributes agency to domestic animals (it was their own fault that they exist and are full of meat) but not to wild ones (who man made full of meat, through predation).