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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pandora's Seed

I just found out about this book via my Audible recommendation. It looks really interesting. I am curious to see how it compares to and relates to Guns, Germs and Steel, which also explores the some of the devastating effects brought on by the advent of agriculture.

From Publisher's Weekly, June 8, 2010, as presented on the Amazon.com page for Pandora's Seed:

"More food but also disease, craziness, and anomie resulted from the agricultural revolution, according to this diffuse meditation on progress and its discontents. Wells (The Journey of Man), a geneticist, anthropologist, and National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence, voices misgivings about the breakthrough to farming 10,000 years ago, spurred by climate change. The food supply was more stable, but caused populations to explode; epidemics flourished because of overcrowding and proximity to farm animals; despotic governments emerged to organize agricultural production; and warfare erupted over farming settlements. Then came urbanism and modernity, which clashed even more intensely with our nomadic hunter-gatherer nature."

1 comment:

David Brown said...

I read Guns, Germs, and Steel. I don't plan to read Pandora's Seed.

While "disease, craziness, and anomei" are certainly associated with agriculture, it's quite a leap to suggest that these undesirable consequences are caused by increased food production. Rather, it's the misuse of technology, ignorance, bad ideas, and greed that spawn the problems associated with increased food production.

But ignoring warfare and social issues, mental and physical health are largely determined by the quality of the food supply. And the two components in food that really ruin brain and body are omega-6 and fructose, not carbohydrate intake. Consider, for example, the Kitava Study. There's plenty of food available, about 80 percent of adults are daily smokers, and they consume about 70 percent carbohydrate. Yet nobody dies from heart disease or stroke. http://www.staffanlindeberg.com/TheKitavaStudy.html