Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dairy Beats Meat

An interesting fact in Cochran and Hapending's 10,000 Year Explosion, is that raising cattle for milk, as opposed to meat, generates 5 times the calories for a set amount of land. Thus, the milk raising people were able to outbreed, and eventually overwhelm, those whose cultures did not raise cattle for milk. The interesting point is that this is a strange form of genocide, because a lactose intolerant group could not simply adopt dairy farming, because without the lactose tolerant gene, it would be useless (and uncomfortable). Eventually, groups battle, and the numbers of the lactose tolerant simply overwhelms the lactose intolerant. Culture and genes are linked, because with the lactose tolerant genes you can't have a dairy culture, and without a dairy culture, you can't select for lactose tolerance.

I love a tall glass of milk, any time of the day. I still remember that on steak day my most mostly Jewish frat brothers would look in disgust as I drank milk with my steak. It wasn't the Talmudic restrictions that bothered them, rather, they found the combination repulsive, like eating chocolate covered potato chips.


Anonymous said...

When are you going to show up on bloggingheads?

Anonymous said...

Milk and pasta with a thick Bolognese sauce pwns.

Bullish Bankers said...

That's a very interesting point on the per-calorie use of cows in breeding, haha, who woulda thunk it?

Definitely a worth while economics lesson as well!

J said...

These people are not very familiar with primitive pastoralism. There is no separation between beef and milch cattle breeding, as some cows are always milked for babies and children. Chinese, for example, are intolerqant for milk when adults, yet keep cattle for milk. Cochran is searching for something similar to Jared Diamond's success, a reason why White people conquered others, a PC reason acceptable to all. I think it was not the lactose gen, it was the political ability to get organized and to fight in groups.

Barbar said...

Genetic theories of White global dominance seem to have the problem that the balance of world power was quite different 500 years ago, when genetics were presumably the same.

People living in London 400 years ago were hardworking, individualistic, and concerned with maintaining social stability, but they were still dirt poor.

Eric Falkenstein said...

I don't think anyone was going there, certainly not me. Razib and Cochrane are hardly White Nationalists, and neither am I.

But the point was really about the the way genes spread in the pre-medieval period in Europe. That is, how else could lactose tolerance spread, given humans probably did not start out with it. It's an example of how genes interact with culture, and how they spread. Evolution is about selection, and this is a specific mechanism, one that is hardly relevant today where calories and even protein is cheap in developed economies.