The Meat Paradox: Empathy with Our Food

“Can’t you feel it?”
“Feel what?” I asked

“How we are turning into greedy predators, just like wolves. We have this need to kill more and more. Even if we had two hundred sables we wouldn’t feel satisfied, would we? Just like the devil, you see.”

He paused for a while. Then he added, “I suggest we calm down and stop hunting for a week or so.”

Rane Willerslev, Soul Hunters

In an article published in Skeptic Magazine last month, Mark Moffett described a phenomenon which was recently dubbed by psychologists and animal ethicists as the “meat paradox.1” The question at hand is why do people love animals but also want to eat them? For a large number of scholars and laymen, the meat paradox appears to be a bit of a conundrum. Why would we ever evolve a system that would make us guilty about something we need in order to survive? Why are we able to feel empathy for our prey when so many other predators seem to be getting by without these emotions at all?

One of the most common reactions to this paradox is the assumption that it is a recent phenomenon brought on by our modern lifestyles. Compared to hunter-gatherers who spend time physically hunting and killing their food, our separation from and inexperience towards the act of killing have made us soft. In other words, hunter-gatherers don’t feel this way and our feelings about killing animals are unnatural.

But as I accidentally came to find out, this view of our unique paradox can’t be true.

Continue reading “The Meat Paradox: Empathy with Our Food”

Sokal Squared: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (and the Outlook)

Hello all. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I figured I might resurrect this dead blog (I think blogging as a whole is dead and I missed the opportune window for this to be really anything) to put a bookend on something I have been talking about without end for the past six days – Helen Pluckrose, James Lindsay, and Peter Boghossians’ hoaxing of “Academic Grievance Studies”. Continue reading “Sokal Squared: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (and the Outlook)”

“The Selfish Nature of Human Cooperation” Re: Punishment Games

I was recently given the opportunity by the kind folks at Areo Magazine to publish a few opinions of mine on the nature of human cooperation titled, “The Selfish Nature of Human Cooperation,” which you can find in a link at the bottom of this post.

The article, which is about a 9 minute read, argues that most of the time when anthropologists et al align cooperation with some sort of moral good, we fail to take into account the mechanisms by which cooperation is maintained and what the purpose of cooperation is. Since I decided to soft-dox myself by publishing it under my real name, I don’t want to get into too many polemics on who this piece though.

Target audience aside, the article had some good feedback, but I wanted to address a point made by Siberian Fox (@SilverVVulpes on Twitter).

siberian fox

Continue reading ““The Selfish Nature of Human Cooperation” Re: Punishment Games”