The New York Times has published a science article lamenting that the invention of fire, a critical development for early humanity, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be because it’s also to blame for causing global warming and “the patriarchy.”
“First We Made Fire!,” roars the headline for the piece, published Friday afternoon. “But It May Have Come With Some Downsides.” A tweet touting the piece notes that, while fire is great and all, it also paved the way for smoking thousands of years later.
A downside to the discovery of fire: It may have paved the way for smoking https://t.co/omcy6gWGdd
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 5, 2016
Much of the article deals with the interesting side effects of humanity learning to create and utilize fire. For instance, human lungs gradually evolved the ability to metabolize certain harmful toxins contained in smoke, which may have become an evolutionary advantage for humans against Neanderthals. The article also discusses scientific speculation that human communities gathering around a fire may have led to the emergence of the disease tuberculosis.
But later in the article, the Times goes further afield, complaining that inventing fire caused all sorts of harmful effects up to the present, such as the patriarchy.
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.
The article is already attracting substantial ridicule online.
downside to the invention of written language: It may have lead to the New York Times.
— Steve (@stevelocker) August 5, 2016
An upside to the discovery of fire: it made possible the existence of tobacco bonds, delivering high tax-free income https://t.co/KjENHFCynW
— Brian Chappatta (@BChappatta) August 5, 2016
Before the discovery of fire, cigarettes could only be lit by courteous, lightning-prone cavemen. https://t.co/dY3jTZjBHA
— Cuffy (@CuffyMeh) August 5, 2016
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.