Did BEER Really Change the World?

Yesterday afternoon I posted a trailer for a new Discovery show that argues that Beer was at the root of most, if not all historic movements in civilization.  The trailer does its job by peaking your interest about the topic.  I actually brought it up at the dinner table last night.  I told my family about all the claims that are made in the trailer, like Beer has changed the course of human events multiple times, and that the root of civilization and agrarian settlement is because of beer.

To cut to the chase, they aren’t buying it.  My wife who has a college degree in Sociology said it is a spurious relationship that they are analyzing.  The classic example is Ice Cream and Rape.  As Ice Cream sales increase so do Rape reports.  So the spurious relationship is to say Ice Cream consumption causes Rape, when it is actually a third independent variable acting on both causal indicators, in this case heat or warm weather.  So she is saying that they probably are looking at the course of human affairs and then jamming beer into the mix to support their claims.

And some of the claims in the trailer are rather lofty.  It claims Beer is the cause of farming, medicine, the settling of America, the building of the pyramids, and ending child labor.  These are enormous claims that this show is somehow going to link back to beer as the root cause for these human advancements.  Really?

One thing is for sure, now my entire family wants to watch this show Sunday night to see how they are going to substantiate these claims, so the trailer did do its job.  We’ll be watching.  What do you think?  Do you think Beer really is at the root of many human advancements?  Not the Space program or Bell Labs, but Beer?  Let us know if you will be watching, and your thoughts on the trailer.


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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

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17 Comments on “Did BEER Really Change the World?”

  1. January 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I won’t be watching as I don’t have cable! (If I had cable, I probably still wouldn’t watch!) I’ve heard many of the same arguments, and I think there is a stronger relationship between beer and history than the ice-cream and rape analogy you provided.

    I don’t think beer is directly responsible for all that good stuff, but it probably helped. I also think that as we plod along, when people look back, they will see the awesome influence of beer on history leveling off as sanitary practices became better understood and more widely practiced.

    For example, I don’ think beer will get credit for landing on the moon or face transplants.

    • Don
      January 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      Beer is already responsible for Face transplants. Haven’t you ever heard of Beer Goggles?

      • January 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

        Beer is also responsible for many face plants.

  2. Randy W.
    January 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Don’t know about some of the claims, but the claim that beer is responsible for civilization is very believable. Early hunting and gathering societies were migratory and could only support small groups. Also water was dangerous at the time because of disintery and other water born diseases. Once man learned that fermented drinks were safe from infection and did not kill anyone in your tribe, this was the go to method to get water. From this people started to set up fields of grains to make beer in order to have something safe to drink. Hence forth people had to settle down to farm and civilization was born. So there is a direct link to beer and civilization I’d say. If you want to get simantical about it, one can say alcohol was the reason for civilization whether it is beer or wine or some other fermented drink.

    • Don
      January 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

      I could buy that wine had a pivotal role, because it is just easy to make. Mash up grapes, store the juice, drink. But Beer has quite a bit more to it in terms of process. One person said he thought Bread might be more causal for grain production. I’m inclined to believe that over beer, but I might be mistaken. It will be interesting to see their “proof” that they cite to make these claims.

  3. January 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Without bread, there would be no sandwiches.

    • Don
      January 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      And I would buy that Sandwiches were the most important invention leading to settlement! And Couch production.

  4. January 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Few things motivate folks better than a nice beer. Why do you think I bother home brewing – because there’s beer when I’m finished! I’m curious to see how they make the case in the show.

    And as far as ice cream and rape go, you’re wife’s “heat” explanation doesn’t really explain what you did to me with that popsicle when we were kids…

    …eww…I think I just managed to may MYSELF cringe with that one!

    • January 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      This place gets really weird sometimes!

    • Don
      January 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Yeah Jim…Good one. Scare away the regulars!

      • January 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

        They should know how you are by now, Don!

  5. scott
    January 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    It caused people to settle because when they drank beer they realized they couldn’t hunt for sh^t….

    • Don
      January 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

      So in this case invention is the mother of necessity…???

  6. stevo1
    January 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Ask Mr. Pasteur if beer changed the world or not? After all, he was studying beer and not milk…which led to germ theory. Ask him if he would like a beer too….from your ice cold refrigerator, who’s very invention was brought to you out of a necessity of the beer industry. The first refrigerators were developed so that breweries could brew lager year round and ship via refrigerated railcar.

    • Don
      January 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

      Good info I did not know. There might be something to this theory! 😉

  7. Gregg A Smith
    February 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    I really enjoyed the program and was in the process of trying to learn if it was going to be televised again or how to purchase a copy when I came across this post/website. I like beer and perhaps that caused me to want to embrace the claims made in the program! 🙂 I am now interested in rebuttal of those claims.

    • Don
      February 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

      Gregg, glad you found us, and glad you commented. Unfortunately, I stupidly forgot to watch, and I don’t have one of those fancy DVR things. So I will need to find it again. I’m assuming Discovery will show it about a million more times. Just need to find it.

      Also, feel free to look around and comment on anything. WE always try to reply in a timely manner and love to interact with folks. Welcome! Hope to see you again.

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