1. Donationrwingett
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    21 Sep '11 18:57
    http://anthropology.lbcc.edu/handoutsdocs/mistake.pdf

    This is a five page article by Jared Diamond, author of books such as Guns, Germs, and Steel, and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, which some of you may be familiar with. In it he puts forward the theory that agriculture was the worst mistake in the history of the human race. I have echoed the same sentiment at different times on this forum, but it may be more persuasive to hear it from someone a little more conversant with the facts than I. Anyway, I recommend it.
  2. Standard memberavalanchethecat
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    21 Sep '11 19:06
    Originally posted by rwingett
    http://anthropology.lbcc.edu/handoutsdocs/mistake.pdf

    This is a five page article by Jared Diamond, author of books such as [b]Guns, Germs, and Steel
    , and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, which some of you may be familiar with. In it he puts forward the theory that agriculture was the worst mistake in the history of th ...[text shortened]... to hear it from someone a little more conversant with the facts than I. Anyway, I recommend it.[/b]
    As a prehistorian, I consider this to be a 'no-brainer'. It puts me in mind of the famous story of the Native American Chief Two Eagles:

    Indian Chief 'Two Eagles' was asked by a white government official, 'You have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done.'

    The Chief nodded in agreement.

    The official continued, 'Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?'

    The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied. 'When white man find this land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work, Medicine man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex.'

    Then the chief leaned back and smiled.

    'Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that.'
  3. Account suspended
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    21 Sep '11 19:252 edits
    Originally posted by avalanchethecat
    As a prehistorian, I consider this to be a 'no-brainer'. It puts me in mind of the famous story of the Native American Chief Two Eagles:

    Indian Chief 'Two Eagles' was asked by a white government official, 'You have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he' led.

    'Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that.'
    brilliant, just brilliant, thoroughly cheered me up that did, many thanks 😀
  4. Joined
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    21 Sep '11 19:37
    Originally posted by rwingett
    http://anthropology.lbcc.edu/handoutsdocs/mistake.pdf

    This is a five page article by Jared Diamond, author of books such as [b]Guns, Germs, and Steel
    , and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, which some of you may be familiar with. In it he puts forward the theory that agriculture was the worst mistake in the history of th ...[text shortened]... to hear it from someone a little more conversant with the facts than I. Anyway, I recommend it.[/b]
    Excellent, so we can live as a hunter gatherer society until the big volcanic eruption, plague, climate shift,
    or asteroid impact wipes us out.

    Meanwhile we live short, hard lives, with no modern medicine, hygiene, dental care, or deodorant.

    No opera, theatre, cinema, books, maths, science, astronomy, great music, or collective exteligence of any
    kind.

    Consider me Utterly unpersuaded.
  5. Donationrwingett
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    21 Sep '11 19:56
    Originally posted by avalanchethecat
    As a prehistorian, I consider this to be a 'no-brainer'. It puts me in mind of the famous story of the Native American Chief Two Eagles:

    Indian Chief 'Two Eagles' was asked by a white government official, 'You have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he' ...[text shortened]... led.

    'Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that.'
    Sounds apocryphal. But still amusing.
  6. Donationrwingett
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    21 Sep '11 20:06
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Excellent, so we can live as a hunter gatherer society until the big volcanic eruption, plague, climate shift,
    or asteroid impact wipes us out.

    Meanwhile we live short, hard lives, with no modern medicine, hygiene, dental care, or deodorant.

    No opera, theatre, cinema, books, maths, science, astronomy, great music, or collective exteligence of any
    kind.

    Consider me Utterly unpersuaded.
    You'll be like Charleton Heston in The Omega Man, holed up in your impenetrable bunker, listening to classical music as the glorious world you created collapses in upon itself around you.
  7. Cape Town
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    21 Sep '11 20:49
    Originally posted by rwingett
    In it he puts forward the theory that agriculture was the worst mistake in the history of the human race. I have echoed the same sentiment at different times on this forum, but it may be more persuasive to hear it from someone a little more conversant with the facts than I.
    What I might find persuasive is if you corrected the mistake by giving up agriculture. Until you do so, you are a hypocrite.
  8. Donationrwingett
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    21 Sep '11 21:18
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    What I might find persuasive is if you corrected the mistake by giving up agriculture. Until you do so, you are a hypocrite.
    A hypocrite? Please! My dear twhitehead, it is no longer possible for mankind to give up agriculture. For better or for worse, we are stuck with the 'fruits' of the worst mistake in the history of the human race. We have been expelled from Eden and can never, ever re-enter it. We can't unlearn what we gained from the tree of knowledge. But we can try to re-connect, in some small way, to our primordial past and temper the damage that has been wrought before its too late. Therein lies our only hope for salvation.
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    21 Sep '11 21:371 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    You'll be like Charleton Heston in [b]The Omega Man, holed up in your impenetrable bunker, listening to classical music as the glorious world you created collapses in upon itself around you.[/b]
    If humanity did not develop agriculture, and every other advance that comes from living in civilisation
    and not in tiny tribes, we would/will not develop the technology to leave this tiny death trap of a rock
    we live on, and would at some, not to distant point, go extinct.

    As the point of all life from an evolutionary standpoint is to survive and pass on your genes to the next
    generation, this would be a failure.
    Also as the only other point of life I can see is to enjoy it, I like that I live in a society where every waking
    moment isn't taken up with the hard struggle of staying alive.
    Where I don't have to worry about freezing to death over night.
    Where I don't have permanent tooth ache because toothpaste and dental floss haven't been invented.
    Where I have a life expectancy of 80 (and improving) not 40.
    Where 50% of people die before reaching adulthood, and many mothers die in childbirth.

    People who think civilisation is bad have a ridiculously over romanticised view of what life looks like without it.
    Sure, we have man made problems we can and should be fixing.
    But life is so vastly better in the modern world than in the hunter gatherer days of yore, that I think people
    who bemoan the advent of civilisation are ridiculous.

    Also as you point out, the decision is irreversible, and we should move forward from here, which requires more
    technology and more civilisation.

    The city [designed well] is the most environmentally friendly way for people to live.

    EDIT: And no I wont be like Charleton Heston in The Omega Man...

    I didn't create the world as it is, and I don't support (in fact actively oppose) the things that are wrong with it.
    People get caught up on the things that are wrong while completely missing the vast number of things that are
    right.
    The purpose of life is to enjoy it, and civilisation makes that a lot more possible than it was before.
    This doesn't mean of course that everyone does enjoy life to the fullest...
    Often times (though not always by any stretch) it's because they view life as the waiting room to the eternal
    afterlife their fictional god has promised them.
  10. Donationrwingett
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    21 Sep '11 22:02
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    If humanity did not develop agriculture, and every other advance that comes from living in civilisation
    and not in tiny tribes, we would/will not develop the technology to leave this tiny death trap of a rock
    we live on, and would at some, not to distant point, go extinct.

    As the point of all life from an evolutionary standpoint is to survive and ...[text shortened]... ife as the waiting room to the eternal
    afterlife their fictional god has promised them.
    The point is that none of your glorious technologies is going to save you from destroying yourself with that very same technology. You think that you can use an even greater level of technology to cure the abuses of previous technologies, but you can't. It all leads to the same end. You don't get to pick and choose. You don't get to separate the wonders of dentistry from the disaster of global warming. They are all part of the same package. When you've destroyed the planet, and countless other species with it, are you really going to point to dentistry and claim it was all worth while?

    As for enjoying your life...there is considerable evidence to support the claim that hunter-gatherer societies enjoy more leisure time do contemporary industrial societies. Their needs are few and easily met, whereas the perceived needs of contemporary society are endless and met with only great difficulty. All your wondrous labor saving devices don't actually save you any labor. They serve the sole purpose of alienating you from your labor and turning you into the slaves of your technology. There is so much crime and hostility in the world because mankind lives in a pathological state, alienated from his natural surrounding, performing dehumanizing tasks that no sane individual would ever voluntarily submit to. It was all a Faustian bargain right from the beginning and humanity paid far too high a price.
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    21 Sep '11 22:08
    Originally posted by rwingett
    The point is that none of your glorious technologies is going to save you from destroying yourself with that very same technology. You think that you can use an even greater level of technology to cure the abuses of previous technologies, but you can't. It all leads to the same end. You don't get to pick and choose. You don't get to separate the wonders of ...[text shortened]... was all a Faustian bargain right from the beginning and humanity paid far too high a price.
    horse hockey.

    I disagree with everything you said.

    And I do mean everything.

    Yep, re-read it, still can't find ANYTHING I agree with.

    You are making unfounded statements, that I believe are unjustified, and wrong.

    Proof please.
  12. Donationrwingett
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    21 Sep '11 22:27
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    horse hockey.

    I disagree with everything you said.

    And I do mean everything.

    Yep, re-read it, still can't find ANYTHING I agree with.

    You are making unfounded statements, that I believe are unjustified, and wrong.

    Proof please.
    Well, guess I won't renew my subscription to Mother Earth News then. The planet probably won't make it that long.
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    21 Sep '11 22:32
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Well, guess I won't renew my subscription to Mother Earth News then. The planet probably won't make it that long.
    The planet is pretty tough, it's survived an object the size of Mars hitting it no sweat.
    I think it's going to survive us.
  14. Donationrwingett
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    21 Sep '11 22:35
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    The planet is pretty tough, it's survived an object the size of Mars hitting it no sweat.
    I think it's going to survive us.
    ...as a barren and uninhabitable rock hurtling through space.
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    21 Sep '11 22:50
    Originally posted by rwingett
    ...as a barren and uninhabitable rock hurtling through space.
    ahh, so you meant the biosphere... well say so.


    I don't think so.
    I think it entirely possible we will massively change [and from most reasonable
    perspectives adversely so] the biosphere.
    It is very unlikely we will destroy it.

    I support action to prevent this, and alleviate the problem.
    But it requires high technology, it's just not possible without it.

    And you can pick and choose.
    We get to decide as a society what technology we do and do not use and how.
    There are ways of generating power without emitting green house gasses for example.
    There exists the technology to live sustainably.
    But you want to see the fastest way to screw the environment you evidently care so
    much about...
    We all go troglodyte and stop using technology, try to live in little communities in the
    countryside and all farm for our food.
    There are just too many of us for this to be even considered as an option.
    By about an order of magnitude.

    We would need at least [bare minimum] 1 earth size biosphere per billion people.
    We don't have that many.

    We can build enough habitat area in space for a trillion+ people, given the will and technology.

    But you need a space program to do it.

    My problem is that you want humanity to almost not exist, that we should just hide away in
    a little corner of the planet and try not to disturb it too much before we go extinct.

    I care about the environment, but I care about people more.

    And for humanity to survive we have to go into space, which means high technology,
    which means civilisation.
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