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Author Topic:   Human Social Evolution (in the face of civilization collapse)
dwise1
Member
Posts: 2194
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 16 of 41 (519573)
08-15-2009 12:24 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Evlreala
08-14-2009 8:59 PM


Parte Deux. Though again a bit out of sequence.

Unfortunatly, in the story you described, unless I misread, this fall of civilization was on a global scale where as this paradigm is on a relitive local scale.

I don't see why not, considering the local infrastructure may be gone, but the global infrastructure is still existing. It seems to me that it would be just a matter of time. The first few generations may forget much, but it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world presses its influance.

I agree, however, like I pointed out earlier, there is still an infrastructure on the global scale. Over a 1000 years is a long time for the rest of the world to not have any influance over the lost civilization.

OK, that changes a lot. We're down the tubes, but other parts of the world are still hunky-dory? OK, so what's keeping those other parts of the world from moving in and taking over us?

OK, let's revisit my particular poor understanding of the fall of Rome and the onset of the Dark Ages. The Empire had already split in two. Then the Western Empire collapses, but not in terms of loss of infrastructure. Rather, it had stopped functioning as an empire. Communication with the provinces fell apart, tribute stopped flowing in, support stopped flowing out. Those provinces continued to function as separate entities, but now they were indeed separate entities. As barbarian pressure on their borders increased, they could no longer hold it back (actually, the Germans really needed to move west because the Huns were tight on their backs) and were overrun. The Empire had stopped working and everybody (ie, every ruler) was on their own, which didn't work against what they were up against. After a few hundred years, a new system, feudalism, developed as a way to get several political entities to work together for their mutual support.

So what about the Eastern Empire? They kept a hands-off approach. Why? Was it because of the politics that had led to the split? Was it because of the barrier of the distances, logistics, and cost in resources had they attempted to take over the Western Empire? Was it because they had their own border problems to deal with? Whatever it was, they stayed away until a millenium later when they reached out to the West seeking help against Islamic invasion, which resulted in the Crusades. Which in turn, because we were suddenly exposed again to lost ancient, pagan knowledge that the Eastern Empire (AKA "Byzantium") had preserved, helped to spark the Renaissance.

Knowledge. Let's let that one ride for right now.

OK, now for your scenario. We collapse, but the rest of the world survives? OK, what is to keep them from rolling in and taking us over? Seriously. The only way we will be completely on our own is if the rest of the world that survived were to be kept the hell away from us. What would that be?

Let's follow a scenario where we collapse, after which another country or coalition moves in and takes over. Why? Because of our resources? Because of the remnants of our industrial power? They would have a selfish interest in reconstructing our devastated infrastructure, because they need that infrastructure to exploit whatever it is that they came wanting to exploit. Hence, our infrastructure would be restored in fairly short order; it's mainly just our political structure that would need a lot of work.

There has to be a really good reason for the surviving part of the world to leave us alone.

Oops! Nearly left yet another prose fragment at the end.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Evlreala, posted 08-14-2009 8:59 PM Evlreala has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by Evlreala, posted 08-16-2009 12:05 AM dwise1 has responded

    
Hyroglyphx
Member (Idle past 671 days)
Posts: 5140
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 17 of 41 (519628)
08-15-2009 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by DBlevins
08-12-2009 2:06 PM


The way I see it...
I would like to focus my first question on whether humans, in the aftermath of a large scale collapse of 'civilization' will be able to retain knowledge and skills necessary for their survival? (think: Europe after collapse of Rome or Easter Island, roughly 1000 years after for this scenario.)

ps. I would expect that some or a few humans would be able to adapt but that many of us would have a hard time figuring out how to make a bow or trap; light a fire without matches; make a 'home' comparable to those made by earlier indigenous populations; know how to cook using locally available food resources.

Interesting thesis you've got here.

I would say that so much is contingent upon what precipitated the collapse and to what degree of collapse were dealing with. Total electrical grid failure? If were talking radiological/biological attacks, there's really not a whole lot one can do generally before the radiological fallout catches up with them, especially near ground zero. You also have meteorological changes that could hypothetically present a global catastrophe. Lots of scenarios.

But supposing that the global economy simply failed, plunging the earth's population back in to the stone age, survival would be very, very difficult, especially for those in urban areas. There would be decaying corpses every where which promotes disease. The famine would be tragic because it's not like you can hunt or farm effectively in the middle of Times Square. The water supply would probably be more like a petri-dish which also promotes disease without access to potable water from clean, natural resources like lakes, rivers, and tributaries.

There would likely be rampant looting out of desperation and many other survivors would end up killing one another, though bands would probably stick together to maximize survival. That's the one thing people would have lots of... Modern weaponry.

In a very general sense humans would be a lot worse off than our ancestors who made a gradual transition in to technology. To be immediately thrown back several hundreds/thousands of years would be a very dangerous time to live in. That's a world I would avoid at all costs.

I have no doubt though that thousands would survive and repopulate successfully in different colonies around the world, essentially starting over. But millions and maybe billions would perish along the way where perhaps only 50,000-500,000-1.5 million would make it through. Again, this is all depending on why the civilization collapsed.

That's my take on it.


"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. " Thomas Paine
This message is a reply to:
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Evlreala
Member (Idle past 234 days)
Posts: 88
From: Portland, OR United States of America
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 18 of 41 (519666)
08-15-2009 11:44 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by dwise1
08-14-2009 11:41 PM


No problem at all, all I care about is content which you clearly provide.

dwise1 writes:

That was a remnant of the first pass at an earlier paragraph that I overlooked and failed to clean up. What it became was:

I'm glad, for a bit there, I was feeling truely baffled. I thought I had missed something entirely.

My misunderstandiong of your analogy stems from the equating using a computer with being necessarily 'brute force.' Your explaination clears that up for me.

Now, concerning your examples.. Contrary to them, most people in a modern civilization can perform basic math. I'm not saying they won't struggle, but necessity does tend to bring out ability in people. This is my opinion, so for the sake of the argument lets assume your examples hold true in our scenario.

Whats to stop the rest of the world from pressing their influence?

Let's not forget, this is in regards to the survival of knowledge and skills not the civilization itself. If all of Italy falls everywhere else in the world still retains their skills and knowledge regardless.

[qs]OK, I guess the wine is kicking in sooner than I thought it would. To summarize, my basic points were:

1. Before we did everything the way we do now, we did it some other way. If we lose our current technology, then in order to do the same things, we will need to revert back to that older way.[qs]

Why would we need to revery to the older way when the new way still exists? I'll agree that it might be necessary for the first bit, but it wouldn't be long before the rest of the world moves in or builds the civilization back up.

2. Problem is, nobody has been taught that older way. For the most part, nobody has even been taught that that older way even ever existed.

Isn't this a bit presumtuous of you? Many people know the "older ways" and that they existed. More importaintly, books containing these math tricks and "older ways" are in circulation. Not everybody is so heavily reliant on computers as you think.

3. Our current technology allows us to solve too many problems with the brute force of our machines. The ancients who did not have such machines had to do everything smarter, whereas with our machines we can do things very stupidly and still be able to do the job. When we lose our current technology, we will suddenly have to learn how to work a lot smarter.

Our current technology allows us to solve problems intelligently as well as through brute force. Sometimes (often, with the techniques we have invented) brute force is the intelligent metheod.

4. Problem is not only having to suddenly be a lot smarter, but also discovering the smart solutions to problems. It's not just a matter of being smarter, but also of knowing the techniques for doing all those things. The first time around, it took us generations to figure all that out and now we have lost it within a couple/few generations. How long will it take us to relearn all that?

Do you assume the rest of the world will sit idly by and just watch for generations? I think not.

Kind of just because I'm bordering on stream-of-consciousness mode now, but also because it touches on rediscovering lost technology. In a gaming magazine a couple decades ago, there was once a short story called "Half the Battle." It wasn't the best sci-fi short story by any stretch of the imagination (hey, look at where it was published!), but it has stuck with me. In a post-apocalpse future, generations of archaeologists were digging through the ruins of our current civilization searching for information about the technologies they had lost. Information about the steam engine which seemed unimaginable, but "knowing it can be done is half the battle". And then generations later they dig up plans for a Messerschmidt plane whose engine far outstripped the steam engine at an incredibly small fraction of the weight, but "knowing it can be done is half the battle". Then finally, a new discovery of incredibly advanced technology unlike anything else they had dug up. Very sketchy in the details, but "knowing it can be done is half the battle". It took them two hundred years with many false starts but they kept driving forward with the knowledge that "knowing it can be done is half the battle". The story ends with the first-person perspective belonging to the commanding officer of the product of that advanced technology as he gives the historic command: "Helm, ahead warp factor one!"

A "post-apocalpse future" is an entirely differant scenario, were talking about the fall of civilization. This story is irrellivent to the topis as it consists of an entirely unique paradigm to the one being discussed.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by dwise1, posted 08-14-2009 11:41 PM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by dwise1, posted 08-16-2009 5:07 AM Evlreala has responded

    
Evlreala
Member (Idle past 234 days)
Posts: 88
From: Portland, OR United States of America
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 19 of 41 (519669)
08-16-2009 12:05 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by dwise1
08-15-2009 12:24 AM


dwise1 writes:

OK, that changes a lot. We're down the tubes, but other parts of the world are still hunky-dory? OK, so what's keeping those other parts of the world from moving in and taking over us?

Nothing, which is kind of my point.

So what about the Eastern Empire? They kept a hands-off approach. Why? Was it because of the politics that had led to the split? Was it because of the barrier of the distances, logistics, and cost in resources had they attempted to take over the Western Empire? Was it because they had their own border problems to deal with? Whatever it was, they stayed away until a millenium later when they reached out to the West seeking help against Islamic invasion, which resulted in the Crusades. Which in turn, because we were suddenly exposed again to lost ancient, pagan knowledge that the Eastern Empire (AKA "Byzantium") had preserved, helped to spark the Renaissance.

Do you assume that modern politics work the same way as the politics of the past? Or how about the comparisant in communication technologies? Warfare? Transportation?

If you're not compairing how the Eastern Empire acted to how modern countries would act, then what was the relivence of this?

Knowledge. Let's let that one ride for right now.

Another time then..

OK, now for your scenario. We collapse, but the rest of the world survives? OK, what is to keep them from rolling in and taking us over? Seriously. The only way we will be completely on our own is if the rest of the world that survived were to be kept the hell away from us. What would that be?

Once again, nothing.. Thats the point. Being "completely on your own" is irrellevent. Its a non-variable.

Let's follow a scenario where we collapse, after which another country or coalition moves in and takes over. Why? Because of our resources? Because of the remnants of our industrial power? They would have a selfish interest in reconstructing our devastated infrastructure, because they need that infrastructure to exploit whatever it is that they came wanting to exploit. Hence, our infrastructure would be restored in fairly short order; it's mainly just our political structure that would need a lot of work.

The question pertained to the survival of knowledge and skills, not the rebuild of a political structure. This, too, is an irrillevent point.

There has to be a really good reason for the surviving part of the world to leave us alone.

I agree, but as I've said.. its an irrillevent point.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by dwise1, posted 08-15-2009 12:24 AM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by dwise1, posted 08-16-2009 3:25 AM Evlreala has responded

    
dwise1
Member
Posts: 2194
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 20 of 41 (519674)
08-16-2009 3:25 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Evlreala
08-16-2009 12:05 AM


Please reconsider the OP:
I am currently doing some research on humans and their environment and I thought I would pose a question or two (I'll see how it goes) to those on this board on their view on human adaptability in the face of civilization collapse. I would like to focus my first question on whether humans, in the aftermath of a large scale collapse of 'civilization' will be able to retain knowledge and skills necessary for their survival? (think: Europe after collapse of Rome or Easter Island, roughly 1000 years after for this scenario.)
ps. I would expect that some or a few humans would be able to adapt but that many of us would have a hard time figuring out how to make a bow or trap; light a fire without matches; make a 'home' comparable to those made by earlier indigenous populations; know how to cook using locally available food resources...

He was obviously positing a global collapse, not a localized one as you are. In a global collapse or in a localized collapse that is somehow rendered identical in effect to a global collapse, the issues we've been discussing are all relevent. However, in a localized collapse, all such discussion is rendered completely moot. In a localized collapse such as you posit, the question is not one of what can we retain, but rather how long will it take for us to recover. The only way in which a localized collapse could still be considered in this discussion would be if for some reason the affected region were to be kept isolated from the rest of the globe that was not affected.

The Western Empire was a case of a localized collapse that was rendered identical to a global collapse because the affected region remained isolated from the rest of the globe that was not affected. For about 1000 years after Rome had fallen, Constantinoble continued to function and to rule the Eastern Empire, Byzantium. Yet when Rome fell, Constantinoble did not come to its aid and so Rome's localized collapse effectively became a global collapse.

Now, we could come up with reasons for Constantinoble not having come to the aid of Rome, which might include political, logistical, economical reasons or any others. If the USA were to collapse suddenly, what would we expect to happen? Let's ignore our immediate neighbors for now, because they could have been affected as well. Would our friends and enemies in the rest of the world that had survived simply stand by and do nothing? You replied to this idea with:

Nothing, which is kind of my point.

OK, so what is there to discuss then? They would move in, take over, lead us to recovery, albeit along paths that would benefit them. Maybe different countries would squabble over us and might even have wars to settle who got what from us, but that still renders the original question of the OP moot.

DWise1 writes:

So what about the Eastern Empire? ...

Do you assume that modern politics work the same way as the politics of the past? Or how about the comparisant in communication technologies? Warfare? Transportation?

So have I answered that now? We could rationalize why Byzantium had not acted upon the collapse of Rome. If we were to run the same scenario with modern technology (ie, the technology of the rest of the globe that had survived the localized collapse that you posit), modern communications, modern transportation capabilities, modern logistic capabilities, etc, then the outcome would have been extremely different. When Rome collapsed, the sheer logistics of what it would have taken for Byzantium to have come to her aid could have served as explanation enough for her not having come to Rome's aid. If the USA were to collapse today, I cannot think of any reason for the surviving countries to not come rushing in, whether to her aid or to feed on her carrion.

DWise1 writes:

There has to be a really good reason for the surviving part of the world to leave us alone.

I agree, but as I've said.. its an irrillevent point.

Bolshoi! (refer to that classic scene in the movie "Z" (1969), which played identically in the original French and in the dubbed English -- in case you don't have the time nor access to now-obscure movies, it sounds a lot like "Bullshit!" and was used for that purpose, even in French (the first week it played in the US, it was in French subtitled in English and that is when I, a first-year French student, first saw it))

I submit that Byzantium's logistical reasons were compelling enough to have kept it from intervening in Rome's collapse. Those same logistical reasons would not by any stretch of the imagination prevent the rest of the globe from intervening in the collapse of the USA.

OK, Byzantium's obstaining from intervening in Rome's collapse rendered that localized collapse global (as far as the West was concerned). If the USA were to similarly collapse, there is nothing to prevent anybody else in the uneffected globe to intervene, not do you expect them to not intervene (indeed, you seem to explicitly expect them to intervene).

Therefore, all your scenarios are rendered moot.

Also, your scenarios have nothing to do with the OP, which posited a global collapse.

QED

PS

DWise1 writes:

... "Half the Battle." ... "Helm, ahead warp factor one!"

A "post-apocalpse future" is an entirely differant scenario, were talking about the fall of civilization. This story is irrellivent to the topis as it consists of an entirely unique paradigm to the one being discussed.

Uh, hello????? A "post-apocalpse future" is hardly dissimilar to "the fall of civilization." In the case of a global collapse, the two are identical. In the case of a localized collapse, as I have demonstrated the point is completely and utterly moot.

Also, I have watched Star Trek in its various incarnation ever since it first aired on 08 Sep 1966 (Man Trap). I also purchased Franz Joseph's "Tech Manual" (apparently the document dug up by the archaeologist in the story) in 1975. I am also a "Trekker", not a "Trekkie", since I do not have two sets of Vulcan ears in my desk drawer (not even a single set, FWIW). However, the irony of the story, that an imagined future technology could be taken seriously and allowed to be achieved, is just too beautiful to be ignored. Especially since it was buried in an obscure magazine that even I cannot find.

Please indulge me for one moment. Reread that synopsis.
Let your mind soak it in.

OK, if your mind has failed you, then please consider this.

It was known for a fact that it was impossible to exceed the speed of sound. Every time we tried, we hit a wall that destroyed the aircraft that had attempted to exceed the speed of sound. We knew that for a fact.

That is, until the Glorious Glennis piloted by Chuck Yeager proved us wrong!

We know for a fact that even the most basic technology of Star Trek is impossible. Just imagine for one moment a society that had been given a glimpse of that technology, but they had been told that it was not only possible, but had actually been achieved.

Armed with that knowledge, what could possibly hold them back?

Edited by dwise1, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Evlreala, posted 08-16-2009 12:05 AM Evlreala has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Evlreala, posted 08-18-2009 3:24 AM dwise1 has responded

    
dwise1
Member
Posts: 2194
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 21 of 41 (519677)
08-16-2009 5:07 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Evlreala
08-15-2009 11:44 PM


OK. My posts regarding the relevance of your particular scenario, which differs greatly from the scenario posited by the OP, have already been posted. To summarize, the scenarios that you posit are all moot.

OK. There's a lot of old knowledge out there. Knowledge that was absolutely necessary before our over-abundant technology. Knowledge that was mentioned to us by our teachers but which we never paid any attention to.

OK, here's a challenge. In 7th grade, my math teacher demonstrated to us a long-hand method to calculate the square-root of calculating any given number. Do not use any Internet resource.

That was in the mid-1960's. What are the chances of that still surviving? OK, back in 1999, I completed a US Navy math correspondence course that included calculating the square root of a number by that same method. I just now tried to find the same course on the Navy's on-line resources (I'm still an active -- OK, VTU -- reserve member). I couldn't find it.

From 1968 to 1976 (when I enlisted in the US Air Force subsequent to my marriage and started my computer career), I worked with my master carpenter father in his general contractor career. My father was born in 1914 and had started working for his master carpenter father at the age of 14, in around 1928. From 1928 to 1940 when he married, he worked as an apprentice with several family members, such as with his plumber Uncle Joe (whom I grew up knowing, since he lived in the city I was born in). My father lived through the times from totally manual labor to gasoline-enabled labor ("single-lung engines" as opposed to 4-cycle engines, which I've seen demonstrated in the Orange County Fair's exhibits) up through the electric tools that all construction workers know. To his credit, he tried to teach that history to me. In addition, he bequethed to me a 1930's correspondence course he had taken. An incredible amount of things had changed during that time. I am perhaps unique in realizing how much had changed in that interval of time.
Perhaps I am not as unique as I believe I am.

Nonetheless, an incredible number of things have changed in this century. It was a change from the manual way of doing things to the technilogical way of doing things.

So then, if we were to suddenly lose the way that we currently do things, we would still need to do those same things. So we will still need to reinvent how to do those same things even when we no longer can do them the same way as when we still had that technology we used to have.

We're still at the same place I was at. Nu?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Evlreala, posted 08-15-2009 11:44 PM Evlreala has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by Evlreala, posted 08-18-2009 1:46 PM dwise1 has responded

    
DBlevins
Member (Idle past 276 days)
Posts: 652
From: Puyallup, WA.
Joined: 02-04-2003


Message 22 of 41 (519839)
08-17-2009 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Evlreala
08-13-2009 1:33 AM


A candle in the dark?
I hope you'll forgive my late responses, and not mistake this for a lack of interest in my own subject but only due to a hectic schedule.

As far as your replies to my question, I would like to clear up any misconceptions about what it is I am asking. I am positing the collapse as one that is Global, for whatever reason, though I can think of a few that are more likely than not (you could call me a closet pessimist). I should have given a better example for such a collapse instead of using the fall of Rome as one. It's true that Asia did not have such a decline and the Middle East, with it's repository of knowledge, was an integral part of the recovery of Europe from its darker period.

As far as matches go, I don't believe I made any reference to the collapse of what we know about quantum physics or even chemical reactions . The ability to make matches is another story. While, a chemist might be able to reproduce the mixture of stable chemicals that are used to make today’s matches, it would be another thing for him to set up the factory to produce those matches on a large scale and from the ground up. The complexities involved in the running of our present society are enormous, and these complexities, in my opinion, make it even harder for us to overcome a collapse of civilization.

The questions that I am considering are: How many people know how to grow their own food? Do they even know what grows in their region? What soils are required or watering requirements for the food they do wish to grow? If we lose the ability to produce the things necessary for the production of ammunition, which I am assuming would happen in the face of a global collapse, who knows how to make those things (bows and arrows, traps, fishing gear, even spears) we would need to use for hunting our food? How much knowledge do you think we could retain or rediscover? If we had to use stone tools again, how long would it take before we achieved the technical knapping ability of the Clovis people? How many people know how to make bronze or even copper tools? I would hazard a guess that not many people if any, even know what temperatures a fire must be to smelt those materials necessary for the tools. How many people today can make a clay pot that won’t fall apart the first time it is used? Do they know what material goes into making such a ‘primitive’ object?

The passing down of knowledge, as far as I know, is not an easy prospect. It takes time, and willing participants. While an engineer might understand how to produce a piece of machinery, he would have a hard time actually producing the ‘metals’ base on which he would ‘carve’ out the pieces of his machinery. A machinist might be able to make a gear using the tools we have now, but if he lacked those tools, could he recreate them? Does he have the requisite knowledge of materials to be able to even make the base material for that gear? How many people does he know that have that kind of expertise, who are living in his immediate vicinity.

There are examples of societies, which, after some form of long term/large scale disaster, ‘forget’ how to create those objects which their forerunners made. The people of Easter Island, who’s ancestors were a great seafaring people who also built those towering Moa, were living a wretched existence, subsisting on chickens and rats and living in caves, when the island was ‘rediscovered’ by Europeans. Then you have the Moche, Maya, Hohocam, Babylon, Anasazi, all great societies that built amazing things, but whose descendants lost a great portion of that knowledge they had likely taken for granted.

Again I apologize for the late reply and I hope you can give me some more input into your idea of how we, as a society, would cope with such a disaster.

As a side note, I picked 1000 years after a collapse, because it would have given time for most of our everyday objects (excepting plastics) and buildings to have ‘gone back to the earth,’ so to speak.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Evlreala, posted 08-13-2009 1:33 AM Evlreala has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by Coyote, posted 08-17-2009 8:22 PM DBlevins has responded
 Message 28 by Perdition, posted 08-18-2009 11:30 AM DBlevins has not yet responded
 Message 34 by Evlreala, posted 08-18-2009 10:15 PM DBlevins has responded

  
DBlevins
Member (Idle past 276 days)
Posts: 652
From: Puyallup, WA.
Joined: 02-04-2003


Message 23 of 41 (519847)
08-17-2009 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Stile
08-13-2009 3:50 PM


Re: How destructive is "collapse?"
Thank you for your reply. After reading your replies, it seems to me you have grasped pretty clearly what direction my question was pointed toward. You’re right that I am positing a ‘global’ collapse and I am asking the question of how society would fare in such a scenario.

As far as infrastructure goes, I am not so sure about the survivability of such a complex and intricate one as we have today. You might be interested in Alan Weisman’s book “The World Without us” for a fascinating and revealing look at how much energy and time is required to keep our world up and running smoothly. While I am definitely not suggesting humans would all disappear, I do believe that the complexities of our age would exacerbate any global collapse. As you suggested, if people are more inclined to be concerned with their survival, it would be difficult in the extreme to keep up the running of those institutions and infrastructures in which we so thoroughly depend upon.

I am a little more pessimistic about how much knowledge we would be able to pass on to the future generations if such a scenario would develop. I would like to think that there may be enclaves of knowledge, ie the monks of Europe’s middle ages, but even those enclaves would be hard pressed to survive, especially considering our vast population. There are few areas untouched and livable these days. In a scramble for survival, how many people would have the foresight to create these refugia’s?

Other books which I might point you and others reading these posts would be (if you haven’t read them already): ‘Collapse’ by Jared Diamond, ‘Flood, Famines, and Emporers’ by Brian Fagan, and a somewhat more technical book, ‘Human Impact on Ancient Environments’, by Charles Redman. I think they all give a good idea of the complexities of our societies, the thin thread of a stable environment upon which groups rely for their continuation, and the scale of societal disasters that societies have had with natural and human induced disruptions to our environment.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Stile, posted 08-13-2009 3:50 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

  
Coyote
Member
Posts: 4831
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 24 of 41 (519850)
08-17-2009 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by DBlevins
08-17-2009 6:34 PM


Re: A candle in the dark?
...who knows how to make those things (bows and arrows, traps, fishing gear, even spears) we would need to use for hunting our food?

Come the collapse, just ask your friendly neighborhood archaeologist about these things. I'm sure he'll sell you some at a fair price!

And tools for making fire as well. (Those might be a little more expensive--what really good stuff do you have to trade?)


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by DBlevins, posted 08-17-2009 6:34 PM DBlevins has responded

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 Message 25 by DBlevins, posted 08-17-2009 11:10 PM Coyote has responded

  
DBlevins
Member (Idle past 276 days)
Posts: 652
From: Puyallup, WA.
Joined: 02-04-2003


Message 25 of 41 (519866)
08-17-2009 11:10 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Coyote
08-17-2009 8:22 PM


Re: A candle in the dark?
I have some great books on northwest indian fishing/hunting techniques and how they made their tools as well as detailed basket weaving and wood carving (making cedar boxes) techniques used. I'm currently on the hunt for a book on native flora use for the northwest. Nothing to trade, but I'm sure if TSHTF and I survive, I'll have items to barter.

If the friendly neighborhood archaeologist could teach me how to make those items I would need, I would be his best friend.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Coyote, posted 08-17-2009 8:22 PM Coyote has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Coyote, posted 08-18-2009 12:09 AM DBlevins has responded

  
Coyote
Member
Posts: 4831
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 26 of 41 (519871)
08-18-2009 12:09 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by DBlevins
08-17-2009 11:10 PM


Re: A candle in the dark?
If the friendly neighborhood archaeologist could teach me how to make those items I would need, I would be his best friend.

If the friendly neighborhood archaeologist knew all of these things, and you did not, you would be his slave!

Knowledge is power!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by DBlevins, posted 08-17-2009 11:10 PM DBlevins has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by DBlevins, posted 08-18-2009 2:12 PM Coyote has not yet responded

  
Evlreala
Member (Idle past 234 days)
Posts: 88
From: Portland, OR United States of America
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 27 of 41 (519883)
08-18-2009 3:24 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by dwise1
08-16-2009 3:25 AM


dwise1 writes:

He was obviously positing a global collapse, not a localized one as you are.

"Obvious" implies that the scenario was clearly defined, which it was not. Using the example given by the OP, I presented a logicly sound reasoning as to how I interpreted the meaning whie admiting I could be wrong and asking for a clarification if one believed it were so.

Evlreala writes:

Ex. ..It is safe to assume that the 3rd definition of civilization is applicable, considering Europe is only one specific place in the world. (correct me if my understanding is wrong.)


Show me where my reasoning was flawed.

dwise writes:

The only way in which a localized collapse could still be considered in this discussion would be if for some reason the affected region were to be kept isolated from the rest of the globe that was not affected.

I would like to hear your reasoning for this as well, considering we havent discovered or discussed what caused the fall of the civilization in the first place. Consider how long it takes a small community to recover after a natural disaster, now add to the effect how long it would have taken them without an outside source to help them such as their government. Local or global, the questions are still applicable until a new variable is introduced.

The Western Empire was a case of a localized collapse that was rendered identical to a global collapse because the affected region remained isolated from the rest of the globe that was not affected. For about 1000 years after Rome had fallen, Constantinoble continued to function and to rule the Eastern Empire, Byzantium. Yet when Rome fell, Constantinoble did not come to its aid and so Rome's localized collapse effectively became a global collapse.

I'm afraid you are only partially correct. Rome fell, true, but groups did flee Rome taking their customs, knowledge, skills, and insight with them. Explain how this constitutes isolation.

OK, so what is there to discuss then? They would move in, take over, lead us to recovery, albeit along paths that would benefit them. Maybe different countries would squabble over us and might even have wars to settle who got what from us, but that still renders the original question of the OP moot.

I fail to see how restating my own argument back to me is helpful. Did you misunderstand what I meant by "global influance?" I was trying to be as direct as I could while still being honest(considering I don't know how other countries would react with an unknown fall of civilization.)

So have I answered that now? We could rationalize why Byzantium had not acted upon the collapse of Rome. If we were to run the same scenario with modern technology (ie, the technology of the rest of the globe that had survived the localized collapse that you posit), modern communications, modern transportation capabilities, modern logistic capabilities, etc, then the outcome would have been extremely different. When Rome collapsed, the sheer logistics of what it would have taken for Byzantium to have come to her aid could have served as explanation enough for her not having come to Rome's aid. If the USA were to collapse today, I cannot think of any reason for the surviving countries to not come rushing in, whether to her aid or to feed on her carrion.

That is, once again, kind of my point..

I submit that Byzantium's logistical reasons were compelling enough to have kept it from intervening in Rome's collapse. Those same logistical reasons would not by any stretch of the imagination prevent the rest of the globe from intervening in the collapse of the USA.

Granted, however, we arn't talking about a paradigm of ancient Rome, but of modern Rome(or as you've suggested, the USA).

OK, Byzantium's obstaining from intervening in Rome's collapse rendered that localized collapse global (as far as the West was concerned). If the USA were to similarly collapse, there is nothing to prevent anybody else in the uneffected globe to intervene, not do you expect them to not intervene (indeed, you seem to explicitly expect them to intervene).

And restating my argument accomplishes..?

Therefore, all your scenarios are rendered moot.

Also, your scenarios have nothing to do with the OP, which posited a global collapse.

Stating "therefore" doesn't make your argument sequential.

You assert a global colapse.. Okay, I'm open to the possibility that I am wrong, however, the example demonstrates a local colapse. Pointing out my position to me over and over accomplishes nothing more then making your content look redundant. If I am wrong, then so be it, but where is the flaw to my logic?

Uh, hello????? A "post-apocalpse future" is hardly dissimilar to "the fall of civilization." In the case of a global collapse, the two are identical. In the case of a localized collapse, as I have demonstrated the point is completely and utterly moot.

Actually.. No..

Or should I start this off with a juvinial attempt to talk down to you with using a common phrase found in pop culture and signify its exaggeration with the use of several question marks.. No, I think I will step away from acting like I'm 12.

Even in the face of global collapse, the two are not identical. Post-apocoliptic refers to a specific kind of fall of civilization. Take for example if every world government were to suddenly fail. This is a type of a fall of civilization, yet it is not apocoliptic by any definition.

Also, I have watched Star Trek in its various incarnation ever since it first aired on 08 Sep 1966 (Man Trap). I also purchased Franz Joseph's "Tech Manual" (apparently the document dug up by the archaeologist in the story) in 1975. I am also a "Trekker", not a "Trekkie", since I do not have two sets of Vulcan ears in my desk drawer (not even a single set, FWIW). However, the irony of the story, that an imagined future technology could be taken seriously and allowed to be achieved, is just too beautiful to be ignored. Especially since it was buried in an obscure magazine that even I cannot find.

This is going to be good.. I'll explain that in a moment, but first, I notice you like to bring up a lot of non-sequential facts to illustrate a point. For example, the referance to not being a "trekkie" due to your lack vulcan ears. I'm wondering why you think this is relivent?

Moving on..

It was known for a fact that it was impossible to exceed the speed of sound. Every time we tried, we hit a wall that destroyed the aircraft that had attempted to exceed the speed of sound. We knew that for a fact.

I'm sorry, but your understanding of the scientific mindset is truely ignorant if you believe this to be true. This is not meant to be insulting, just an observation, let me explain..

First of all, you made a statement with an assumption.
-that is was known for a fact that it was impossible to break the sound barrier

This is incorrect, durring this time period, we knew it was possible to go faster then the speed of sound because we had observed it in nature. Some species of birds are capible of breaking the sound barrier when in a steap enough decline in optimal conditions.

Secondly, in science, it is never "impossible" to do anything, only degrees of improbible. For example, it is considered possible that the computer you are using to have spontainiously disassembled itself on the atomic level everytime you leave the room and reassemble before you return, but is it probible?

Thirdly, we knew why the plains were destroyed everytime they attempted to exceed the sound barrier, we just didn't know how to work past this point yet.

That is, until the Glorious Glennis piloted by Chuck Yeager proved us wrong!

Glennis proved only the ignorant wrong, this feat had already been observed in nature.

We know for a fact that even the most basic technology of Star Trek is impossible. Just imagine for one moment a society that had been given a glimpse of that technology, but they had been told that it was not only possible, but had actually been achieved.

Once again, you are incorrect. Though we are not at the level of technology that the show hinted at, we have made a great deal of progress in devoloping these technologies.
-We've been able to teleport photons and other small particles over long distances
-3d holographic simulations, manipulated by the user in the enviroment and experienced tactile sensations via use of directed soundwaves. (holodeck)
-Models have been produced for matter restructuring technology as well math models for as faster then light travel.
-Quantium computers are right around the corner, in fact a few companies have made claims that they have already produced working prototypes.

I'll admit that your knowledge of early American science fiction is impressive, but your understanding of what is out there today is not.

Armed with that knowledge, what could possibly hold them back?

Religion.. (off topic, I know, but it had to be said. See: The Dark Ages)

Now, my question to you.. How is this rellivent?

(sorry for the delay, internet time where I am is scarce at best and I have to copy/paste your posts when I get the chance and reply when I'm next on.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by dwise1, posted 08-16-2009 3:25 AM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by dwise1, posted 08-18-2009 3:04 PM Evlreala has responded

    
Perdition
Member (Idle past 372 days)
Posts: 1592
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 28 of 41 (519911)
08-18-2009 11:30 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by DBlevins
08-17-2009 6:34 PM


Re: A candle in the dark?
If we had a global collapse, as you postulate, there would be a period of riots and hoarding, followed by foraging and scavenging the last remaining, working pieces of technology or safety. There would be many, many deaths, either from violence or through inability to survive, but there are more than enough people on the planet who can (and do) survive with little to no technological help, and would be able to pass on their genes and teach their children what they need to know.

Eventually, a new society would form, and depending on how severe the original collapse was, how long the recovery took, and where the recovery took place, the "new" society could either be pretty similar to what we have now, or it could be entirely different. As a species, we are very adaptable, very intelligent, and very good at solving complex problems.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by DBlevins, posted 08-17-2009 6:34 PM DBlevins has not yet responded

    
Evlreala
Member (Idle past 234 days)
Posts: 88
From: Portland, OR United States of America
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 29 of 41 (519932)
08-18-2009 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by dwise1
08-16-2009 5:07 AM


dwise writes:

OK. My posts regarding the relevance of your particular scenario, which differs greatly from the scenario posited by the OP, have already been posted. To summarize, the scenarios that you posit are all moot.

So you have asserted, and it may be the case.. You still have not explained the flaw to my logic. To summarize, your arguments are made on an assumption, right or wrong your argument is weak.

OK. There's a lot of old knowledge out there. Knowledge that was absolutely necessary before our over-abundant technology. Knowledge that was mentioned to us by our teachers but which we never paid any attention to.

You assume once again. Weak argument.

OK, here's a challenge. In 7th grade, my math teacher demonstrated to us a long-hand method to calculate the square-root of calculating any given number. Do not use any Internet resource.

You're challenging me to math? Are you serious? First of all, I didn't have your math teacher, so how am I supposed to know what metheod they taught you? You want to know how I was taught? First, its irrellivent to the topic, second it would take more effort then I'm willing to give you, and third, theres no way for me to prove that I didnt "use an internet resource" and to be honest, you don't come accross as the type of person to trust my word sence you've clearly already made up your mind about it.

Perhaps I am not as unique as I believe I am.

I believe this sums it up pretty nice..


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by dwise1, posted 08-16-2009 5:07 AM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by dwise1, posted 08-18-2009 2:35 PM Evlreala has responded

    
DBlevins
Member (Idle past 276 days)
Posts: 652
From: Puyallup, WA.
Joined: 02-04-2003


Message 30 of 41 (519933)
08-18-2009 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Evlreala
08-14-2009 1:50 PM


Re: How destructive is "collapse?"
quote:
I'm more asking for a clarification on these statements then anything else.

This is what I believe Stile was basically expressing:

The collapse of civilization would cause there to be some amount of looting and riots, which would likely enhance the degree of collapse. Those that survive, would have a tough time passing on their knowledge to future generations if they were unable to find some refuge, mainly because they would be most concerned with being able to find shelter and food to live another day. Such a monumental collapse, as presented, would likely result in future generations (1000 years later) losing much of the knowledge of their forefathers.

I am not positive, but I think that would be the gist of what Stile is presenting.

As far as my original topic is concerned:

quote:
Without knowing how the civilization fell in the first place, how can the question be addressed beyond this point?

If your question is whether the collapse is catabolic or drasticly quick, it is open to your interpretation. I only wonder, and may question, what likely outcome you would perceive there to be. As far as whether it is by a large scale extinction level mechanism, does it matter? Whether it is an asteroidal impact or the eruption of a super volcano, both, I think, would have deleterious effects on our ability to survive.

PS. To clarify any misconceptions about what I mean by 'civilization collapse'. I am positing a Global collapse (feel free to tell me whether it will be slow or fast) and asking what the human 'condition' will look like, 1000 years after.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Evlreala, posted 08-14-2009 1:50 PM Evlreala has acknowledged this reply

  
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