View Poll Results: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

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  • Hunting and gathering

    19 48.72%
  • Agriculture

    20 51.28%
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Thread: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

  1. #21
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manc Skipper View Post
    The Viking expansions were entirely due to the pressure of lack of farmland for junior sons.
    yeah, except, given how much fun can be had pillaging, raping, and burning ones' way across middle ages europe, i've always looked with a skewed eye on the "well we had to do it" excuses.

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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellie_r View Post
    I recently read an article that i found quite fascinating as well as debatable. The article is titled The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race and is written by Jared Diamond. You can read the full article here The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race but in a nutshell Diamond is arguing that agriculture spurned a series of shifts in human society that negatively affected our health, happiness, and harmony.

    I'm torn by anti-agriculturalism. On the one hand, the evidence is pretty clear that the products of agriculture-- refined grains, vegetable oils, and processed foods-- are the main causes of heart disease, diabetes, and the other "diseases of civilization." In addition, the surpluses of food created by agriculture enabled the creation of social hierarchy, empire, slavery, and the other products of economic power.

    On the other hand, without those agricultural surpluses, we would have no significant trade, no means to exploit comparative advantage, no real opportunity for economic development. Earth would be populated by tiny groups of hunter-gatherers, without tall cities, laboratories, libraries, airplanes or space shuttles. Our consciousness would be of families and local communities, without a sense of being part of a greater race or planet.

    In conclusion i ask you, which world would be better? Hunting and gathering or the agricultural route, and why do you pick one over the other?
    Not sure if this has been talked about or not, but the problems you are talking about are less about agriculture itself and more about agribusiness and food processing.

    Agribusiness is about applying large-scale benefits to agricultural operations. By using technilogical innovations and economies of scale, agribusiness operations can create and maintain profits.

    Part of this is via processed foods. Foods are processed so food manufacturers can have better chance to profit. Primarily, this is by using various preservatives so foods have a longer shelf life. Also, it involves using high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener rather than sugar. The reason why HFCS is preferred is because it is much easier for transport than sugar is.

    So no - I don't think agiculture is the worst mistake in the history of mankind. That's just silly as ****. And even more stupid.

    Rather, what we need to do is decide which agricultural advances are worthwhile to continue.

    I work in agriculture, and there are some GREAT innovations happening.

    One is soilless farming in which crops are grown indoors. Rather than dump fertilizers in the soil in a broadcast way, fertilizers are spritz on the roots controlled by a computer. This is a much more efficient way of fertilizer use than what is currently done.

    And what I'd be excited for is greater use of urban agriculture. I would like to see cities develop ways to grow their own produce. One suggestion is rooftop gardening. I would really like to see that further develop.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manc Skipper View Post
    The Viking expansions were entirely due to the pressure of lack of farmland for junior sons.
    I'm not really sure what you're talking about. The Vikings were sustained primarily through fishing and livestock. Agriculture is kind of hard to cultivate when you live in a frigid climate:

    Viking Food: 800 - 1100 AD

  4. #24
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellie_r View Post
    I recently read an article that i found quite fascinating as well as debatable. The article is titled The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race and is written by Jared Diamond. You can read the full article here The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race but in a nutshell Diamond is arguing that agriculture spurned a series of shifts in human society that negatively affected our health, happiness, and harmony.

    I'm torn by anti-agriculturalism. On the one hand, the evidence is pretty clear that the products of agriculture-- refined grains, vegetable oils, and processed foods-- are the main causes of heart disease, diabetes, and the other "diseases of civilization." In addition, the surpluses of food created by agriculture enabled the creation of social hierarchy, empire, slavery, and the other products of economic power.

    On the other hand, without those agricultural surpluses, we would have no significant trade, no means to exploit comparative advantage, no real opportunity for economic development. Earth would be populated by tiny groups of hunter-gatherers, without tall cities, laboratories, libraries, airplanes or space shuttles. Our consciousness would be of families and local communities, without a sense of being part of a greater race or planet.

    In conclusion i ask you, which world would be better? Hunting and gathering or the agricultural route, and why do you pick one over the other?
    Amazing that someone can be educated but so stupid at the same time.We would not be where we are today without those two things.Hunter gathers used tools to hunt and gather food with and many of them most likely used some of that same tool making ability for agriculture. Which in the long run allowed civilizations to be created. The idea that anyone of those things is a mistake is absolutely ludicrous.
    Last edited by jamesrage; 07-07-12 at 11:10 AM.
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Trying to imagine the world's seven billion people surviving as hunter gatherers.. nope. Can't do it.

    Moreover, the pre agricultural people tended to have rather short and difficult lives, even when there were only a few thousand humans to compete for the limited food supply.

    The biggest mistake is thinking that the past was better than the present.
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daktoria View Post
    I'm not really sure what you're talking about. The Vikings were sustained primarily through fishing and livestock. Agriculture is kind of hard to cultivate when you live in a frigid climate:

    Viking Food: 800 - 1100 AD
    If you have livestock, you need a place to keep it, and to grow something to feed it. That's why the limited amount of land available drove the expansion, trading and raiding.

    " ...Scholars say the Viking raids were about survival, not conquest, and were prompted primarily by a shortage of land. In most cases individual Viking chieftains gathered followers and set off on raids. Wherever they went, the Vikings lived off the land, often driving the locals out and taking whatever valuables they could get their hands on... "

    Vikings' Barbaric Bad Rap Beginning to Fade
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Hunting and gathering can't even be classified as a mistake, given its how all living animals survive. So I guess that leaves agriculture.

    Agriculture and other human advancements since then have put us and kept us on track to boom and bust. We're self-sabotaging in gradually accelerating fashion and don't really recognize it.

    No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood.

  9. #29
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by molten_dragon View Post
    Happiness and harmony could be argued maybe, but it's downright ridiculous to say that agriculture has negatively affected our health. The average live expectancy in prehistoric times was roughly 25. The average life expectancy worldwide today is 68. Heck, the country with the lowest life expectancy is still almost 40. Pretty hard to say agriculture has negatively affected our health, when the average person today lives almost 3 times longer than early hunter-gatherers did.
    I suppose that all comes down to how one looks at it. Many scientists and nutritionists now argue that primitive man, while food supply was abundant, probably had a more balanced and nutritious diet then his modern counterpart. Probably the biggest factors in the expanded life expectancy isnt nutrition but rather supply consistency, safer/cleaner preservation and preparation, and medical knowledge/treatment for ailments.

    A modern man with current medical treatments available and the means to practice the hunter/gatherer lifestyle with real food consistency may be a healthier individual then his more typical counterpart.

    Quote Originally Posted by sawyerloggingon View Post
    On a certain level hunter gatherer society's had it made. They worked a couple of hours a day to feed themselves and had lots of free time for art, religion and whatever recreational-religion drug they could find. Their needs were food and shelter, nothing more and life was simple. Imagine no alarm clocks, no boss, no economic concerns no bills etc. On the other hand an abscessed tooth was a long miserable death sentence as was a compound fracture. With all it's foibles I'll take modern life but I admit the romanticized version of being a hunter gatherer does sometimes seem appealing.
    In my early twenties I studied native americans and their way of living a great deal. Prior to european settlers it is believed they only needed to dedicate about 4 hours a day toward survival. As you say it left the rest of their time dedicated to family, tribe, and religion. I know I have to dedicate much more time to support myself and my added luxuries today, is it really worth it? Im not sure..

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Trying to imagine the world's seven billion people surviving as hunter gatherers.. nope. Can't do it.

    Moreover, the pre agricultural people tended to have rather short and difficult lives, even when there were only a few thousand humans to compete for the limited food supply.

    The biggest mistake is thinking that the past was better than the present.

    That is all a matter of opinion. Personally I think a world population of < 300 million would better suit me, I do not care for all these people. More people does not equate better results imo.

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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Trying to imagine the world's seven billion people surviving as hunter gatherers.. nope. Can't do it.

    Moreover, the pre agricultural people tended to have rather short and difficult lives, even when there were only a few thousand humans to compete for the limited food supply.

    The biggest mistake is thinking that the past was better than the present.
    On the other hand a hunter gatherer society never would have overpopulated the world as we have done. The population would likely have stayed fairly stable. One check in the positive column for them.

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