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. #71
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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?
    The Dark Ages were a pretty bad mistake.
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  2. #72
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    The Dark Ages were a pretty bad mistake.
    I don't think we consciously chose that one, did we?
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  3. #73
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleDude View Post
    listening to pinhead luddite idiots like that guy who came up with that theory is a far worse mistake

    if everyone was a hunter gatherer no one would have the ability or the time to read the oozing BS that clown Diamond spewed.
    Agriculture brought peace and ended many people's nomadic lives. Hunting and gathering requires you to stay on the move. There would be not time for invention and the formation of societies. But there's always pros and cons to any choice. We don't know that we would live longer by hunting, because it's never been tried on a mass scale for a long period of time by a moder society.

    The poll is also flawed since one of the choices had to be a starting point which can't count as a mistake. Both choices were not available at the same time.
    Last edited by American; 07-12-12 at 02:35 PM.
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  4. #74
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by EagleAye View Post
    I don't think we consciously chose that one, did we?
    Probably not, and yet we have people who seem to want to go back to that time.
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  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Probably not, and yet we have people who seem to want to go back to that time.
    At this particular point in time, even going back 50 years would require its own transitional Dark Age. We are in a global economic and demographic conundrum of a situation that does not allow for even the slightest reversion.

    On an individual level we can try to implement more methods for living as we did a long time ago. Bring back some old homesteading methods, for example. Returning to some aspects of this lifestyle has never been more crucial to our ecosystems or our sense of control over our livelihoods, but it's also never seemed more distant/foreign to us. It is particularly shunned by those who seek perpetual growth and prosperity and will use new financial magic tricks to fake it.
    Last edited by Neomalthusian; 07-12-12 at 03:49 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Neomalthusian View Post
    At this particular point in time, even going back 50 years would require its own transitional Dark Age. We are in a global economic and demographic conundrum of a situation that does not allow for even the slightest reversion.

    On an individual level we can try to implement more methods for living as we did a long time ago. Bring back some old homesteading methods, for example. Returning to some aspects of this lifestyle has never been more crucial to our ecosystems or our sense of control over our livelihoods, but it's also never seemed more distant/foreign to us. It is particularly shunned by those who seek perpetual growth and prosperity and will use new financial magic tricks to fake it.
    The old homesteading methods are extremely costly in today's world Have you checked the price of land lately? Further, few of us are really willing to go back to working from dawn to dusk just to keep food on the table, living without electricity, let alone the internet. No, going back isn't going to be an option for most of us.
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  7. #77
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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?
    I think this is another "golden age" fallacy. While it is certainly true that there has been a cost to agricultural society, life wasn't so pretty back then either. Your life expectancy would be below 30 and you had a better chance than not of dying at the hands of another human due to resource competition.

    The problems posed by agriculture are significantly more complex, and I don't think we take them seriously enough as a species. We are certainly capable of causing a lot more damage with agriculture than we ever could with hunter-gatherer, and we have. The Depression was essentially caused by environmental crisis that resulted from stupid methods of agriculture. And since then, we still haven't entirely addressed those issues; just reduced them a bit to buy us some time. We're running a bit low on time.

    But in terms of human quality of life, there is no question agriculture made it vastly better, the better we got at it. Yeah, it's given rise to some problems too, but is it or is it not true that you have a life expectancy of 80, you're able to spend most of that time developing yourself however you want, and you're very unlikely to be killed on the street? On the whole, more humans have it better than they ever have at any point in the past. Some still live in terrible conditions, but the trend is up all across the board.

    This is a bit like that old fallacy that things were better before legal divorce - that couples were happier, children lived in better homes, and people didn't split up. None of that is true. Separation was common, abusive homes were EXTREMELY common, and whatever slight advantage their may have been was only because people died 2 or 3 decades sooner than they do now.

    Those "good old days" weren't so great, and neither were the hunter-gatherer "good old days."
    Last edited by SmokeAndMirrors; 07-12-12 at 03:57 PM.

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

    I just find it interesting that we use the term Human Race when we actually we are considering the Human species.
    If the term 'race' was not used to indicate skin color etc. it would be easier for me to use the term Human Race.

  9. #79
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Probably not, and yet we have people who seem to want to go back to that time.
    Are you referring to Goths? Or perhaps the Society for Creative Anachronism? Such things are amusing and entertaining. But plant such dreamers in the real conditions of pestilence, disease, toil, and summary executions and they will abruptly cease their glorification. What they do is an entertaining hobby. But any true student of history wouldn't go back to it for nuthin'!
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  10. #80
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    Re: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by EagleAye View Post
    Are you referring to Goths? Or perhaps the Society for Creative Anachronism? Such things are amusing and entertaining. But plant such dreamers in the real conditions of pestilence, disease, toil, and summary executions and they will abruptly cease their glorification. What they do is an entertaining hobby. But any true student of history wouldn't go back to it for nuthin'!
    Oh, I totally agree. I wouldn't want to go back to the middle ages for anything. The groups you mention are interesting, if a little bit wacky. There are also people who seem to think that anything from the past is better and that the word is headed for catastrophe, would want to go off and live in their own little enclave, grow their own food, be rugged individualists, divorce themselves from the modern world. All that is totally unrealistic, of course.
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