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Old 12-23-2010, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: Could we manage without technology?

Originally Posted by Lusankya View Post
Wrong. Of course they would not pop out of the ground instantly. But America would not exist if cities were not built. Without cities, you do not have industry. You do not have politics. You do not have technology. You don't have phones, roads, cars, gasoline, plastic, electricity. Nothing that defines modern America can exist without cities. Besides the blatantly obvious, i.e. computers, TV, McDonalds, no cities means no capability to produce anything that a few guys in a garage cannot build from the stuff they dig out of the ground. This means no communications, no transportation. This means that every single person in America will be living in, at the most, a village of a few hundred people. Without communications or transportation, each village is completely isolated from the others. In short, America reverts back into the Stone Age. American politics, American society, American economics cannot exist without cities, without the technologies that cities make possible.

No, but in a few generations we would. Without cities, the knowledge society has built up over the years is no longer applicable to modern life. Who gives a damn about Calculus or History when you're worried about what you're going to eat tomorrow? With no opportunities to apply knowledge, and no opportunities to learn knowledge, likely 90% of all modern knowledge would disappear in a single generation, and 90% of what's left in the next generation. No cities means no school, no teachers. Everyone's just a farmer or a hunter. How much would you know if you and your parents were out in the fields from dawn until dusk and you didn't have a school to go to?

Your misconception is hilarious. Of course America wouldn't stop being a civilization overnight. But if people ceased to band together in large groups to form organizations, it would in a single generation.

Reading is good yes? Of course, the status of urban is debatable, but for this debate I believe this definition is sufficient. Thus, the Indus Valley Civilization counts as a civilization, and I do not understand why you have anything to object to. No one is arguing that their cities weren't cities. Naturally any definition of civilization requires that its components be reasonably defined also.

I linked a college lecture on the subject, hardly what amounts to a "quickie". Furthermore, if all you have to present to your argument is mere opinion, then your argument is hilariously weak and your defense of it laughable. You have nothing more than what you think. If you refuse to use evidence out of some misguided moral principle or sheer laziness, then that is your problem, and your argument is void.

And that just couldn't be farther wrong. A city has most of those things, but many, if not most, of those aspects can be, and likely are present in both current and past civilizations that don’t have cities. You’ve just created a list of things that many cities across the world often have, and proceeded to state that without a city, you cannot have these things. That’s wrong for a number of a reasons, and yes, it is “hilarious” to me at this point too, that you could make a series of evident misconceptions and blatantly wrong statements like this ^^; . But allow me to delineate why by defining these terms and connecting them to groups of people that did not or currently do not live in city-based areas.

I’ll start with politics. I’ll be using the Merriam-Webster Dictionary(arguably the most popular, refined, and useful dictionary to date) to define it, and another term that’s closely related.

Originally Posted by Merriam-Webster
politics: the art or science of government
government: the act or process of governing; specifically, authoritative direction or control
Needless to say, it’s rather easy to have a person, or group of people, exercise “authoritative control” in an organized method without a city. In fact, many African tribes have tribal chiefs, or headmasters that exercise control and judgment in affairs within said tribes. Because you have asked so politely, let me shed some evidence on this statement. Here is an excerpt from an article discussing international politics; this article was published in the journal, Formulations and is now owned by the Libertarian Nation Foundation.
Originally Posted by LNF
African tribal government is organized as follows. In each village one finds a chief. Always, he is accompanied by three men who act simultaneously as his advisors and his guardians.The role of the chief is to execute the decisions of the Council of Elders, who, in turn, must seek the consensus of the village assembly. During peace time, chiefs are carefully watched by the Council of Elders. Many an African chief lost his chieftaincy by stepping out of the lines drawn by his Council. A good example is the Samaron tribe, which owns the green valley which caught our attention. During the 1930s, this tribe deposed its king because he had signed a pact with Ethiopia's emperor Haileselassie without the prior consent of the tribe's Council of Elders.
Mm. Reading is very good, you’re right. And this seems like a pretty fortified political system to me, and not a city in sight. Truth be told, I find this a unique style of government as it helps prevent a politically destructive upheaval that might likely arises from a potentially power-crazed chief. There is a set order of rules that must be followed by both the chief and the people that he and the Council govern. There's even a directive for a time of crisis. “Without cities…you have no politics”. Nope, guess again.

Let’s move on to industry, the first thing you mentioned. I would call it the creation and the use of any good or service. Personally I wouldn’t include the purchase of said good or service, because then we’re taking a voyage into “economy land”. However, let’s see what the dictionary has to say.
Originally Posted by Merriam-Webster Dictionary
industry: systematic labor, especially for some useful purpose or creation of something of value
Well that could be plenty of things. It could only be hunting, agriculture, or sixty thousand other processes. Hell, early hominids in the Paleolithic Age had industries then, because they used early stone tools to separate animal hides from the bodies, and used them for various functions. One can argue that they had a hunting industry, a tool-making industry, a crafting industry, and later, an agriculture industry. Last I checked, there weren’t cities until quite sometimes after the origin of mankind. Let’s double-back that with some more evidence. I’ve pulled this excerpt from the first page of American Anthropologist, a paper written by Pat Shipman, who was Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Structure and Biology at John Hopkins University, where he was also known for extensive work in anthropology. This was later published into a book. Shall we see what he has to say?

Originally Posted by Pat
Early hominid life is often reconstructed as broadly similar to that of modern hunter-gatherers. Whether carrying, tool-making, food-sharing, or seed-eating, is seen as the crucial adaptation in hominid evolution, hunting and meat-eating are often given a major place in early hominid life.
He proceeds to exclaim the emergence of scavenging and foraging as labour or industries. Hunting and foraging – sounds like some labour to me. May not be the most cutting-edge food gathering strategies like those present today, but it was surely there. And the more they hunt and gather food, the more they learn about specific animal locations and good hunting hours, along with the rotation times of many edible plant species. Thus, they become more refined hunter-gatherers, and their labour becomes systematic, organized, and more like an industry. I think I even see the seeds of a primitive economy here. No city needed. The word wasn’t even used. “Without cities, you do not have industry” – Wrong again, but I admire the effort. Next.

Now we’re moving on to technology, and this one ought to be pretty simple. Up until this point, I’ve essentially been defining technology as any tool or advancement from basic, naturally occurring substances in nature that can be used to make life more pleasant or work more efficient. Let’s crack open that dictionary for a third time.

Originally Posted by Merriam-Webster
a. the practical application of knowledge, especially in a particular area
b. a capability given by the application of knowledge
I prefer my definition, but I suppose this will work. Let’s scope in on “a capability given by the application of knowledge”. But that could be anything couldn’t it? It could be creating efficient computers or generating strengthened steel on construction vehicles. Oh, it can also be the creation of a simple stone crafting tool or a spear. That’s where those early stone tools come into play. Good anticipation, you know we’re headed back to the time machine again to revisit those early hominids. I did some research and I found a site that has an amalgam of information and data garnered from a series of esteemed anthropology-based books, including The Last Human by G.J. Sawyer and some articles by the Yale University Press. There I found some interesting facts about early technology.

Originally Posted by ANC-Hominid Tools
Oldowan tools are the oldest known, appearing first in the Gona and Omo Basins in Ethiopia about 2.4 million years ago. They likely came at the end of a long period of opportunistic tool usage: chimpanzees today use rocks, branches, leaves and twigs as tools.

The key innovation is the technique of chipping stones to create a chopping or cutting edge. Most Oldowan tools were made by a single blow of one rock against another to create a sharp-edged flake. The best flakes were struck from crystalline stones such as basalt, quartz or chert, and the prevalence of these tools indicates that early humans had learned and could recognize the differences between types of rock.

Typically many flakes were struck from a single "core" stone, using a softer spherical hammer stone to strike the blow. These hammer stones may have been deliberately rounded to increase toolmaking control.
Flakes were used primarily as cutters, probably to dismember game carcasses or to strip tough plants. Fossils of crushed animal bones indicate that stones were also used to break open marrow cavities. And Oldowan deposits include pieces of bone or horn showing scratch marks that indicate they were used as diggers to unearth tubers or insects.
Currently, all these tools are associated with Homo habilis (rudolfensis) only; if the robust australopithecines used tools, they were apparently not shaped stones.

*ANC is a name given to the site by the author, whose name does not appear on the site.
Personally I find it interesting to see how early humans create useful tools by the most simplistic of actions. And then they use them to “dismember game or to strip tough plants”. Looks like a capability given by the application of knowledge to me. One more quick thing.
Originally Posted by ANC- Hominid Tools
The Acheulean tool industry first appeared around 1.5 million years ago in East Central Africa. These tools are associated with Homo ergasterand western Homo erectus.
The key innovations are (1) chipping the stone from both sides to produce a symmetrical (bifacial) cutting edge, (2) the shaping of an entire stone into a recognizable and repeated tool form, and (3) variation in the tool forms for different tool uses. Manufacture shifted from flakes struck from a stone core to shaping a more massive tool by careful repetitive flaking. The most common tool materials were quartzite, glassy lava, chert and flint.
There’s that word industry again – apparently I’m not the only one thinking you do not need a city to have industry. The fact that creation and use of tools to enhance early lifestyle is an example of early technology is just unarguable, and this is also something that can be found, really, in the opening paragraphs of numerous World History textbooks. And because that there is the origin of technology, you can bet your socks it was technologically advanced for its time – and yes, since I’m discussing the history of technology, industry, and politics with regards to humans, it is critical that we note what was technologically, industrially, and politically advanced for contemporary lifestyle at the time, and how it has changed throughout history.

Once more, I have yet to even see mention of the word “city”, and this is the third document I’ve read on three notably different, but inherently co-linked aspects of civilization. “Without cities…you do not have technology”. Nope. And at this point you’re not just up against me, but you’re up against hundreds of years of refined and reinforced knowledge that so many professors, teachers assistants, students, and even ordinary people adhere so closely to. Present the thesis that "Without a city you cannot have technology" to virtually any accredited college anthropology professor and tell me how long it takes for you to be tagged, bagged, and shipped away, because I'm greatly curious.

"This means no communications, no transportation."

And last I checked, not every road or form of transportation is in a city.
Speaking of transportation, what about horses and transport from other livestock? There are so many useful, yet subtle methods of transportation outside of motor-operated vehicles that you’re forgetting, and said forms still remain heavily used even today. So yes, even if cities were removed, humans would just domesticate a series of animals to use as transportation. And once a language pops up, so will communication. But the assertion that the absence of cities results in the absence of transportation is so incredibly wrong that even grade school children can disprove it.

I also see it worth noting that this is the first argument in a series of about three that I’ve noticed you provide some direct evidence(some of which, the credibility is still arguable) in, and it’s mystifying to see that you place such a hefty standard on a practical strategy that you’ve apparently only just begun.

Last edited by Exon Auxus; 12-23-2010 at 02:33 PM.
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