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Animist
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The anthropologist Stanley Diamond has written, "Civilization originates in conquest abroad and repression at home. Each is an aspect of the other."

In this era of global capitalism it is sometimes difficult to remember that our Civilization doesnt include every human being on the planet. In the United States the campaign of genocide that began here in 1492 - but began in the world in 10,000 BC - has receded into the background since its military phase ended 100 years ago, and discussion and knowlege of it has receded accordingly.

But certain parts of the world have only recently begun to be affected by the expansion of civilization. In South America, parts of Oceania, Africa, and elsewhere, tribal peoples still exist largely as they have for thousands of years; hunting and foraging or practicing "primitive" horticulture or pastorlism. These places are the front lines of the expansion that began in the Fertile Crescent thousands of years ago, and arrayed against them, as usual, are that most worthless, dispicable breed of human scum ever concieved: Missionaries.

It is one particularly revolting group I want to bring to your attention: the New Tribes Mission, who can be reached online at http://www.ntm.org/index.shtml. Go there and read for yourself. These people are actively campaigning to destroy traditional tribal peoples in places like the Chaco region of the Andes (straddling Bolivia, Peru, and Chile), where they aid farmers in their campaign to destroy tribal peoples and the land upon which they live. (More information here: http://www.fpcn-global.org/tribes/americas/south/ayoreos/history.html).

These people, and others like them, are the worst examples of humanity in the world today. It's time more of us knew about them, and it's time they were treated as the vermin they are.


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Ron Lambert
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Animist, I am not acquainted with the particular group of missionaries you specifically mention, but you are wrongly impugning many missionaries over the years who have selflessly labored to raise primitive peoples from the ignorance, bloodthirsty superstition, filthy lack of hygiene, and preventable disease that had been their lot for generations; and taught them to read (in some cases actually devising a written language for them). Maybe you think it would be better to observe some sort of "non-interference directive." But these people are human beings the same as all the rest of us, and are just as deserving of the benefits of enlightenment and civilization as you or I, or our children, to whom we hand the benefits of civilization, which they never earned for themselves, either. The "Non-interference" policy is abysmally evil and selfish.

I am not a Catholic, and view many of the Catholic orders (particularly the Jesuits) with suspicion. Yet I know that historically, in some of the jungles of Central and South America, Jesuit missionaries forfeited their lives by siding with the native peoples for whom they labored against the exploitation of companies backed by European nations, and even sometimes when those exploiters were backed by the Catholic Church itself. When the exploiters sent in mercenary armies, the Jesuit missionaries were slaughtered as they stood beside their converts.

In third world countries, the vast majority of the health care, including hospitals and clinics, is provided by missionary doctors and nurses. The majority of schools that teach children not only to read, but also give them practical knowledge concerning agriculture, irrigation techniques, mechanics, are church-sponsored schools run by missionaries.

Missionaries are the most honorable people who have ever lived on this planet.


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Everard
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How about missionaries are exactly like everyone else...? That work for anyone?

There are numbers of them who are jerks, and numbers who are noble people, and numbers who are a good mix of good and bad traits. Mostly, they are human.

That said, I really hate missionaries for the most part. Mostly because they're obnoxious.


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maniacal_engineer
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I am a former missionary, so I guess you better come and kill me. but don't expect me to go quietly. maybe shawnee ranger can give me a quick self defense course.

I went to Japan. We taught our theology to those who were willing to hear it. we taught english to anyone who wanted to learn it. We did our best to respect the culture and choices of the indigenous population. Even when we thought they were freakin morons.

Other missionaries of my faiht go abroad and teach agriculture, hygiene, subversive stuff like that.

BTW is this thread a locke/demosthenes argue with yourself thing? are you two really the same person ;P


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Sohryu Asuka Langley
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I agree with Everard, I don't like missionaries..they're full of KUSO!
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Junpei
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I fail to see why so many people hate missionaries; I'm friends with many missionaries and MKs.

Of course, there are stupid ones and ones in the past who have tried to force people into their religions, but for the most part, they're noble people who are mainly responsible for improving conditions across the world.

As long as they give people a choice to whether they accept their beliefs or not, and are just helping out, why should we kill them?


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Falken224
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Okay . . . having dealt with many missionaries in a variety of capacities here's my two cents worth.

There are, as Everard said, the jerks and the nice ones.

The jerks go into a primitive culture and attempt to eradicate it, replace it with their own vision of what life in a third world setting should look like, usually FAR inferior to what they themselves could tolerate. They videotape it, bring it back to show the people at home, saying "look here, we're so righteous, bestowing the Lord's blessing on these ignorant savages." They get more money from the people at home, who really couldn't care less what they're giving their money for, and go out and do it again in a new country.

The good missionaries go to a country with an open mind, at ready to be swayed by the beliefs of the people as they are to do the swaying. They immerse themselves in the local culture as far as they can, learn the language, try to understand the people they are living with, and make their lives better. The changes they bring are NEVER unwelcome, and in fact are embraced wholeheartedly. At the end, these missionaries are either never leave, or go reluctantly and dream of going back for the rest of their lives.

But here's an interesting point to ponder.

I had a guy in a church I was visiting start a discussion that was triggered as he was returning from a short evanglistic trip. Basically, he said "How do I know that my beliefs really are the best? How can I teach these people, and convince them if I'm not sure myself?"

Basically, you can't know that your beliefs are the best until you REALLY understand somebody else's enough to stand and look at the two and decide. Even then, you can't just tell thim "This is what you should believe," you have to present them with the same understanding and let them choose.

And therein lies the rub. Most missionaries are funded based on how effective they are at getting conversions, because that's what looks good to the people with the money . . . the church members.

One of my proudest achievements was getting a good friend of mine away from atheism. Took 5 years and I never pushed any of my beliefs on him. We had plenty of discussions, but we both stood our ground admirably. We each won and lost the debates/arguments equally, and just went on with our lives as normal.

No, he's not attending church, or any some such melodramatic ending to the stereotypical "conversion" story, and I frankly don't care. His only concession he made was that he basically said. "I think there's a higher power SOMEWHERE, but I refuse to speculate what form it takes."

I'm good with that. And he wasn't the only one who benefitted (yes, I consider agnosticism superior to atheism) from our discussions. In return, I gained from him a healthy and WELL JUSTIFIED distrust of organized religion.

Just keep in mind there's a continuum of bad and good missionaries out there, and in the same vein as what Ev pointed out, prolly in the same proportions as there are good and bad people.

Off my soapbox.

-Nate


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Baldar
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Aztecs supplanted and adopted (a mixture) the religions of those they conquered. Of course so did the Olmecs. This was made clear in a San Lorenzo site which dated from around 1150 BC. Some of the huge basalt monuments were built upon pre-existing religious sites by earlier "unknown" groups. Teotihuacan (Aztec capital) was built upon the base of other earlier tribes whose culture was completely irradicated. The Zapotec and Toltec cultures were two strong "post Olmec" groups that conquered local tribes and erradicated earlier cultures.

Some of this information can be found in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, "Civilizations" by Felipe fernandez-Armesto, Kirby's "America and its Peoples".

Does anyone really believe that those systems of belief found by post Columbian explorers were "in stasis" for thousands of years. Or that conquering tribes and groups supplanted beliefs just as quickly and viciously as did the conquistadores.

I find it myopic and a bit hypocritical (although that may be do to ignorance) to condemn one group and eurocentric individuals who tend to be "missionaries" while forgetting the evidence that its really business as usual. Should someone have killed the Olmecs? Toltecs? Aztecs? Well gee, I think someone did, just take your number and get in line.

Will our society in the US one day be supplanted. Of course it will not, we have no culture to supplant. I charge anyone to find a uniquely US food that did not come from elsewhere. Our society is strong because we accept that it will change and embrace that change. We should also accept the fact that ours is not the pentultimate in society, therefore, we too may end up being the "base" of another civilization.


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TomDavidson
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"Of course it will not, we have no culture to supplant."

I disagree, Baldar. There are definitely certain elements of American culture that are uniquely and recognizably American, regardless of their roots.


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Baldar
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I should say uniquely of US origin, rather than recognized as American, since tomorrow they can be recognized as something else.

I can't think of anything that is uniquely of US origin, or even uniquely US that someone else cannot claim as theirs with equal basis.


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Ron Lambert
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Baldar, I think we invented pizza.
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TomDavidson
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We've actually invented quite a FEW cultural phenomena, in my opinion. The television culture, the automobile culture, the fast food culture, the Internet culture.... These things are not only immediately associated with America in the minds of the international public, but are certainly things that didn't really exist before in any recognizable form.

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Baldar
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Ron, don't let the Italians know you said that. I believe we "adapted Pizza" to our form (like we have tacos).

TV is not a unique culture and while our culture dominates in exports of entertainment (so did the gladiatorial games) one could trace it from the minstril shows of earlier centuries, not realy that unique. Internet, still waiting to see on that one, Automobile (actually out of Germany), Fast food is not unique to the US and existed before as kiosks all over the world, I do not consider it unique in origin to the kiosks for instance. Kiosks can actually be assigned to Persian influences.

An interesting place for the "recent" phenomenom of fast food can found here.


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maniacal_engineer
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basketaball, american cheese, TV, airplanes, mass produced automobiles, 7th day adventists, moromons, jehovah's witnesses, scientology. (not that there is an equivalence) chocolate, movies, drive-ins, drivethrus.
skateboards, snowboards, basketball

[This message has been edited by maniacal_engineer (edited October 29, 2002).]


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TomDavidson
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Baldar, I think you're confusing the source of inventions with the source of CULTURE. Consider, for example, television and the automobile: they may be popular elsewhere, and they may have even been invented by foreigners, but they've given birth to specific cultures that are NOT found anywhere else on Earth. The German auto culture, for example, is very different from the American one (with its legacy of urban sprawl, federal highway systems, and roadside motels).

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Manfoom
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Hello all, I have lurked for some time here, but felt like I may have something to contribute.


Animist,

Do you realize that by putting forth your ideology, with the goal of sharing your ideas, you have become "...one of that most worthless, dispicable breed of human scum ever concieved."

There are many ways to share one's ideology or beliefs, but your use of the superlative is way too broad. There have been vile and dexpicable missionaries, but I beleive that history will bear out, that the majority of proselyting has been withthe purpose of improving the lives of others. The fact that the concept of God is involved seems to irk you more than the idea of someone sharing their ideas.

Having been a missionary, of a different sort, I know that the sharing of ideas in wwhich I participated were not too different with what goes on here (but with less challenges to fight).


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Locus
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Corn on the cob ..mmmm

As for inventions ...when you're done crediting and attributing back through history you'll wind up back with the first monkey that accidently kicked a rock downhill inventing McDonalds.


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Brian
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I have always heard that jazz was created in America, and it is a distinct part of our culture.
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Ron Lambert
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Well, Baldar, you can't deny that Chevrolets were invented in America. Of course, my Chevy Geo Prism is a Toyota Corolla under the hood....
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Baldar
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Chevrolets are French.

quote:
"To celebrate the memory of Louis Chevrolet, this man famous all around the world, is for me a great pleasure. That’s why I friendly answer to the editors by theses lines. Louis Chevrolet is a pioneer in who we are all indebted. His numerous successes along his sports career, his genius and his ability on mechanics allowed him to build the car called like him. Today as well we take advantage of his talent.

As a young driver, I prepared for a race, with some friends of my village of Balcarce, a Chevrolet 1940. With this car I won my first important race : Buenos-Aires-Lima-Buenos Aires. A course which was 9500 Km long. What a time !

With the same car I won my first road championship in Argentina, in 1940. This championship was also the first success for the label "Chevrolet". This car is today in my own museum side by side with two others Chevrolets 1939. I did some races too with theses cars - races I fortunately won.

That's why the label "Chevrolet" is bounded with my credit. Theses success in South America had great echoes around the world. My sympathy for Chevrolet is sincere. That's why it was normal to associate the label "Chevrolet" with my first car selling company I was responsible for some years ago in Balcarce.



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Baldar
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I think our open and free borrowing of other cultures without rancor makes us a better society.
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maniacal_engineer
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chevrolet is swiss. the chevy "bow tie" is a stylized swiss cross. (do we now have to take the chevy logo off of govt vehicles now?)
and SAL - I know what KUSO means KOKO WA SONNA HANASHIKATA WO TSUKAU TOKORO DESHOU KA. KONO YAROO - TEINEI NI KAKINASAI.

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Redskullvw
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Animist..

Your quote of Stanley Diamond is out of context.

Your first web link is a dead one.

And finally the second one made me laugh so hard my girlfriend thought I was insane until I showed her why I was laughing.."For the German Nazis the Chaco war in the 1930s was their first test war."...

Ah Yes the Condor Legion first cut their teeth by supporting the war mongering Mennonites.

I had wrote up a logical refutation of your original post, but when I got to the Nazi bit It made me realize your quoting not a fringe site, but a site so far off the main stream that they have alternate reality history as a mainstay.

Im an anthorpologist and a historian.. Your argument is seriously flawed.


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Animist
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Redskull, I quoted from the beginning of In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization. Which is, of course, a critique of civilization. They have been made, you know. As for the link, just go too www.newtribesmission.org. I don't care if you disagree with the second on the point of the Nazis, though you have given no evidence besides ridicule to refute it, I posted it to give a bit of background on New Tribes Mission's activities in Chaco.

Baldar: You didn't refute me one bit. The cultures you mentioned were civilizations.

More later.


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Baldar
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So civilizations are not made up of culture and since those civilizations destroy other cultures their cultures in essence destroy others? What am I missing?

Olmecs and Toltecs are referred as cultures also, not sure where you are coming from.


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Junpei
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maniacal_engineer and Sohryu --

Gakkou de, nihongo o benkyoushimasu ga nihongo wa madaheta desu. Kuso ja nai.

Romaji wa warui desune?


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Animist
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Baldar: All right, let me put it even more simply. I said, quoting Stanley Diamond, "Civilization begins in conquest abroad and repression at home."

You said "Aztecs, Toltecs, Zapotecs and all kinds of other 'ecs conquered each other, therefore conquest is business as usual."

I said, "Those cultures you mentioned were civilizations. You refuted me not one bit."

Cultures based on conquest are invariably civilized cultures, which is the point I was and am making, and which you supported. Not that civilized cultures are not cultures, but that they are based on conquest and oppression, at every single level.

However, I am also making the point that (as far I know, and to my knowlege as far as Archaeology knows) only one civilization has ever contained the component meme "Ours is the one right way to live, and everyone should live this way," and acted out this basic belief by conquering the ENTIRE WORLD, and that civilization, of course, is ours.

Ron Lambert's statements embodied (or are embodied by) this particular meme. He fleshed it out, explained it, justified it. As such his beliefs and mine are so completely opposed that maniachal_engineer justifiably speculated that we are the same person. His take is so utterly opposite from mine that I don't know where to begin to argue with it.

What he would call "bloody superstitions," I would call religions just as valid and just as varied as your own.

To his comment about missionaries teaching savages how to write I would respond: Your arguments seem to be based on the belief that just because civilized people do it (whatever it is), it must be the most advanced and enlightened thing a human being could possibly do. Though writing has had some very wonderful benefits, without it extensive conquest would be impossible; empires would collapse under their own weight.

Non-civilized peoples are just as 'advanced' as we are, in their own separate ways. The obvious response to this statement is to accuse me of 'political correctness,' but the fact of the matter is, it's true. The religion of Australian aborigines is much more complex than our own, as is their kinship system. Their material technology is much simpler. The Apache may not have been able to build skyscrapers, but a scout could look at an animal's print and identify 4,000 separate 'pressure releases' which would tell him anything he wanted to know about the animal, from how full its bladder was to its emotional state; and though no hunter-gatherers ever journeyed to the moon or killed 50 million people in a single war, they did build societies based on reciprocity and egalitarianism, in which every member recieved the total support of the community.

Finally, your statements about 'filthy lack of hygene and preventable disease' seem rather odd to me given that 1) Non-civilized people who come into contact with civilization always experience massive population depletions due to disease, 2) Life expectencies comparable to those of the most modern of industrial societies have been recorded among many non-civilized peoples, such as the !Kung of the Kalahari, 3) Overcrowding and reliance upon domestic animals, both features of civilization (though, of course, domestication is not UNIQUE to civilization) lead directly to disease, 4) Mass famine is the creation of mass agriculture and 5) Most noncivilized people, particularly hunter-gatherers, are simply healthier in most every way, including mentally, than civilized people.

I'm also not impressed by missionaries teaching agriculture, given that hunter gatherers have to work far less than agriculturalists to get the food they need to live. They also tend to be far healthier than farmers and, as I mentioned, at less risk of famine.

Jared (not Stanley) Diamond, in an essay entitled "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race," elaboratess, "It's almost inconceivable that the [Kalahari] Bushmen who eat 75 or so wild plants, could die of starvation teh way hundreds of thousands of Irish farmers and their famlies did during the potato famine of the 1840s."

Diamond continues, "There are at least three sets of reasons to explain the findings that agriculture was bad for health. First, hunter-gatherers enjoyed a varied diet, while early farmers obtained most of their food from one or a few starchy crops. The farmers gained cheap caolories at the cost of poor nutrition...Second, because of dependance on a limited number of crops, farmers ran the risk of starvation if one crop failed. Finally, the mere fact that agriculture encouraged people to clump together in corwded societies, many of which then carried on trade with other corwded societies, led to the spread of parasites and infectious disease."

In addition, according to Diamond, "...Farming also helped bring another curse upon humanity: deep class divisions. Hunter-gatherers have little or no stored food, and no ceoncentrated food source, like an orchard or a herd of cows: they live off the wild lants and animals they obtain each day. Therefore, there can be no kings, no class of social parasites who grow fat on food seized from others." (It's worth noting here that some hunter-gathers DO store food, and it is among these people that hierarchy appears).

The introduction of schools by missionaries also don't impress me, since our form of schooling is as cruel as it is stupid as it is innefective as it is totalitarian. In the societies the missionaries go forth to "enlighten" every individual knows what he or she needs to function as adults by the time they reach puberty. They learn ON THEIR OWN and they learn BY DOING, they aren't forced to sit in a class room for 8 hours each day, memorize stuff they'll never use in their real lives and will promptly forget after the next test, and have an authoritarian teacher punish them for acting on their natural instincts. Nor do any of them ever murder as many of their age-mates as possible before putting an arrow through their own head.

Schools also have the added affect of teaching obedience; in the United States, for example, the most educated classes were the most supportive of the Vietnam War, and it's no coincidence that education is universal in Cuba.

So no, I'm not impressed with our selfless drive to enlighten the ignorant or whatever other backward justifications you might give for cultural imperialism.


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Sohryu Asuka Langley
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*claps* yay! i'm not the only one to speak japanese here! (probebly used alta vista......ya yutz)
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Baldar
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quote:
"Civilization begins in conquest abroad and repression at home."

Then from the very start I see that as a false supposition. Conquest and repression do not define civilization any more than they define culture. How do you answer that one could just as equally argue that when Khan invaded China, his mongol civilization conquered the Chinese, but the Chinese culture conquered the mongols? What about Japan's mixture of self inflicted feeling of superiority and isolationism? Here we might see repression at home, but certainly no conquest. I think your guy is talking out of his hat.

quote:
However, I am also making the point that (as far I know, and to my knowlege as far as Archaeology knows) only one civilization has ever contained the component meme "Ours is the one right way to live, and everyone should live this way," and acted out this basic belief by conquering the ENTIRE WORLD, and that civilization, of course, is ours.

I wouldn't speak for archeology of I were you, because your basic tenet is wrong and many civilizations have expressed the equal feeling that theirs was the only right way. This is especially prevelant in the early eastern mediterranean civilizations when gods were also used as political instruments. How often was the Jewish temple ransacked because of its religious base, showing the Jews that Assyrian or Babylonian gods were superior. Then again the Jews did the same to the original Hittite residents of the "promised land". Of course one could go on to the Aryans in India. The writings of the pre-Buddhist Vedic literature describe exactly that view. Japan also "knew" theirs was the only way, long before western conquest.

quote:
What he would call "bloody superstitions," I would call religions just as valid and just as varied as your own.

Then your view is faulty. How do you measure validity, and if you hold all things equal then there can be no measure of validity can there? Seems to me you have a view that all civilization and culture was somehow static, the reasons cultures fall is based on validity and survivability. The mongol versus chinese culture for instance, the greek and roman cultures (romans who actually borrowed heavily from the Etruscans and Epicurians and Greeks) in which the Mongols themselves took up Chinese habits and culture. Perhaps I should bring up the later Khannites that converted to Islam after conquering Islamic countries. No, your point doesn't even approach workability. If you wish to place no judgement and fall into this trap of "moral relativism" for cultures fine, but it's alot of claptrap that isn't true.

quote:
To his comment about missionaries teaching savages how to write I would respond: Your arguments seem to be based on the belief that just because civilized people do it (whatever it is), it must be the most advanced and enlightened thing a human being could possibly do. Though writing has had some very wonderful benefits, without it extensive conquest would be impossible; empires would collapse under their own weight.

One reason we know so little about early African civilizations is they did not write. Of course writing and civilization which bring in such dubious "objectively measureable benefits" such as extended life spans, medicine, communication, ability to see and learn more, what does that matter. Keep the aborigines ignorant, isolated and happy? Sounds a little racist to me.

quote:
Their material technology is much simpler. The Apache may not have been able to build skyscrapers, but a scout could look at an animal's print and identify 4,000 separate 'pressure releases' which would tell him anything he wanted to know about the animal, from how full its bladder was to its emotional state; and though no hunter-gatherers ever journeyed to the moon or killed 50 million people in a single war, they did build societies based on reciprocity and egalitarianism, in which every member recieved the total support of the community. [quote]

4,000 pressure points. BS, is the best I can say. Definately too much TV. Depth and imprints of tracks tell you almost nothing about the weight of a subject, that was disabused when Doyle made the claim in Sherlock Holmes novels in the late 1800's.

Sure they didn't journey to the moon, whether they wanted to or not, they could'nt. Sure they didn't kill 50 million people, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Spare me the trail of tears bit, it so much politically correct "el torro poo poo".

[quote]1) Non-civilized people who come into contact with civilization always experience massive population depletions due to disease, 2) Life expectencies comparable to those of the most modern of industrial societies have been recorded among many non-civilized peoples, such as the !Kung of the Kalahari,


Sure it has, and the bible records us living up to 900 years prior to the flood. But how can you be sure? Hunter gathers had no excess capacity for the old. Social Darwinism at its best, if you can't cut it die. Well gee, lets apply that same standard to their culture then.

Mass famine is the creation of mass agriculture is false, especially today, it is the creation of government, this includes the Irish famine of the 1800's. Your point is utterly ridiculous. Mass agriculture allows the development of technology and brought on the first age of the egyptians and later greater improvements of the industrial revolution brought up the industrial age which has brought forth the information age. Look, you can be a luddite all you want, but think about it as you hypocritically type all your points on a computer in a language developed with your comfortable lifestyle and education. Hunter gatherers were always cold, dying, or hungry, they traveled for a reason, food. .

quote:
5) Most noncivilized people, particularly hunter-gatherers, are simply healthier in most every way, including mentally, than civilized people.

That is the dumbest thing I have heard this year. God, who is teaching you this crap. We live longer now than ever before, by your estimation the closer we get to "lack of civilization" we should be living longer. Do you really see us living shorter lifespans than we did 100 years ago? 1000? 10,000. The Neanderthals must have lived for ever according to your view. Damn, ever learn something called critical thinking? Don't believe all the intellectual fecal matter ladled to you, please, you will end up with a rude awakening.

Look this politically correct stuff just doesn't work and its been debunked (here just now) and elsewhere. Try to get out more, it helps.


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Animist
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Baldar, it's interesting that you accuse me of not thinking when everything you're saying is an outdated discarded steriotype. Do some real research.

As for civilizations conquering the world, again, ours is the only one that has. Our civilization IS the civilization that began in the middle east 6000 years ago, we are one continuous culture, which has, over the past millenia, expanded at an ever increasing rate assimilating or destroying everything in its path.

Your comment about the African civilizations is interesting, though it doesn't refute me. Unlike some (John Zerzan, for example) I don't completely condemn writing, my point was simply that the ability to write is not a measure of an individual's intelligence or a culture's enlightenment. The Incas, too, had no writing system, though they did have alternative methods of record keeping.

Let me ask you a simple question.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT CIVILIZATION IS?

Let me define some of the archaeologically and anthropologically recognized characteristics for you: 1) Intensive agriculture. 2) Stratification. 3) Complex division of labor. 4) Cities. 5) A system of record-keeping. 5) Great monuments.

I would add genocidal warfare. But that's not necessarily true, as I've mentioned else where the Hohoakam built a civilization that (as far as I know; I could be wrong) did not include warfare.


Your comments about the life expectency of the Bushmen are incorrect; we know that they lived to be as long as we did because the anthropologist Richard B. Lee, recorded their ages when he worked among them.

I'll have more later.


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Animist
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100 years ago we were no closer to a "lack of civilization" than we are today. Throughout our history our life expectency has been very low, with modern technology only now allowing a life the equivalent of our "savage" ancestors.

I also like how any view other than "White Americans are the freest happiest most prosperous people ever, and our way of life is the absolute best, obviously" is "politically correct" in your view.

Do you actually believe this? When was the last time you saw the New York Times run an op-ed on the nutritional benefits of hunting and gathering, or Time do a special report on how globalization is destroy the ways of life of indigenous peoples around the world and must be stopped? How do you think I learn this, by watching CNN?

Just because you're ignorant about a subject doesn't mean an informed person is "dumb." Again, I find it hilarious that you're spouting 19th century steriotypes and ranting about my lack of "critical thinking," especially considering I've offered real evidence and you have NOT. All you've offered are steriotypes.

Just because you don't know a goddam thing about a topic doesn't mean you're entitled to make stuff up about it.


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Baldar
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I am not spouting 19th century sterotypes, but yes your positions are dumb, and inaccurate. Especially with age and your view of civilization. I find the general view to be an over simplification for the "uber" non modern man, which is plain stupid. I know the subject matter, you use scientists (I use the term loosely) with political agendas to support a ridiculous position. I do know more than you do on the subject and the method in which you skate and change definitions to meet your limited criteria and say "see I am right" reflects a sad limitation on your ability to learn. Like you I believed alot of that crap during the 70's and early 80's until I started actually seeing the sights and seeing how academia cudgels those who don't think as they do. Your politically correct analysis is just that, political and hence, has no basis in reality. I think I have done a good job at refuting your obvious lack of points, calling me a 19th century man only adds to the dullness of your argument and your lack of knowledge.
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msquared
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Animist,

I am curious if you believe in evolution? I mean most of the cultures you seem to like all have some sort of religious myth that would contradict evolution.

msquared


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Animist
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msquared: I don't believe or disbelieve in evolution. Adaptation and natural selection obviously occur (see the case of the peppered moth in England), but can they lead to new species? Probably not. In that case, where do new species (which the fossil record shows appear and disappear) come from? I'm inclined to think that evolutionary theory is a good starting place, but it has a lot of holes in it at this point.

I also admit that I'm very, very far from an expert on the topic and I could be quite wrong; I have seen some good criticisms of evolution theory, but then again maybe Stephen Gould or Richard Dawkins or whoever have a perfect working model of evolution that I just don't know about.


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Baldar
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Animist lets set aside the rhetoric for a moment. (Especially the "its from another century stuff" learn that new is not always better or correct, evolution was devloped in an earlier century, as was relativity and the wheel). So I will apologize for assuming you are stupid, lets us say that what you say is highly suspect in that is seems politically motivated. In general your views coincide with Marxist anthropology which, while popular in the 70's is somewhat debunked as unworkable today.

Do I know what civilization is. Actually I do, you however seem to be defining it to meet your own criteria, this is wrong.

quote:
our comments about the life expectency of the Bushmen are incorrect; we know that they lived to be as long as we did because the anthropologist Richard B. Lee, recorded their ages when he worked among them.

Now lets look at this critically, how does one determine the age of an individual without verifiable records. Did he ask? Forensic studies? Did he live among them and take a sampling population that he lived with for 60 70 or 80 years or do you accept it on faith? I find it interesting that you state it with such faith, but give no reference to how long they supposedly lived or what method was used to provide for it. I find this part of your statement less than credible. Which of course means that the general gist (primitive cultures were equally good is wrong based on the "objective" view of longevity being we live longer now than ever before), in short you have no facts that I can see other than touting a view of a scientist whose data no one has seen.

We know that Neandertals, the "ultimate hunter gatherers" did not live very long.

quote:
All of the archeological evidence to date indicates that Neandertals and early moderns survived as hunter/ gatherers, and many of the animals that they survived on were among the above listed mammals.  Neandertals were apparently close range hunters for the most part, getting within feet of the animal before driving the spear into the great animal.  Driving game over cliffs was another method, and a seemingly easier one, but getting food never came easy.  Close range hunting practices made life very strenuous and life-spans short (40 years of age was elderly for a Neandertal).  Some scientists, striving to discover what exactly killed off the Neandertals, have done nutrition research based on teeth samples.  Hypoplasia develops if insufficient nutrients are received in the first seven years of life.  Out of 300 samples, 40% were found to have hypoplaxia signaling that Neandertals enjoyed mammal meat (cooked over fire no less), but probably not enough of it.  Difficulty in hunting and a dwindling of the ice age mammal population may very well have led to their eventual demise.

Per San Diego State University dept of anthropology. So much for healthy diets.

quote:
100 years ago we were no closer to a "lack of civilization" than we are today. Throughout our history our life expectency has been very low, with modern technology only now allowing a life the equivalent of our "savage" ancestors.

Lifespans suggest otherwise. Please try to think critically

quote:
I also like how any view other than "White Americans are the freest happiest most prosperous people ever, and our way of life is the absolute best, obviously" is "politically correct" in your view.

Certainly not my view, but as unrealistic as yours. I might suggest that you refrain from the attempted racist diatribe and try to stick to the facts. It helps keep this on a level field. I will assume you apologize for the statement. I do however believe that we live longer now than we have at anytime before, including the Roman period (which was not matched until the first half of the 20th century after their fall).

You also have not really answered the question of culture versus civilization. I believe my examples are valid but you do not speak to them, rather attack me (yes yes pot calling the kettle black, but the statement is still accurate). Look at what I have said, cultures can dominate other civilizations and civilizatons are changed by cultures. Civilizations do not kill cutlures, but cultures kill cultures, the stronger more aggressive ones usually do just that, as I showed in the Chinese culture overcoming mongolian culture while being dominated by mongolian civilization (am I going too fast for you?). May views are not conservative outdated views rather they are views that have withstood the test of time and do not fall easily to a fad of a few decades (which is precisely what politically correct anthropology is). I ask you again to think critically, how many cultures in the great basin do you think existed and were wiped out over the thousands of years of habitation, or do you honestly beleive the cultures all lived in peace with one another? That a "static" existed in which all cultures remained within their own sphere and did not influence or destroy other groups or cultural groups. I think most of the thinking people in this forum will disagree with that premise. I have already shown how the Aztecs and Toltecs (culture and civilization) sought to overthrow other cultures and civilizations (hence Cortez was just better at it "conquering" than they were).

I know a great deal, including working on anthropological sites in South America, I dare say you do not have the same experience. I might also suggest that you do not take, hook line and sinker everthing fed to you. It was a rude awakening when it occured to me. You need to think more critically and stay away from jargon, its a sign of empty headedness.

[This message has been edited by Baldar (edited October 31, 2002).]


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Brian
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Baldar,

I've noticed this before, and it seems to be consistent, so I'll ask: Why do you spell neanderthal without the 'h'? Is that the way it is spelled in German, or are you spelling 'by ear'? Or are you deliberately spelling it that way in a campaign to have it changed?


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Baldar
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In Germany (and I always thought generally, but thats because I have generally not really looked at the word), it was spelled without the "th" but still holds an almost th sound. My campaigns tend to be a bit more "onerous".
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Baldar
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quote:
According to historical data, caveman lived for only slightly over 20 years, and Bible stories of 200-year-old elders are most likely a historical legend, because archeological findings (human teeth, skeletal bones) do not confirm this venerable age. One of the popular science magazines reported on civil registers in the English town of York, in which records had been kept from the VIII-X centuries. Those ancient dossiers, in particular, fixed the dates of birth and death of local citizens. It follows from the records that on the whole the residents of the township lived up to age 38 to 40. A sharp leap forward occurred with the advent of the era of antibiotics: the mean life span immediately increased by 9-10 years, and this is explainable. Recall the history of medicine, when the first surgeons operated their patients in the same frock coats that they wore out of doors.

In my opinion, the best way to extend the human life is to improve the living conditions. This is what the developed countries do now, and the mean life span there has already reached 80 and more years.


From Rem Petrov
Chairman of the Scientific Council, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences

From Scientific American

quote:
Life span is defined as the observed age at death of an individual; maximum lifespan is the highest documented age at death for a species. From time to time we are told of a new highest documented age at death, as in the celebrated case of Madame Jeanne Calment of France who died at the age of 122.3 Although such an extreme age at death is exceedingly rare, the maximum life span of humans has continued to increase because world records for longevity can move in only one direction: higher. Despite this trend, however, it is almost certainly true that, at least since recorded history, people could have lived as long as those alive today if similar technologies, lifestyles and population sizes had been present. It is not people that have changed; it is the protected environments in which we live and the advances made in biomedical sciences and other human institutions that have permitted more people to attain, or more closely approach, their life-span potential.4 Longevity records are entertaining, but they have little relevance to our own lives because genetic, environmental and lifestyle diversity5 guarantees that an overwhelming majority of the population will die long before attaining the age of the longest-lived individual.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3Allard M, Lebre V, Robine JM., Calment J. Jeanne Calment: From Van Gogh’s time to ours: 122 extraordinary years. W.H. Freeman & Co.: New York; 1998.

4Carnes BA, Olshansky SJ, Grahn D. Continuing the search for a law of mortality. Popul Dev Rev. 1996;22(2):231-264.

5Finch C, Kirkwood TBL. Chance, Development, and Aging. Oxford University Press; 2000.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


So we know that life spans were shorter, not longer than they are today, for the reasons stated above.

[This message has been edited by Baldar (edited October 31, 2002).]


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Crazy Eddie
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Animist,

You mentioned Jared Diamond's work in your previous postings. Are you familiar with his excellent book [u]Guns, Germs, and Steel]/u]? In it, he analyzes a number of non-cultural reasons (geography, locally domesticable plants and animals, etc.) which argues explain the dominance of Eurasian civilizations over those from other regions? This might prove more significant that a culturally-based argument suggesting that Eurasian culture conquered the world because of our insistence that ours is the only correct lifestyle.

Furthermore, we are by no means the only culture to take this attitude. Consider the Roman occupation of Judea as one example, and consider the recent extreme Islamic fanaticism as another. (Unfortunately, my Eastern Hemisphere history is a little weak, if anyone can provide examples from that region it would be much appreciated.) The reason that only the Anglo-American culture has exerted such unparalleled dominance over most of the world is simple: Only now is the technological base required to project such power available, and we got here first. It would surprise me very much if the Anglo-American culture was the only one to hold such world power, but we cannot tell what the future may hold.

Regards,
Crazy Eddie


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Animist
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Eddie:

Modern Anglo-American culture is a continuation of Roman culture. Our culture began 10,000 years ago. We of modern America represent one subculture - in time and in geography - of that same culture.

I have read Guns Germs and Steel...I'm still not sure what to make of it. I think some of Diamond's generalizations are off, including his descriptions of murder rates among band/tribal peoples, which vary from tribe to tribe: some have very high murder rates, like the Gebusi or Copper Eskimo, others have significantly smaller rates, like the Mbuti or Siriono (see Warless Societies and the Origin of War), while murder was all but unknown among the Arapesh and the Semai.

The idea that the natural tendency of humankind has always been toward global civilization, despite the fact that we lived without it for 99% of our history, doesn't make any sense to me either. If anyone suggested that there was a specific social structure for chimpanzees or babboons or ants that was radically different from the ones they have now, but which geographical conditions just hadn't yet been right for they would be laughed at; the idea is absurd. (Hey look, Baldar, I'm rejecting the words of an expert).

This being said I'm not particularly qualified to argue with as experienced and distinguished an anthropologist as Jared Diamond, and in most other GG&S is an absolute treasure trove.

Baldar: I'm tired. I'll get to you tomorow (though I think we've almost reached the agree-to-disagree stage, since it doesn't seem we're ever going to agree about anything pertaining to this topic).

[This message has been edited by Animist (edited November 02, 2002).]


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