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On the topic at hand, if I were to speculate why European societies have fared better than African societies, I think the best theory I've read is that it isn't a biological story about race but a political-economic story about different ecological zones. Technological-progress and industry develop faster among societies in temparate climates and are consistently stunted in tropical climates ... practically as a rule with few exceptions. That some racial features also vary by tropical vs. temparate environment (skin color being an obvious one) is then something of an incidental side-effect and not helpful to understanding what's really going on. Rather than risk messing up the argument by trying to recall it myself, I'll just post the paper where I read it (a .pdf file):

 

www.proses.sciences-po.fr/documents/Sachs_Tropical_Underdevelopment.pdf

 

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Why would they bring them [Neandrethal] back?

 

Why *wouldn't* they want to bring them back?

Man, if I were a geneticist I would try it.

 

I think it's nice karma for humans to start bringing species back from extinction now that they've effectively instigated the latest mass extinction event, and I feel like we have a particular debt to owe in whiping out neandrethal, not just some random species but an intellegent, communicating social animal like ourselves.

 

Also, I think it would help give people a perspective on what humanity really means in the grand scheme of things, to finally have a non-human, intelligent species we can communicate with. It might help us not be so anthropocentric with everything and keep making the mistake that we are the center of the universe or something, sort of in the same line as discovering intellegent alien life. I think it would have a pretty immediate and big impact on how humans think about themselves for the better.

Edited by demagogue

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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What would we do with them? Put them in a wildlife park, so we can go and gawk at them living like they lived 50,000 years ago, or put them in suits and send them off to work?

We'd have to keep them artificially alive as well. They already died out once because they weren't good enough, and the same would happen again if we didn't keep an eye on them.

I can't see the point in bringing back inferior species, they'd just be a curiosity, a freak parade, we wouldn't gain a sense of perspective from them at all, because they're our very close cousins anyway, we branched off from the same ancestor, so it's not as if they evolved their level of intelligence independently, they just took one path and we took another - the best one.

It wouldn't even have much academic value for anthropologists, since we'd have to raise them and teach them how to survive, so they'd be so heavily tainted by us, they wouldn't be real neanderthals.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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I hate to say it, but I have to agree with Oddity about the Neanderthals. At best, if we recreated their species on a large enough scale to be self-sustaining, I'd doubt they'd be able to integrate into our society. Despite what Geico might lead you to believe, Neanderthals would probably only be barely smart enough to function in society as it is. Neanderthals were wiped out more so because they were an evolutionary dead end, than due to our pushing them off the map.

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oDDity:

 

I can't see the point in bringing back inferior species, they'd just be a curiosity, a freak parade, we wouldn't gain a sense of perspective from them at all, because they're our very close cousins anyway, we branched off from the same ancestor, so it's not as if they evolved their level of intelligence independently, they just took one path and we took another - the best one.

 

 

We have no way of knowing whether our intelligence is superior to the Neanderthals. Both organisms used tools and complex hunting techniques, both created art and seemed to have primitive "belief" systems (evidence of abstract thinking). To assume that one's mental abilities were "superior" is to put the cart before the horse: We think better therefore we survived. Not so fast.

 

Its quite possible that the Neanderthals were better thinkers, but maybe they only mated during two seasons a year, like common chimps do today. Homo sapiens sapiens can mate year round, its quite possible we simply crowded out the Neanderthals. There was a cartoon about this somewhere, a Neanderthal husband is complaining to his wife that those damned dumbass sapiens sapiens were breeding like rabbits and taking over the neighborhood. That could be exactly what happened.

Edited by Maximius
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demo:

On the topic at hand, if I were to speculate why European societies have fared better than African societies...

 

 

You should read "Plagues and People", it describes that theory to the letter. Essentially, equatorial Africa is a paradise for microorganisms. Including infectious ones that target humans. So anytime a group of humans in equ. africa managed to get along well enough to increase their population, they would get hit by plagues as they penetrated into new territories, encountered new peoples with different diseases, or when the bugs mutated themselves, which they do rapidly in the hot wet climate. Time and time again, african cultures would rise to a certain point then whammo, they would encounter a bug they had no resistance to and their population would dwindle for a time.

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

demo:

 

I think it's nice karma for humans to start bringing species back from extinction now that they've effectively instigated the latest mass extinction event, and I feel like we have a particular debt to owe in whiping out neandrethal, not just some random species but an intellegent, communicating social animal like ourselves.

 

Also, I think it would help give people a perspective on what humanity really means in the grand scheme of things, to finally have a non-human, intelligent species we can communicate with. It might help us not be so anthropocentric with everything and keep making the mistake that we are the center of the universe or something, sort of in the same line as discovering intellegent alien life. I think it would have a pretty immediate and big impact on how humans think about themselves for the better.

 

 

I disgree demo, we would probably enslave them for "their own good" and sell them to McDonalds for their labor force. If humans treat humans like we do, and non-human animals like we do, what horrors would await an intelligent, conscious being who was considered only kind of human?

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oDDity:

 

I can't see the point in bringing back inferior species, they'd just be a curiosity, a freak parade, we wouldn't gain a sense of perspective from them at all, because they're our very close cousins anyway, we branched off from the same ancestor, so it's not as if they evolved their level of intelligence independently, they just took one path and we took another - the best one.

We have no way of knowing whether our intelligence is superior to the Neanderthals. Both organisms used tools and complex hunting techniques, both created art and seemed to have primitive "belief" systems (evidence of abstract thinking). To assume that one's mental abilities were "superior" is to put the cart before the horse: We think better therefore we survived. Not so fast.

 

Its quite possible that the Neanderthals were better thinkers, but maybe they only mated during two seasons a year, like common chimps do today. Homo sapiens sapiens can mate year round, its quite possible we simply crowded out the Neanderthals. There was a cartoon about this somewhere, a Neanderthal husband is complaining to his wife that those damned dumbass sapiens sapiens were breeding like rabbits and taking over the neighborhood. That could be exactly what happened.

 

 

No you're completely wrong.

It's quite clear that neanderthals did not have the powerful cognitive and reasoning abilities that we do. They had primitive communication abilities, far below ours. They did not know how to tailor clothes for example, which meant they could not survive on the tundra during the long harsh winters, they were reduced to sheltering in caves for most of the year, they had a very limited set of stone tools compared to us, their hunting was limited to spears, and even though there is evidence that they buried their dead sometimes, there is no evidence it had anything to do with rituals or a belief in an afterlife, it's more likley it was simply getting rid of dead bodies. They basically just dug a shallow pit and coved it with rocks.

And let's not forget that they were a far older species than us, and had more time to evolve.

You have no evidence about their mating habits, it's just wild speculation.

What's not speculation is the rapidity with which we came along and conquered almost every habitat on earth, while they failed to adapt or evolve or expand, and died out.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Here are a few excerpts from some sites I found, my emphasis:

 

"Remains of Neanderthals found associated with tools in France and dated at between 31,000 and 34,000 years old, overlap with the earliest remains of modern humans from the same area! The fact that we are the only extant species of our genus has contributed to our distorted opinion of superiority, yet the fossil skeletons of modern man and Neanderthals found in the same vicinity and time at Saint Cezaire suggest a period when two intelligent beings coexisted (Parker, 1992)! Further, primitive, but modern human fossils found at Jebel Qafzeh, near Nazareth, Israel, are 100,000 years old, while Neanderthal remains from the Kebara cave, on Mount Carmel, are 60,000 years old (Parker, 1992), giving the impression of these two creatures living side by side for 40,000 years with no apparent interbreeding (Wilson & Cann, 1992). Another implication derived from this finding is that modern humans did not evolve from Neanderthals (Reader, 1988). Other fossil finds of Neanderthals and modern humans found on Mount Carmel are 120,000 and 100,000 years old respectively. These early humans thus lived in the same area as Neanderthals during the same time. From this perspective, humans are NOT the only species that have developed culture, intelligence, language and self-awareness. Neanderthals were skilled

hunters and craftsmen who made tools, used fire, cared for their sick and injured and even had a few symbolic notions, probably with some facility for language."

 

http://www.ecotao.com/holism/hu_neand.htm#neand

 

"Today, comparable pitches can easily be produced with modern technical methods, i.e. using air- tight laboratory flasks and temperature control facilities. However, any attempt at simulating the conditions of the Neandertal period and at producing these birch pitches without any of these modern facilities will soon be met with many difficulties. This implies that the Neandertals did not come across these pitches by accident but must have produced them with intent. Conscious action is, however, always a clear sign of considerable technical capabilities."

 

http://eja.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/4/3/385

 

"Danielle Schreve: This is giving us a really important insight into Neanderthal behaviour because for so long they've been viewed as having a very limited capacity, they've been described as the most marginal of scavengers We're now starting to put together a pretty impressive repository of information which tells us that in fact they were cooperative, they used planning, they had foresight, they were going down to the site knowing that they were going to find an animal there or a carcass. They would have had an intimate knowledge of their landscape and used features in the landscape such as the abandoned meander that's present at Lynford to drive these animals into the marsh, to tire them out and then to finish them off."

 

and then

 

"Danielle Schreve: It's true that Neanderthals were around for about a quarter of a million years and their technology is relatively unchanging. We have to be a bit careful here because obviously there are parts of the record that we may not be seeing. For example, the organic parts such as wooden artefacts or bone artefacts that may not have survived. We have no knowledge of, for example, whether they were using things like nets or poisons. These things are possible but we have no evidence of them being preserved. In terms of their stone tool technology, yes, they are relatively static in that sense, but something like a hand axe has frequently been described as an old Stone Age Swiss army knife, it does the job absolutely perfectly."

 

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stori...006/1742029.htm

 

"Neanderthals lived between 230,000 and 28,000 years ago in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

 

They were skilled hunters and well-adapted to living during the ice ages.

 

But they started to die out after modern humans (Cro-Magnons) appeared on the scene in Europe about 40,000 years ago.

 

Millions of tools from both tribes of ancient people have been found. The Neanderthals made mainly flake-based tools but the Cro-Magnons created long, slender stone implements as well as carved bone and antler."

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2884801.stm

 

"A flint object with a striking likeness to a human face may be one of the best examples of art by Neanderthal man ever found, the journal Antiquity reports."

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3256228.stm

 

and here are some pages about the Neanderthal flute controversy. I think Bob Fink is right, thats a lot of coincidences to say animals gnawed holes in a bone that are perfectly aligned to produce musical notes when air is blown through it.

 

http://www.greenwych.ca/chewchip.htm

 

http://cogweb.ucla.edu/ep/FluteDebate.html

 

 

My point in mentioning the possibility of different mating cycles was to illustrate a point, namely that something other than s. sapiens "superior" intelligence could account for our surviving and the Neanderthals dying out. They were not a far older species than we were, we both branched off from the chimps about 5 to 7 million years ago according to the first website I listed.

 

 

Edit: I just found this site, it is a clearinghouse for Neanderthal resources

 

http://www-geology.ucdavis.edu/~cowen/Hist...anderthals.html

Edited by Maximius
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I guess my problem with speculation on why European society have "fared better" is that you are only looking on a extremely short term, say the past 1000 years, if even that. I would say that this would not be an evolutionary difference in recent years, since people of negroid physical characteristics are no different outside of the habitat of Africa, but instead of the inherent problems with the area they occupy in modern day. I would certainly not argue that they are currently the world power, but I think that it's a very eurocentric view to think things couldn't change in the next 500 years. In this respect we are discussing cultural evolution not biological. I would place the stage of African culture (with exceptions not included) in a equivilent stage to the dakr ages of Europe, with much internal strife. I see no reason why they couldn't rise above that though.

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My first reaction to the Neandrethal possibility was like oDDity's ... but I saw some ethicist give some impassioned case for bringing them back, and I thought I'd try to reflect some of it just to get it out there.

I'm not sure I can believe what I said, though.

 

To give some perspective, I think human clones, as long as some very important details about identity and health issues could be taken care of, could get along ok.

I think Neandrethal clones have the capacity to get along; I mean, considering the bell-curve mental capacity of most humans they don't seem that far down.

 

But I can't help think that, if they became a community, they would be increasingly isolated from the economy around them -- they can only breed with one another. And as we all know, any time a community isolates itself from the global economy around it, it's in for pretty a wretched living standard ... but this time without much hope for later integration. This is even putting aside where they could even live as a community (to stick with the racially charged speculating, we could give them a slice of Palestine or West Africa, a little money, and a pat on the back: Good Luck; or we could try to integrate them into a developed State and jam them right into the social security network). Most of our historical experience and intuition says any way we'd try to fix it would be trouble.

 

This is still somewhat in the realm of speculation though. The counter-story would be something like Alien Nation, where an alien slave ship lands on earth and the alien community becomes integrated into earth political economies. It seems like it's possible in a modern society to pull something like that off. 150 years ago people questioned whether other races (by which they meant Italians and Irish) could ever integrate into American society, much less Africans (where people questioned it less than 40 years ago), but today it's not a problem. We might be surprised how it could work. I'm willing to think about at good arguments for it, but in the end like most everyone else I'm skeptical.

 

What's still kind of hardcore about it is that ... there's lots of reasons *not* to bring them back, but if they ever were we might be in a can of shit because we couldn't treat them like just any other animal. Some maverick geneticist could pull it off and a lot of people would probably feel compelled to do something. And I still don't doubt that it would have a pretty big effect on how humans think about their place in the universe. It reminds me of a story about how Carl Sagan wanted to pull off an alien signal hoax just to enlighten people, but knew that too many smart people would figure out the hoax. I think Neandrethal could have a similar effect, but the price, or at least the risk, is too great to actually pull it off.

 

By the way, as an aside, I was interested to learn that they recently discovered a non-human homonid that lived on the earth as recently as 12,000 years ago in Paupa New Guinea, Homo Floresiensis, alongside human communities (and if you believe local folk lore, which tells about the hobbit like community, they were last seen less than 300 years ago when Europeans arrived; also, confirmation of a "discovery" is apparently still pending).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis

Edited by demagogue

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I guess my problem with speculation on why European society have "fared better" ....I see no reason why they couldn't rise above that though.

 

I've always been told and believed that the African nations would never be able to catch up with the West, given our advanced technology and la de da. But about a month ago on the BBC there was a piece about how South Africa is going to become one of the first nations to allow the transfer of money via cellphones. Basically, cell phones can be a portable ATM, you can send credits from the bank to one, then one to another or whatever. This is going to make access to national financial networks readily available to people who were formerly cut off from such due to isolation or nomadic traveling. So small farmers can get microloans from an agency over their phone, small businesses can carry on trade without driving miles to the bank.

 

I found it interesting because, while it certainly isn't going to solve all of the problems of South Africa let alone the rest of the continent, it does seem to offer some opportunities for development in places where it was unthinkable only a decade or so ago. It will be crappy Cowboy Capitalist development but development nevertheless. Another story I heard recently was about how Nigerians are notorious for conducting internet schemes, all kinds of stuff from fake college loans to romantic con jobs. There are criminal rings that span two continents and transfer untold amounts of money from the US to Nigeria. So at least some place in Africa aren't languishing in the past, they are already in motion seizing opportunities today.

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dem:

My first reaction to the Neandrethal possibility was like oDDity's ... but I saw some ethicist give some impassioned case for bringing them back, and I thought I'd try to reflect some of it just to get it out there.

I'm not sure I can believe what I said, though.

 

 

I would not mind seeing one or two brought back, as long as they were treated well and "humanely" but only the Devil knows what kinds of problems would arise. Surely some religious fundamentalists would call for their deaths as abominations or something. But it would be wildly interesting to see one of our nearest relatives, closer than chimps, alive and looking back at you.

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I don't have much to add to this except for a small request... Maximius, when you quote someone, please use the quote button (or manually add [ quote ] tags). It gets a bit annoying having to figure out which bits of your post you're quoting and which bits you wrote. Thanks.

 

Carry on. :)

My games | Public Service Announcement: TDM is not set in the Thief universe. The city in which it takes place is not the City from Thief. The player character is not called Garrett. Any person who contradicts these facts will be subjected to disapproving stares.
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demo:

On the topic at hand, if I were to speculate why European societies have fared better than African societies...

You should read "Plagues and People", it describes that theory to the letter.

 

Also, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Diamond makes a pretty convincing argument that the rise of Western nations came about due to differences in the environments, not biological differences in the people.

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On the other hand, the large studies that were done on mitochondrial DNA a few years ago, which took thousands of DNA samples from all over the world, clearly showed a large split between africans and non-africans. It basically showed that th rest of the population of the world split off from africa maybe 40,000 years ago.

This is due to the Sahara Desert acting as a regulator, letting people through in colder wetter climates and then cutting them off again.

40,000 years is a huge percentage of our total lifespan, so I find it odd that anyone would completely deny even the possibility that any small difference in evolution of intelligence could have occurred in that time.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Another story I heard recently was about how Nigerians are notorious for conducting internet schemes, all kinds of stuff from fake college loans to romantic con jobs. There are criminal rings that span two continents and transfer untold amounts of money from the US to Nigeria.

I know, I did a small report on this at Uni. I do'nt know what it is with Nigeria specifically - as far as I can tell, it might have something to do with the way the banks work, and they use these exploits to con you.

 

In fact, I've been approached by at least two online so far, they fully sent me photos, told me all about themselves, one of them even kept chatting with me for several days, trying to build up a relationship. Then she sprung the question - "I have a large sum of money I need to transfer and I need someone's bank account to do it. Can you hold it for me?" Buh-bow. Unfortunately for her I had done the report and know exactly how that works. For whatever reason, they need to store hundreds or even thousands of dollars in your account, and they will send you a cheque. The cheque is from the Western Union bank in Nigeria. You're supposed to bank this check, and the funds will be released immediately. Then they will ask you for a small portion of that money back, because they don't need it all right away, or whatever. Then a few days later, the Western Union bank finally discovers the cheque is fraudulant, and holds you accountable for the full amount on the cheque.

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What Nigerians do or don't' do today has nothing to with it it. They've gotten everything they have from contact with us. Otherwise they'd still be living in mud huts and hunting with nothing more advanced than spears.

In other words, not much more advanced than neanderthals.

IF you'd gone to Nigeria 500 years ago you'd have seen pretty much the same picture as 50,000 years ago.

The subsequent slavery that occurred was inevitable. Taking them as slaves and putting them to work was seen as no more than hitching oxen to a plough.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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They've gotten everything they have from contact with us. Otherwise they'd still be living in mud huts and hunting with nothing more advanced than spears.
I think you're missing the point about the shape of the continents: The rate of technological advance in a group of trading societies is largely dependent on the number of people in that group. If you have a small isolated society, it will languish and be slow to advance. If you have a large number of societies that can engage in trade with each other, ideas will easily spread, reducing redundant work, and allowing their technology and understanding of the world to advance far more rapidly.

 

In the past, trade and spread of technologies tended to occur east/west rather than north/south, due to how the climate tends to change with latitude. For example, advances in farming tend to be only applicable to the same latitude that they originated on; if you find a better way of growing wheat, it's only applicable to climates (latitudes) in which wheat can grow.

 

Combining these two ideas, continents that are east/west oriented will have larger trade groups, and thus faster advances in technology, whereas north/south oriented continents will have stagnating technology, due to inhibited trade. Thus it would be expected that people living in Eurasia would have more trade and thus experience more rapid technological change than people in continents like Africa or America.

 

In the case of Nigeria, you see modern technology facilitating new ways of spreading ideas, often bypassing latitudal barriers. When added to a larger trade group, Nigeria may be able to advance just like anybody else (assuming they aren't held back by the higher disease potential of the tropics). You say that they just get the technology with contact from us, but we got the technology faster than they did because we were in contact with many more civilizations.

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Yes, non-african civilisations, as I pointed out above, there's a large split between them and everyone else for at least 40,000 years, where the populations in Africa languished in pretty much the same environment while everyone else spread out to new environments and had to deal with new challenges and come up with new ideas.

There is then a further split between Eurasia and the rest of Asia.

Let me ask you some questions.

Do you think human brains have been evolving over the last 50,000 years, or do you think they haven't changed at all since the first basic species of modern humans, say, 150,000 years ago (the date is still mostly guesswork)

If yes, then do you think, that given the split between africans and the rest of the population that occurred, 40,000 years ago, . it's possible that the evolution of the brain could have been diffrent in different populations?

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Possible? Yes perhaps, but the evidence doesn't suggest it's the case.

 

First off, your notion that traveling to new environments and facing new challenges is connected with increased cognitive capacity and technical advance is inconsistent with reality. For example, native Americans evolved from Asians, and have explored more new and challenging environments than either Asians or Europeans. And yet I haven't heard of studies to suggest that they're smarter than everybody else, and their technology certainly wasn't as advanced as the Europeans who invaded America. Similarly, Australian aborigines have traveled to one of the most harsh and remote places on Earth, and coped with a wider range of new challenges than any Europeans. By your logic every single native Australian should be a veritable Einstein and they should have been colonizing Mars before Europeans ever discovered Australia. But the lack of technical knowledge on the part of native Americans and Australians is consistent with the notion of inhibited trade and disadvantageous continental shapes and climates.

 

You point to Africa's lack of technology as proof of limited brain capacity. While limited brain capacity would result in limited technology, so would the vertical shape of the continent and the fact that it's tropical. Thus one cannot reasonably conclude that the limited technology implies limited brains (affirming the consequent). Furthermore, though I'm not aware of studies comparing African and European intelligence, my own personal anecdotal experience from programming projects is inconsistent with the notion of African people having lower intelligence.

 

Climate and geography provide an explanation for Africa's stagnation that is more consistent with my experiences and knowledge, so I'm more inclined to believe it.

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One more quick point I'd like to add. The technological advantage the West holds is in large measure a result of, well, the technological advantage the West holds. Not superior brains or culture or whatever. What I mean is that technology now drives the pace of innovation, not the human mind.

 

Sure, minds conceive of the technology and create it in the world, but the rate of change is no longer *as* dependent on humans coming up with new ideas. The rapidity of technological change drives the rapidity of technological change, or alternately change comes so quickly that there will always be a new idea ready to push the envelope.

 

So when some new change comes along, rather than languishing in obscurity as the steam engine did for thousands of years or the compass, its swept right up into the stream of technological development. Im not saying this process is utterly efficient, not at all, nor am I saying that the old is always cast aside without hesitation. What I am saying is that its a process now with its own internal logic and timescale, one that human society is certainly NOT in control of.

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In fact, I've been approached by at least two online so far, they fully sent me photos, told me all about themselves, one of them even kept chatting with me for several days, trying to build up a relationship.

Two? Hehe, I've been approached by these guys dozens of times, and have even played along three times. :laugh: I'm usually a character from Star Trek, complete with Jean Luc Picard passport and everything. The longest I had one trying to work out a plan with me was just over two months. Then he stopped responding, so I asked him if he "finally got it."

 

Here's a fun read on the topic:

http://www.419eater.com/index.htm

 

Be sure to check out the letters archive and especially the trophy room! Kiss your day goodbye, there's a lot to read and laugh at.

 

Edit: One post, in around 7 hours? Guess it worked. ^_^

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The subsequent slavery that occurred was inevitable. Taking them as slaves and putting them to work was seen as no more than hitching oxen to a plough.

 

You know that Africans were enslaving europeans before europeans enslaved Africans? Your whole argument is ridiculous, your making these vast general statements that do not coincide with any evidence.

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