Author Topic: Pope says gays born this way?  (Read 1729 times)

The Brain

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #90 on: May 24, 2018, 03:14:05 pm »
I can imagine that there were some generations between "hey let's plant these seeds here in spring and when we return in the fall we'll have some free food in addtion to our H/G stuff" and "let's live our whole lives within this tiny village and subsist exclusively on gruel".
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grumbler

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #91 on: May 24, 2018, 03:51:16 pm »
I can imagine that there were some generations between "hey let's plant these seeds here in spring and when we return in the fall we'll have some free food in addtion to our H/G stuff" and "let's live our whole lives within this tiny village and subsist exclusively on gruel".

I agree, but would also note that, when settled, improvements you make to heavy tools, living quarters, etc, you can enjoy for more than a week.  Also, I would think that infant mortality is going to be very high in a HG society.
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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #92 on: May 24, 2018, 03:57:06 pm »
Infant mortality is high in any ancient society.  Moving to settled agriculture likely increased disease spread and vulnerability, so probably no great improvement in IM rates.  What did increase under settled agriculture was fertility rates.
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grumbler

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #93 on: May 24, 2018, 04:43:36 pm »
Infant mortality is high in any ancient society.  Moving to settled agriculture likely increased disease spread and vulnerability, so probably no great improvement in IM rates.  What did increase under settled agriculture was fertility rates.

In the longer term, yeah, the increase in disease probably brought down infant survival rates, but that wouldn't have applied to the first peoples to settle down.  I'm just pointing out that there were reasons to settle beyond having to work harder.  People tend to make these things way harder than they are, and treat those who gave up the HG lifestyle as, somehow, idiots.
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Berkut

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #94 on: May 24, 2018, 05:22:25 pm »
Infant mortality is high in any ancient society.  Moving to settled agriculture likely increased disease spread and vulnerability, so probably no great improvement in IM rates.  What did increase under settled agriculture was fertility rates.

In the longer term, yeah, the increase in disease probably brought down infant survival rates, but that wouldn't have applied to the first peoples to settle down.  I'm just pointing out that there were reasons to settle beyond having to work harder.  People tend to make these things way harder than they are, and treat those who gave up the HG lifestyle as, somehow, idiots.

Yeah, there does seem to be this theme that the H/G societies somehow went through something of a setback in total quality of life transitioning to agricultural based societies. I am highly skeptical of that. I suspect H/G life really wasn't all that fucking great to begin with, and probalby was rathre nasty, brutish, and short.

Increase in disease? Sure I don't doubt that that happened.

But what about infant mortality from "Hey look, the baby was born! And....we can't find any food for mom at the moment. Bummer".
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frunk

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #95 on: May 24, 2018, 05:53:59 pm »
Yeah, there does seem to be this theme that the H/G societies somehow went through something of a setback in total quality of life transitioning to agricultural based societies. I am highly skeptical of that. I suspect H/G life really wasn't all that fucking great to begin with, and probalby was rathre nasty, brutish, and short.

Increase in disease? Sure I don't doubt that that happened.

But what about infant mortality from "Hey look, the baby was born! And....we can't find any food for mom at the moment. Bummer".

I think it's also a mistake to think in terms of a typical H/G society.  They'll always be ones that are doing better or worse than the typical, and for some of those an agricultural society (even if worse in the short term than a typical H/G situation) could be a significant improvement.

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #96 on: May 24, 2018, 05:56:03 pm »
There idea that agriculturalists had more food security than hunter gatherers may be incorrect.

Quote
The idea that hunter–gatherer societies experience more frequent famine than societies with other modes of subsistence is pervasive in the literature on human evolution. This idea underpins, for example, the ‘thrifty genotype hypothesis’. This hypothesis proposes that our hunter–gatherer ancestors were adapted to frequent famines, and that these once adaptive ‘thrifty genotypes’ are now responsible for the current obesity epidemic. The suggestion that hunter–gatherers are more prone to famine also underlies the widespread assumption that these societies live in marginal habitats. Despite the ubiquity of references to ‘feast and famine’ in the literature describing our hunter–gatherer ancestors, it has rarely been tested whether hunter–gatherers suffer from more famine than other societies. Here, we analyse famine frequency and severity in a large cross-cultural database, in order to explore relationships between subsistence and famine risk. This is the first study to report that, if we control for habitat quality, hunter–gatherers actually had significantly less—not more—famine than other subsistence modes. This finding challenges some of the assumptions underlying for models of the evolution of the human diet, as well as our understanding of the recent epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917328/
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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #97 on: May 24, 2018, 06:33:08 pm »
I don't think the argument is made that H/G life was objectively great.  Life for most human beings before say 1950 was pretty harsh, and still is for many.  Life under settled ag however, wasn't a great improvement in terms of physical well being however, and in some ways was worse.  Less diverse diet and more disease. CC's quote below also does not surprise me - agriculture historically has not been a highly reliable means of supplying a steady amount of food, due to natural and human caused famine.  H-Gs at least had the advantage of greater mobility when things went bad.

As for grumbler's point:
Quote
People tend to make these things way harder than they are, and treat those who gave up the HG lifestyle as, somehow, idiots.

The argument is really the opposite: those who gave up the HG lifestyle did so because of revolutionary changes in human thought and imagination. 
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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #98 on: May 25, 2018, 08:17:40 am »
One of the main reasons to settle down was to accumulate and guard stuff. The issue is - what stuff was worth accumulating and guarding?

Food itself is one option - there is an obvious benefit to storing a surplus.

Another option is sources of valuable materials, such as obsidian.

Yet another is good camping sites, near steady supplies of water and good hunting and fishing areas.

However, all of these are good for small gatherings - say extended families or clans - but do not require attracting large numbers of people - quite the opposite: the more people, the more problems - that great camping and fishing ground gets too crowded, those valuable materials get worked out, etc.

This is why yet another reason to settle down may have been pivotal - to engage in ceremonies that involved community monument-raising.

The human urge to raise gigantic (for individuals) monuments appears to very ancient; it predates agriculture. It is an obvious sign of increasing social complexity. The theory is that it may have played a role in *causing* social complexity.

This isn't a unique situation - the role of rituals in increasing social complexity is demonstrated in other settings. For example, in some tribal societies in New Guinea, the boundary between "tribe" and "chiefdom", it is speculated, may be approached when tribes engage in "competitive feasting" - raising large numbers of pigs, and inviting a rival tribe to a gigantic feast, ostensibly to appease ancestral spirits. In order to organize such an event, a take-charge member of the tribe - the "Big Man" - rallies, encourages and pressures others in the tribe to raise pigs for the great feast -- stressing how, if they don't, the whole tribe will be shamed before their rivals and the ancestors not appeased. His authority (such as it is) comes purely from his powers of persuasion, but it is possible to see in this the roots of increasing social stratification, where the "Big Man" succeeds in making his authority permanent and enforceable.

Perhaps the series of temples such as Göbekli Tepe (raised, then deliberately buried) demonstrate something somewhat similar to a communial pig feast, and played a similar role in increasing social stratification.   

The Brain

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #99 on: May 25, 2018, 08:26:00 am »
One thing about big stone or earth monuments is that they survive when other things do not. They may well have played a very significant role in the development of societies, but we have a huge blind spot when it comes to all the stuff that simply isn't preserved (or only rarely preserved). If other stuff were equally preserved, would it support, change or invalidate our monument-based theories? There are significant uncertainties here I think.
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Malthus

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #100 on: May 25, 2018, 08:36:07 am »
One thing about big stone or earth monuments is that they survive when other things do not. They may well have played a very significant role in the development of societies, but we have a huge blind spot when it comes to all the stuff that simply isn't preserved (or only rarely preserved). If other stuff were equally preserved, would it support, change or invalidate our monument-based theories? There are significant uncertainties here I think.

A fair point. Naturally, we are going to be biased to what survives, which can lead to errors.

Though to this point, monument-raising is merely the surviving example of a range of activities that make up ceremonialism, most of which of course do not survive.

For example, the theory is that monument-raising is somewhat "like" (say) ritual feasting, as  in the New Guinea example, an activity that leaves little mark in the archaeological record (other than piles of pig bones); one could postulate all sorts of ritual activities that leave no mark at all, but that we know occur in existing societies - ritual dances, community prayers, etc.

We can only speculate as to whether the monument-raisers conducted such activities, but it seems reasonable that they would have, as in other societies we have better evidence for. Without the monuments, of course, the existence of such activities at that time would be a lot more speculative. 

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #101 on: May 25, 2018, 08:38:21 am »
This is why the study of pre-writing humans is so facsinating.

It's like taking an Encyclopedia Britannica, removing 99% of the pages, then trying to figure out what it was trying to say.

We *know* there is just vast amounts of data that is simply not possible to access, but which would, if known, radically change many of our conclusions.
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The Minsky Moment

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #102 on: May 25, 2018, 09:07:09 am »
However, all of these are good for small gatherings - say extended families or clans - but do not require attracting large numbers of people - quite the opposite: the more people, the more problems - that great camping and fishing ground gets too crowded, those valuable materials get worked out, etc. 

Even bigger problems: all that stored food attracts rodents (and disease), lots of people at close quarters spread germs, water supplies get fouled and stagnant. There's a reason why cities are basically death traps until the 20th century.
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alfred russel

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Re: Pope says gays born this way?
« Reply #103 on: May 25, 2018, 09:09:51 am »
One of the main reasons to settle down was to accumulate and guard stuff. The issue is - what stuff was worth accumulating and guarding?

Food itself is one option - there is an obvious benefit to storing a surplus.

Another option is sources of valuable materials, such as obsidian.

Yet another is good camping sites, near steady supplies of water and good hunting and fishing areas.

However, all of these are good for small gatherings - say extended families or clans - but do not require attracting large numbers of people - quite the opposite: the more people, the more problems - that great camping and fishing ground gets too crowded, those valuable materials get worked out, etc.

This is why yet another reason to settle down may have been pivotal - to engage in ceremonies that involved community monument-raising.

The human urge to raise gigantic (for individuals) monuments appears to very ancient; it predates agriculture. It is an obvious sign of increasing social complexity. The theory is that it may have played a role in *causing* social complexity.

This isn't a unique situation - the role of rituals in increasing social complexity is demonstrated in other settings. For example, in some tribal societies in New Guinea, the boundary between "tribe" and "chiefdom", it is speculated, may be approached when tribes engage in "competitive feasting" - raising large numbers of pigs, and inviting a rival tribe to a gigantic feast, ostensibly to appease ancestral spirits. In order to organize such an event, a take-charge member of the tribe - the "Big Man" - rallies, encourages and pressures others in the tribe to raise pigs for the great feast -- stressing how, if they don't, the whole tribe will be shamed before their rivals and the ancestors not appeased. His authority (such as it is) comes purely from his powers of persuasion, but it is possible to see in this the roots of increasing social stratification, where the "Big Man" succeeds in making his authority permanent and enforceable.

Perhaps the series of temples such as Göbekli Tepe (raised, then deliberately buried) demonstrate something somewhat similar to a communial pig feast, and played a similar role in increasing social stratification.   

An alternative theory that leads to the same archeology (such as gobekli tepe) is that the urge to settle down was caused by "military" pressures--valuable campsites, rivers, potential food stores, women, etc. were fought over, and groups would form alliances for such purposes. The groups would come together at points in time and at specific places to renew their alliances, and strategize. Those times and places could be attributed with ritual significance, resulting in the feasts you are mentioning, as well as the temples.
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