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Is man hard-wired to fail?
Posted: 27 October 2008 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - are they any different today than they were a million years ago?
Yes, we have become more clever about justifying our behavior but where, trully, is our positive progress?
Perhaps the head brute in the cave was a nice guy? (He certainly was not a liar.)

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Human nature has not changed at all in the last 10,000 years. However, civilization now regards murder and war with much less sympathy than it did 5,000 years ago.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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If humans are hardwired to do anything it is to eat,and reproduce.There is NO hardwiring to improve.There is hardwiring to seek knowledge and invent,but this has not progressed man into any better conditions.If anything the tools of warfare and pollution counteract any tools of betterment.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Chris Crawford - 27 October 2008 01:03 PM

Human nature has not changed at all in the last 10,000 years. However, civilization now regards murder and war with much less sympathy than it did 5,000 years ago.

5000 years ago,one man may have killed one man.Or two men may have killed five people.Or twenty men may have killed 10 people.
Today,millions of the Earths inhabitants can witness the deaths of millions of other inhabitants.Then they can go down to the store and choose which kind of baked beans would go best with their casserole.I don’t know about the"much less sympathy"part!

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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OK, first, there’s no question that just about everybody, even most of the poor, are living better lives than our ancestors were living 10,000 years ago. I don’t think that question is debatable, but if you want to make that case, fire away.

There is also no question that the propensity to war is much reduced. The only thing that has increased is the destructive power of war. I’ll grant that this makes things potentially worse—but not actually worse. At least, not until a general thermonuclear war starts.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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VYAZMA - 27 October 2008 12:50 PM
Socrate’s pupil - 27 October 2008 11:01 AM

I am not looking to argue the point. I happen to believe we have not.
Perhaps communication needs to be refined here?

Socrate’s Pupil,I agree with you 100%.Any “improvements” anyone can cite can be counter balanced by the continued degredation of the earth and mankind.
Advancements in healthcare are redundant.Overall suffering from disease has not declined.MRI machines are not an improvement to mankind.They are a diagnostic tool.If disease or suffering can be prevented from diagnosis or treatment the number of people with disease and suffering is still not reduced.
There is more conflict around the world in the last 50 years than ever before.Conflict involving death and destruction.
If,say in the 1500’s people were dying en masse due to starvation,there was nothing,logistically,that could be done for it.Today millions are still dying from malnourishment,and the logistical possibilities we have today are overwhelming.
In the last 60 years we have all lived under the shadow of nuclear weapons.Killing machines that indiscriminately kill large amounts of people.Man knew this was wrong at the time of there invention.
We must be careful not to judge mankinds self-betterment in terms of camera equipped cell phones,or AIDS clinics,or a Chinese astronaut shaking hands with a Polish astronaut in some spacestation.
The UN has been chartered now for around 60 years.It is a lofty sounding organization,what a concept.Yet what has it really done?
Be careful before you answer,because any thing you cite can almost surely bolster the the fact that mankind has not bettered itself.
And if you put the improvement thing on a sliding scale in relation to knowledge,scientific advancement,experience etc…then it surely proves that mankind is in fact deteriorating.

Here are more supporting arguments.How are we living better than people from 5000 years ago?What?We can brush our teeth?We have mattresses and indoor plumbing,instead of a straw or grass bed?How is this living better?Creature comforts or advancements in healthcare,do not imply the betterment of humankind on a humanistic,or any other method of determination.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Chris Crawford - 27 October 2008 01:25 PM

OK, first, there’s no question that just about everybody, even most of the poor, are living better lives than our ancestors were living 10,000 years ago. I don’t think that question is debatable, but if you want to make that case, fire away.

There is also no question that the propensity to war is much reduced. The only thing that has increased is the destructive power of war. I’ll grant that this makes things potentially worse—but not actually worse. At least, not until a general thermonuclear war starts.

I’m just guessing here,but I believe I’m right:WWII killed more people than all the wars fought previously by mankind put together.If it wasn’t more people killed,then it was close enough to be horribly disproportianate.Yes,I mean all wars too.Egyptians,Greeks,all the way back.
How can you say the propensity to war is much reduced?Hunh?I’m sorry,am I missing something?
One!One small example.What was the US defense budget in 1905?In todays dollars.What is the US defense budget today?

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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VYAZMA - 27 October 2008 01:34 PM

Here are more supporting arguments.How are we living better than people from 5000 years ago?What?We can brush our teeth?We have mattresses and indoor plumbing,instead of a straw or grass bed?How is this living better?Creature comforts or advancements in healthcare,do not imply the betterment of humankind on a humanistic,or any other method of determination.

Demonstrably better standards of living and much longer lives, less disease.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Vyazma, WWII killed 70 million. While this made it the most lethal war in history, it most certainly does not top the total; the Thirty Years War alone killed 30 million.

The crucial aspect that you are overlooking here is the per capita values of all these numbers. Yes, more people died of malaria this year than in, say, 800 CE. But that’s because there are a lot more people these days. The RATE at which people are dying of malaria is much lower than previously. The same thing goes for all the other numbers you cite. By every measure of human welfare, the per capita value has improved. That’s what is important. People today really are better off—MUCH better off—than they were in the past.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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dougsmith - 27 October 2008 01:47 PM
VYAZMA - 27 October 2008 01:34 PM

Here are more supporting arguments.How are we living better than people from 5000 years ago?What?We can brush our teeth?We have mattresses and indoor plumbing,instead of a straw or grass bed?How is this living better?Creature comforts or advancements in healthcare,do not imply the betterment of humankind on a humanistic,or any other method of determination.

Demonstrably better standards of living and much longer lives, less disease.

Again this mainly centers around comfy sofas,air-conditioning and improvements in healthcare.None of these are really standards that are relative to the betterment of Mankind on a humanistic level.In fact,most of these are improvements which are enjoyed by relatively few Earthlings.So,these “advancements"have just widened the gulf between the wretched and the industrialized.
We will only be shouting past one another if we center our arguments around creature comforts and healthcare.
The title of this thread “Is man hardwired to fail” calls up the question as to whether we as humans have improved our habitat and existance,or have we degraded it,or has it basically stayed the same.
Longer lives is not a standard.It could also be viewed as a detractor.
With the lessening of disease,what is accomplished?Less mortality,less pain?Sure,but there are other sources of pain and suffering which are far more easy to prevent.Hunger,war,poverty-all within our means of remedy.But these are not being remedied.New diseases continue to crop-up…AIDS,Bird Flu,etc…

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Posted: 27 October 2008 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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VYAZMA - 27 October 2008 02:05 PM

Again this mainly centers around comfy sofas,air-conditioning and improvements in healthcare.None of these are really standards that are relative to the betterment of Mankind on a humanistic level.In fact,most of these are improvements which are enjoyed by relatively few Earthlings.So,these “advancements"have just widened the gulf between the wretched and the industrialized.

No VYAZMA, these advances are worldwide. See

 

Longer lives is not a standard.It could also be viewed as a detractor.
With the lessening of disease,what is a

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Posted: 27 October 2008 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Chris Crawford - 27 October 2008 01:54 PM

Vyazma, WWII killed 70 million. While this made it the most lethal war in history, it most certainly does not top the total; the Thirty Years War alone killed 30 million.

The crucial aspect that you are overlooking here is the per capita values of all these numbers. Yes, more people died of malaria this year than in, say, 800 CE. But that’s because there are a lot more people these days. The RATE at which people are dying of malaria is much lower than previously. The same thing goes for all the other numbers you cite. By every measure of human welfare, the per capita value has improved. That’s what is important. People today really are better off—MUCH better off—than they were in the past.

If per capita values come into play here,then we are not on the same page.What is the per capital value of people today that can read?That can reason with knowledge of current events and participate in politics and establishment?What is that per capita value?
And how does it figure in,in todays(past 150 years ie.)world.You would think that many more malaises would be eradicated.
Please don’t steer the argument.I have previously made my points in clear,definable examples.I haven’t overlooked anything.
We are arguing about two seperate conditions.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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VYAZMA - 27 October 2008 02:05 PM

Again this mainly centers around comfy sofas,air-conditioning and improvements in healthcare.None of these are really standards that are relative to the betterment of Mankind on a humanistic level.In fact,most of these are improvements which are enjoyed by relatively few Earthlings.So,these “advancements"have just widened the gulf between the wretched and the industrialized.

No VYAZMA, these advances are worldwide, with the exception of sub-saharan Africa. See e.g. the Wiki page on measuring poverty: “The percentage of the world’s population living on less than $1 per day has halved in twenty years.”

I wouldn’t ridicule air conditioning either. Something on the order of 35,000 people died in the 2003 European heat wave. This is no joke.

VYAZMA - 27 October 2008 02:05 PM

Longer lives is not a standard.It could also be viewed as a detractor.
With the lessening of disease,what is accomplished?Less mortality,less pain?Sure,but there are other sources of pain and suffering which are far more easy to prevent.Hunger,war,poverty-all within our means of remedy.But these are not being remedied.New diseases continue to crop-up…AIDS,Bird Flu,etc…

That’s a rather paternalistic attitude. Most people would love to lead longer, healthier lives, and to have comforts like good beds and air conditioning in the summer heat, running water, sanitation, clean food, et cetera. It’s easy to pooh-pooh these amazing advances given that you enjoy them every day. The fact that the entire world does not yet enjoy them is of great concern, however that does not argue that they were not great advances.

As to the other sources of pain and suffering that you note, I have been focusing on two of them: hunger and poverty, both of which have declined in the last couple of centuries. War, it is true, is a threat to us all. At least we have been so far able to avoid a worldwide calamity in the last six decades or so.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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dougsmith - 27 October 2008 02:10 PM
VYAZMA - 27 October 2008 02:05 PM

Again this mainly centers around comfy sofas,air-conditioning and improvements in healthcare.None of these are really standards that are relative to the betterment of Mankind on a humanistic level.In fact,most of these are improvements which are enjoyed by relatively few Earthlings.So,these “advancements"have just widened the gulf between the wretched and the industrialized.

No VYAZMA, these advances are worldwide. See

 

Longer lives is not a standard.It could also be viewed as a detractor.
With the lessening of disease,what is a

Doug,I think something went wrong with this post.I saw a graph to click on but it disappeared before I could read it.

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Posted: 27 October 2008 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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VYAZMA - 27 October 2008 02:20 PM

Doug,I think something went wrong with this post.I saw a graph to click on but it disappeared before I could read it.

The software screwed up the graph; it was from the wiki page I cited. Just go there in my previous post and you’ll see the graphs over on the right.

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