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Re: Cyberlife,evolution-off topic,long.

Note to everyone: This is getting way off topic from dinosaurs, but I 
think it's okay becaue this discussion developed out of a query about 
the relation of paleontology to human activities. If anyone thinks this
discussion is annoying & truly inappropriate, feel free to say so..

On Wed, 2 Aug 1995, Tony Thulborn wrote:

> Note: this message is from Tim at Tony Thulborn's Lab and sentiments 
> expressed herein are his responsibility!
> Sundance - I've never read such elitist garbage in my life! you are 
> obviously viewing the world from your exhalted position as one of the 
> worlds top 5% of consumers when you talk about technology making life 
> "Better". 

Guilty as charged! So what's your definition of better? Am I an elitist 
because I like having a life expectancy of 70+ years, rather than 20-30 yrs?
Maybe I'm an elitist because I like the idea that I'm unlikely to die of 
leprosy, tuberculosis, syphilis, cholera, pneumonia, malaria, etc etc etc.
I might be an elitist because I like living in a society where anyone can 
get an education, where I'm free to study physics, paleontology, mathematics,
chemistry, history, biology, engineering, poetry, anthropology, and not 
work all day down in t' coal mine digging for t' coal, where 
technology (specifically the internet) enables me, a relatively ordinary 
run-of-the-mill person (rather than a powerful political or military leader) 
to send my thoughts and opinions to people I have never met, around the 
world, in seconds. That has to be close to the ultimate in freedom of speech.
I could, if I wished, go and live in a commune and grow all my own food, 
make my own clothes, etc, or I could go and live with a tribe of !kung 
bushmen. But because of technology I have that freedom of choice. If it 
weren't for modern technology I would be _forced_ to live a more 
primitive lifestyle, like it or not. Am I an elitist because I think my 
lifestyle is preferable to a more low-tech lifestyle, and because I think 
technology could give everyone in the world, at least the freedom of choice
of lifestyle? If so, then I'm proud to be an elitist.

> You should also go and read some Anthro literature before 
> making pronouncments about the time it takes to survive as a hunter-gatherer,
> real estimates are around the five hours per day mark and that often 
> includes 'hunting' time for men that actually makes little contribution 
> to survival but allows them to enjoy themselves away from the 'pressures' 
> of their society. 

But they're using _spears!_ or even _bows and arrows!_ *GASP* Technology 
rears it's ugly head again! Think about how dreadful the hunt would be if 
they tried to use their bare hands. Once you admit that some technology 
is better than none, why stop there? You have to consider that some 
technologies are better than others. Also, think about the conditions under 
which the hunt occurs, as opposed to, say, sitting in an air-conditioned 
office. Perhaps you'd like to be an eskimo standing over a seal's air 
hole for five hours in freezing winds waiting patiently to make a kill. 
Or if you want to look at some of the megafauna running around when humans 
started to use tools, there's always the chance that you'd be killed by 
your next meal! How many people have been killed by a viscious pile of 

> Personally I can think of no problem that technoplogy 
> has solved where the solution has not led to at least two new and usually 
> worse problems. 

- The railway (leading to long-range food transportation, etc)
- Genetic screening (leading to the ability to detect health problems 
  before they become a serious problem, or identify defects in unborn 
Let me get back to you with more when I'm not in a hurry. :)
> Your medical example, for example, just means that as a 
> species we now carry an enormous load of potential medical problems. Enough
> Tim.

Oh, and what medical treatments do you approve of Tim? Leaches? Maybe 
you'd like it better if anaesthetics had never been invented?
So what's your solution to the 'problem' of potential medical conditions. 
When someone is injured or gets sick should we leave 'em to die slowly, or 
maybe be humane and just shoot 'em? No doubt you object to being given 
medical treatment on principle :)
I'm sure you'll remember that the next time you break a limb, get bitten 
by a spider, or develop a toothache. 

Health, long life, and happiness,

  Sundance O. Bilson-Thompson.     *  "So scorn me for a wolfling, sneer 
   Adelaide, South Australia       * at my orphan scars. But tell me boys
 student Mathematical Physicist    *   what's your excuse? you ET's and 
      and Redhead fanatic.         * your stars!" StarTide Rising -D.Brin