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General Discussion >> Thinking Globally >> Why the West Rules ~ For Now
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Message started by freediver on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 7:20am

Title: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 7:20am
In "Why the West Rules ~ For Now, The patterns of history and what they reveal about the future", Ian Morris weaves together the entire history of human civilisation into a coherent and interesting story. To do this, he creates his own social development index to allow comparison of societies separated by both space and time. This is similar in concept to the UN human development index, but simplified to account for the difficulties in obtaining historical information. The index is based on four separate measures (p 148)- total per capita energy use (including food, fossil fuels, etc), urbanism (maximum city population - a proxy measure for organisational capability), information processing and military capacity. These four measures tend to tell the same story.

Although a rough measure, the index highlights some interesting trends - see attached (figure 3.7, p 166). The east lead for a long period - between roughly 540 and 1770. For the entire history of human civilisation prior to 540 CE, the west lead, and has lead since 1770, although the east is now catching up again. In my opinion more interesting: a high level of development was reached in the Roman Empire during the first century CE. The same level was reached by Song dynasty China around 1100, followed by a similar lengthy decline. Both east and west broke through this level arounbd 1700. That is, European civilisation did not reach the same level as during the Roman Empire until 300 years ago.

Morris uses the index to introduce his thoery of a "hard ceiling" that limited development to the same level in the Roman Empire and Song Dynasty. The inability to break through this barrier lead to the eventual collapse of the civilisation and a long period of decline. He credits the recent breaching of this barrier to the heavy use of fossil fuels and industrialisation, which enabled the nomadic culture on the central asian steppes to finally be squeezed out. It was only around this time that a border was established between Russia and China. Prior to this, the nomadic peoples generally had the upper hand in conflict and they played a role in the collapse of just about every major empire. Genghis Khan was one of many.

Morris actually begins the story before 14000 BC, going through pre-modern human species and technology, with a focus on climate change as a key driver. He presents some interesting new evidence of interbreeding between modern humans and neanderthals, whose DNA can be found in Europeans and Asians (but not Africans).

http://www.ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1399971565

Morris presents the 7 key regions around the globe where agriculture developed independently, with the east and the west centred on two of these cores. Morris argues that settlement (permanent villages) came prior to agriculture, with the initiation and rate of development largely determined by the natural suitability of an area. His argument is a subtle form of geographic determinism, including some of the ideas presented by Jared Diamond in "Guns, Germs and Steel". He shows how the western core has gradually moved north and west, while the eastern core has moved east, and at a critical time, south. A key theme is the "changing meaning of geography", which caused the core of each civilisation to move as different geographies were favoured at different stages of social development. For example, the second key stage (cities) arose with agriculture in land that was less suited to the simpler style of agriculture that initially spawned each core. A very similar concept is the "advantage of backwardness", where challenges faced on the 'backward' periphery of civilisation caused new adaptations that improved civilisation and often moved the core, usually creating a massive upheaval in the process (the most direct form being a new empire over-running the old one). Yet another similar concept is that "you cannot cross the same river twice". Literally, this is a reference to the fact that the water you crossed over last time has moved on. This is used as an analogy for the changing meaning of geography, and that an idea or strategy that worked once is not going to work a second time. Civilisation itself canges the context that created civilisation in the first place.

Morris spends considerable time discussing the process by which the cores expanded and moved, settling on an obvious combination of the spread of ideeas and technology and the movement of people, particularly in the early agricultural phases.

Another common theme Morris uses is the five horsemen of the apocalypse - migration, state failure, famine, disease and climate change. The linking of the eastern and western cores by trade sparked a major round of disease that drove down development in both cores (the black plague). However it also eventually lead to the killing of the fifth horseman of the apocalypse (migration) when the two corse expanded to squeeze out the nomadic step
why_the_west_rules_fig_3_7.png (39 KB | 261 )

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 7:21am
Empires had a tendency to expland beyond their natural limits. Victory over a hostile neighbour inevitably lead to the expansion of an empire and conflict with a new, often more hostile and dangerous neighbour.

Morris plays down the role of the individual, arguing that people (in large groups) are pretty much the same everywhere. He even argues that patterns of thought (religion, politics, renaissance etc) were very similar in the east and west and responded to development rather than driving it. That is, "each age gets the thought that it needs". A key exception in the rise of scientific thought in the west.

http://www.ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1404153765

He talks of 'great men' and 'bungling idiots' but argues that history often judges such characters unfairly or gives them too much credit, and that their personal contribution is at most to bring forward or push back a development slightly, or to cause it to arise somewhere else nearby. A good illustration of this is Stigler's law of eponymy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stigler%27s_law_of_eponymy

Stigler's law of eponymy is a process proposed by University of Chicago statistics professor Stephen Stigler in his 1980 publication "Stigler’s law of eponymy".[1] In its simplest and strongest form it says: "No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer." Stigler named the sociologist Robert K. Merton as the discoverer of "Stigler's law", consciously making "Stigler's law" exemplify itself.

Many inventions of the industrial revolution, as well and many contemporary scientific discoveries were made independently by more than one person and can be considered inevitable given the stage of development and the challenges faced.

Expanding on this, Morris frequently returns to what could be his central theme, that history is written by lazy, scared, greedy people looking for an easier way to do things, and that sloth, fear and greed are what has driven the rise of human civilastion.

I see this work as more complimentary to, rather than contradictory of "Why Nations Fail"

http://www.ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1394832229

It is far more broad and far more detailed and seems to have more explanatory power, but less predictive power. Morris spends some time prognosticating, focussing more on the implications of the sharply rising social index that we now face (rather than whether the west or east will win), without ruling in or out a collapse. He borrows Jared Diamond's concept of a "two horse race" between the forces that will raise our standard of living and the forces that threaten to destroy modern civilisation. Overall, he seems optimistic about our ability to face the challenges ahead, but makes you wonder whether whether you want that to happen. He argues that biology makes all groups of people pretty much the same and that history was driven by geography (yet another way of putting it - "maps, not chaps"). Past developments to civilisation have changed the meaning of geopgraphy, while future developments will change the meaning of biology in confronting ways.

Morris argues that although China could have discovered the Americas, geography made it pretty much inevitable the Europeans did first. He does not elaborate on what might have happened to Europe had they not discovered America. This is perhaps where the two authors would differ most. "Why Nations Fail" puts the rise of the British Empire down to factors largely within England, but does credit Atlantic trade with helping to fund the competing interests. Morris appears to put it all down to the geographic luck of being close enough to America. Jared Diamond presents another alternative form of geographic determinism - that the fractured geography of Europe created eternally competing nations/kingdoms that would not unite the way China did, and that this competition made European leadership inevitable. Morris's discussion of China appears to support this, indirectly.

Morris does spend some time speculating what might have happened to China if it had not been swamped by the west, concluding that it would have likely expanded it's economy towards south east asia and be going through an industrial revolution now.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Yadda on Jul 5th, 2014 at 7:16pm

freediver wrote on Jul 3rd, 2014 at 7:20am:
In "Why the West Rules ~ For Now, The patterns of history and what they reveal about the future", Ian Morris



......Yet another similar concept is that "you cannot cross the same river twice". Literally, this is a reference to the fact that the water you crossed over last time has moved on. This is used as an analogy for the changing meaning of geography, and that an idea or strategy that worked once is not going to work a second time. Civilisation itself canges the context that created civilisation in the first place.



Oh no ?


Is this an analogy of the sociological challenges we have 'overcome', to be able to form functional - and large - human communities ?

Does Morris believe that because someone once invented an effective mousetrap, that no-one will every try to build a 'better' mousetrap ?

I don't think his argument has legs.




And we humans [i.e. i mean we accomplished 'Western' man   :D   ] tend to believe that what was [in our distant past], can never come again.

e.g.
Oppression, famine, wars - coz we have so 'moved on' from the structures [or is it the lack of structures ?] that enabled those circumstances.

LOL.

Yeah, right!



"an idea or strategy that worked once is not going to work a second time"....

Because we believe that we are free now - we and our children can never become slaves ?

Because we are wealthy now - we and our children can never suffer hunger ?

Because we have enjoyed relative peaceful societies for decades - we and our children can never suffer the violence of war ?

Presumptuous.





Quote:
.....(rather than whether the west or east will win), without ruling in or out a collapse. He borrows Jared Diamond's concept of a "two horse race" between the forces that will raise our standard of living and the forces that threaten to destroy modern civilisation. Overall, he seems optimistic about our ability to face the challenges ahead, but makes you wonder whether whether you want that to happen......


Our ability to face future challenges.




Just deny members of a LARGE [i.e. numerous] society like ours, comfort and food, and watch and see what the result what the consequence to the 'harmony' in our society will be - especially, wherever that society is not predicated on justice and fairness in law!

And that is the type of society that Western societies have morphed into, imo.

The 'Me!' generation.



The society which has predicated its societal mores on justice and fairness in law [for all], and which also has a deep respect for truth, is the more robust and resilient society.

And that is why the future of 'Western' civilisation is not secure today.

'Western' civilisation is sick and vulnerable to external 'cultural' and existential threats, upon its societal structures and institutions - because those structures and institutions have corrupted themselves and become self-serving!


Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Lord Herbert on Jul 5th, 2014 at 9:18pm
Morris playing down the role of the individual is just plain stupid.

Advances in technology, science, and academia in the lead-up to today's modern civilisation were almost entirely a product of individual effort and creative genius.



Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Sprintcyclist on Jul 5th, 2014 at 9:33pm

We are more adaptive.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Jul 5th, 2014 at 10:26pm

Quote:
Does Morris believe that because someone once invented an effective mousetrap, that no-one will every try to build a 'better' mousetrap ?


No. I don't think I explained that one very well. On page 93:

http://books.google.com/books?id=qNVrfoSubmIC&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93&dq=Ian+Morris+why+the+west+rules+for+now+same+river+twice&source=bl&ots=DVSG5Ub1kr&sig=IBqFbFfmhCvCDU5eynyx0xsIVRs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Weu3U_vrJ9CeyAS7v4KoCQ&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Ian%20Morris%20why%20the%20west%20rules%20for%20now%20same%20river%20twice&f=false

Morris uses it to explain why an early ice age slowed down human development, but a later one sped it up.


Quote:
And we humans [i.e. i mean we accomplished 'Western' man   Cheesy   ] tend to believe that what was [in our distant past], can never come again.

e.g.
Oppression, famine, wars - coz we have so 'moved on' from the structures [or is it the lack of structures ?] that enabled those circumstances.And we humans [i.e. i mean we accomplished 'Western' man   Cheesy   ] tend to believe that what was [in our distant past], can never come again.


To this he would say that all 5 horsemen may one day ride again, however the result is going to be completely different to what happened in the past. It would either wipe out the human race (nuclear holocaust) or we would rebuild our society very quickly, compared to the thousand year dark ages of the past. It is virtually impossible for us to now lose the knowledge we have acquired.


Quote:
Morris playing down the role of the individual is just plain stupid.

Advances in technology, science, and academia in the lead-up to today's modern civilisation were almost entirely a product of individual effort and creative genius.


The examples he gave to demonstrate this point were of key inventions and scientific advances that were made independently by 2 or more people at the same time. The closer you look at the context and the challenges facing society, the more the idea appears inevitable and the role of the individual inconsequential. The idea did not spring into existence after a thousand years of not being thought, but after 2 years of people working with the previous new idea on which it is built. One of the people he did credit with having a significant personal influence is Muhammed.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Yadda on Jul 6th, 2014 at 11:36am

freediver wrote on Jul 5th, 2014 at 10:26pm:

Quote:
Oppression, famine, wars - coz we have so 'moved on' from the structures [or is it the lack of structures ?] that enabled those circumstances.And we humans [i.e. i mean we accomplished 'Western' man   Cheesy   ] tend to believe that what was [in our distant past], can never come again.


To this he would say that all 5 horsemen may one day ride again, however the result is going to be completely different to what happened in the past. It would either wipe out the human race (nuclear holocaust) or we would rebuild our society very quickly, compared to the thousand year dark ages of the past.

It is virtually impossible for us to now lose the knowledge we have acquired.




It would only take one or two generations        of an effective and sustained oppression - e.g. in a post holocaust, or in a post worldwide cataclysm world - to destroy to lose - THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE KNOWLEDGE - that we have today.
[ "...there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know."]

e.g.
SCENARIO;
Would a generation of present-day farm labourers in North Korea 'innately' have the wherewithal [and ability and knowledge] to quickly build a functioning and productive - modern - society - if they do not have access to knowledge bases which we posses [i.e. knowledge bases which would be, in a future 'present' time, both unknown and incomprehensible [incomprehensible, because of lack of their familiarity with them] ?] ?

e.g.
If it were possible to 'plant' several families from present-day farm labourers from North Korea, on a deserted island, or as a colony on a new habitable planet, BUT, with them having no access to our knowledge bases, how quickly would such a society of people progress, over time ?



It is said that we [ourselves] came to knowledge [developed structures of learning], when individual collective communities of men and women became wealthy - because of their collective efforts.

And that this [personal wealth] allowed wealthy individuals to pursue intellectual paths ['structures' of learning] towards knowledge and 'modern' scientific knowledge.

But in post holocaust, or post worldwide cataclysm societies, where every individual [as in our past] would be forced to exert almost all of their energies to just providing their communities/families with food - there would be little time for 'contemplation' and enquiry.




Do you believe the repressive societal structure that the regime in North Korea has built - and which the regime in North Korea is able to maintain today - can never take hold in a society like our own ?

All that it would take, imo, for widespread societal oppression, is for a circumstance of 'opportunity' to present itself.

Post some worldwide affecting cataclysm ?

"The germ is nothing; the terrain is everything."



IMAGE...


Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Jul 7th, 2014 at 10:24am
I posted that some image, or a similar version, in the other thread - Why Nations Fail.


Quote:
Do you believe the repressive societal structure that the regime in North Korea has built - and which the regime in North Korea is able to maintain today - can never take hold in a society like our own ?


Sure it could, but it could not take over the whole world. Nor have the North Koreans destroyed all the knowledge within their society. Despite their comparative backwardness, the knowledge within North Korea is unavoidably getting more advanced, even if it is only a tiny minority familiar with it. North Korea could easily - if left to it's own devices - develop nuclear weapons - a technology that has only existed for a few decades. It would also be easy enough for them to make electricity, mobile phones, microwave ovens etc.

If the entire world were to turn into some version of North Korea, there would be enourmous incentives for any leader to develop technology, because it would allow them to take over the world. The British took over the world with a far smaller technological edge. Furthermore, the path to industrialisation is already laid out in people's minds. You would pretty much have to wipe out the human race to wipe out our knowlege.

If you cut the population down, it becomes very easy to subsist. Furthermore, each step of the path to civilisation is laid out for people. Consider for example, the first step - farming. This only took off independently in 7 regions of the world, that we know of. This was because only very few locations had the right combination of crops and animals. Today, all of those crops and animals exist on all six continents. Furthermore, they are much better than the original ones. Many modern crops would be unrecognisable to the people who first farmed them. They are bigger, easier to grow, and more suited to agriculture.

It would be the same story every step of the way. The technology would already exist - in peoples minds, in books, in artefacts. Today, one man can grow enough food to feed 100. If you cut the population, but kept the technology, it would be even easier. Imagine any modern farmer suddenly faced with the situation of unlimited land and water and no-one trying to fence him in or tell him what to grow or how much water he can draw. That leaves everyone else to hook up a generator to a windmill, to figure out how to irrigate a field, to get a sewage system working, to build a tennis court, or whatever they want to do.

The more people you have, the more knowledge you have. Cut the global population by 90%, and we lose less than 1% of the knowledge. The fewer people you have, the more freedom they have to do as they please, and the harder it becomes to prevent people making themselves rich again.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by it_is_the_light on Jul 7th, 2014 at 10:50am
many blessings ,

well to be quite frank

the whole premise is a freemasonic hypothesis

grounded in separation and neo fuedalistic ideals

and as such

any can participate within this paradigm yes

other use freewill and observe the ruse

for what that is with so very much love

and compassion

namaste

- : ) =

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Karnal on Jul 7th, 2014 at 11:07am
A great read, FD. I'll check this book out.

I fully agree - history is driven by economic systems.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Yadda on Jul 8th, 2014 at 1:34am

Quote:
Sure it could, but it could not take over the whole world. Nor have the North Koreans destroyed all the knowledge within their society.



It is not so much the question of whether knowledge can somehow survive or thrive within a damaged world/society of men.

Knowledge, truth, exists - separate from man.

For me, it is more interesting relevant to know whether men will/would choose to use repression, as a path towards 'human progress' - as is so widespread in the world today.

Because, for example, repression, as a path towards 'progress', is an idea, a concept, which the regime leaders in North Korean [and to a lesser extent, the leaders of ALL other nations] have successfully 'promoted' for decades.



Knowledge is 'transmitted' [among men] as an idea, or as a concept.

From one individual, to another individual.

Repression too is [itself] another idea, another 'concept'.

Some men among us would promote the idea that 'repression' [their control] of the human psyche is somehow 'expansive' [i.e. what they really believe, is that the 'expression' of repression [among men] can be 'profitable' and 'productive' - to their own interests.     see, Matthew 20:25 and Romans 6:16 ].

But when repression is transmitted within the world of mankind it is destructive of knowledge/innovation - and, human prosperity.





Quote:
If the entire world were to turn into some version of North Korea, there would be enourmous incentives for any leader to develop technology, because it would allow them to take over the world.


Innovation is 'healthy', to the controlling influence, exercised by a tyrant ?

Only so long as the power of the new innovation is totally within the control of the tyrant.


Repression engenders a cancer which tends to limit knowledge and innovation.

Tyrants and dictators want freedom [of action] for themselves - alone.


QUESTIONS FOR OURSELVES;

Can we trust ourselves [and those around us] with freedom [of action] ?

How can we do that, allow that - on a practical level [without exposing ourselves to the criminality of some] ?

Do you trust those that you love ?

Why so ?

Why is such a trust, worthy ?

And why is it, that a [naive] trust, in a deceiver, potentially, so destructive ?







Quote:
The technology would already exist - in peoples minds, in books, in artefacts.


But would the people in that [or this!] age/world have the - freedom - to retrieve and to have access to that potentially 'dangerous' knowledge ?

e.g.
If the human governments of the 1950's thru 1990's could have somehow foreseen the consequences, that a rampant, worldwide modern internet [enabling instant, personal worldwide communication] would have on personal [and political] freedoms, and on the widespread ability of individuals to disseminate controversial information, would those governing authorities have allowed the technology that spawned the worldwide web, to have been developed ?

Genie, and bottle ?




Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.
- Edmund Burke


Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Jul 8th, 2014 at 5:01am

Quote:
I fully agree - history is driven by economic systems.


Morris's theory is geography determinism. History is largely driven by 'accidents' of geography, with humans as pawns whose role is fulfilling the inevitable. (This is obviously an overstatement of it)


Quote:
For me, it is more interesting relevant to know whether men will/would choose to use repression, as a path towards 'human progress' - as is so widespread in the world today.


No-one chooses freedom for the benefit of his fellow man. They choose it for their own interests. Repressing freedom is in effect the same as oppressing knowledge or wealth. This is the central hypothesis of "Why Nations Fail". Great Britain took over the world because of it's economic and political freedoms. Same with the Roman Empire, Venice etc. Repression lead's to backwardness. Somewhere in the world a free nation would arise and become powerful enough to take over.


Quote:
Because, for example, repression, as a path towards 'progress', is an idea, a concept, which the regime leaders in North Korean [and to a lesser extent, the leaders of ALL other nations] have successfully 'promoted' for decades.


Not really. The message they promote internally is fall in line or die. They get this message out by killing anyone who doesn't fall in line. Repression as a path to progress is a clumsy concept that would not help any leader. The Russians had some success for a while promoting communism and a centralised economy as a path to economic progress. They even convinced a lot of westerners. But the experiment failed, and now both Russia and China are liberalising at a comparitively rapid rate.


Quote:
Some men among us would promote the idea that 'repression' [their control] of the human psyche is somehow 'expansive' [i.e. what they really believe, is that the 'expression' of repression [among men] can be 'profitable' and 'productive' - to their own interests.     see, Matthew 20:25 and Romans 6:16 ].


This is true of all dictators. On average everyone is worse off, but those running the show are better off. Dictatorship also raises the stakes. If they lose power, they are likely to lease their head also. This is a common theme in "Why Nations Fail"


Quote:
But when repression is transmitted within the world of mankind it is destructive of knowledge/innovation - and, human prosperity.


It can slow progress, but it is virtually impossible to turn the clock backwards.


Quote:
Innovation is 'healthy', to the controlling influence, exercised by a tyrant ? Only so long as the power of the new innovation is totally within the control of the tyrant.


This is why so many tyrants actively suppress innovation, even if it harms their economy. It is a paradox of dictatorship. There must be some wealth for them to exploit and to protect their realm from outside takeover, but the disruption caused by an active economy always threatens them (or their cronies), in the same way our own politicians are at risk from ex-employees of Holden.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Yadda on Jul 8th, 2014 at 7:34am

freediver wrote on Jul 8th, 2014 at 5:01am:

Quote:
For me, it is more interesting relevant to know whether men will/would choose to use repression, as a path towards 'human progress' - as is so widespread in the world today.


No-one chooses freedom for the benefit of his fellow man.


But men do [usually] choose freedom for their own children.





Quote:
They choose it for their own interests.


No argument.




Quote:
Repressing freedom is in effect the same as oppressing knowledge or wealth.


No argument.






Quote:
Great Britain took over the world because of it's economic and political freedoms. Same with the Roman Empire, Venice etc.


But Rome did use oppression and violence to exert its own version of 'freedom' its own self interest over other peoples.

As did the the British Empire!

Because every emerging empire has always tended to try to impose its own value system [which it always portrays as 'more virtuous'] upon others ?

Where does virtue [as a destination for the human psyche] lie ?

Pursuing what is true and open, and learning from [recognising] the mistakes we make along that path ?iQuote:
Repression lead's to backwardness.


No argument.


Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Yadda on Jul 8th, 2014 at 8:02am

Yadda wrote on Jul 8th, 2014 at 7:34am:

Quote:
Great Britain took over the world because of it's economic and political freedoms. Same with the Roman Empire, Venice etc.


But Rome did use oppression and violence to exert its own version of 'freedom' its own self interest over other peoples.

As did the the British Empire!

Because every emerging empire has always tended to try to impose its own value system [which it always portrays as 'more virtuous'] upon others ?

Where does virtue [as a destination for the human psyche] lie ?

Pursuing what is true and open, and learning from [recognising] the mistakes we make along that path ?



I do not believe that - freedom - will be, or can ever be 'imposed' upon others - even when we mistakenly believe that such a circumstance could be achieved, and when we  believe that that such a circumstance would be in our own best interests.

Freedom is something which every man and woman must choose for themselves.

Freedom is something which every man and woman......must have the courage to choose for themselves.

That is why, imo, separation [from those who dwell in error] is God's counsel to us who love liberty.





Romans 8:20
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.


2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.


2 Corinthians 6:17
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.


Hebrews 12:9
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.





Where justice reigns, 'tis freedom to obey.

James Montgomery


Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Jul 8th, 2014 at 10:09am

Quote:
But Rome did use oppression and violence to exert its own version of 'freedom' its own self interest over other peoples.

As did the the British Empire!

Because every emerging empire has always tended to try to impose its own value system [which it always portrays as 'more virtuous'] upon others ?


Freedom and democracy are more virtuous. They were barely emerging in Britain as it established it's empire, yet they ended up exporting it to much of the world.


Quote:
No-one chooses freedom for the benefit of his fellow man.


I meant to say oppression, not freedom.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Jan 29th, 2015 at 4:48pm
Apologies for the necro-post, but FD requested that I take up a (slightly) related discussion in the Islam forum in this thread. So here goes...

FD's thesis:


freediver wrote on Jan 28th, 2015 at 8:02am:
The Romans were richer and had a bigger economy. Atmospheric records (and other evidence) show significant mining and smelting happening. The levels did not return to these until after the industrial revolution started. It's the same with ship wrecks, which are an indicator of sea trade, urbanisation, etc. Human development indices show a significant rise and fall for the Roman Empire. The Caliphate does not even register. For all the potential, it produced almost nothing. It froze societies in time.


After prodding him for evidence FD referred back to this thread, and specifically Morris's social development scale posted in the OP.

Firstly, the caliphate most definitely does register - Morris bases his measures of western social development according to the energy consumption of the most productive "cores" of the western world at the time. During most of the period 700-1300, the western "core" was dominated by the islamic near east around Egypt and Syria/Iraq. The figure he arrived at was a per-capita energy consumption peak of around 25-26 thousand kcal/cap/day, which was actually the greatest energy consumption the western world had seen besides the Roman peak of around 30 thousand kcal/cap/day.

A couple of points to be made about this: Roman consumption started from an already very high base - for example Ancient Greek energy consumption had already peaked at around 20-25 kcal/cap/day by the 4th century BCE. Roman society had a definite advantage in leveraging off these already high consumption rates. Morris's scale illustrates this - where the consumption rise that the Romans rode on was in full swing long before the Roman empire emerged. The graph clearly shows that this rise was the most dramatic in the west up to that time. Rome also had the advantage of controlling the entire Mediterranean basin, an obviously massive hub for trading.

The islamic world in contrast literally started from scratch in the nomadic and resource barren arabic peninsula. But even more significantly is to understand the legacy that the Islamic conquerers were left with in the areas they expanded into. This is documented in Morris's social development timeline - where the west faced a catastrophic consumption decline in the centuries between Rome's peak and the rise of Islam. This period of migration, invasion, plagues and general social unrest is well documented elsewhere, but suffice to say, whereas the Romans expanded at a time when the conquered areas were increasing energy consumption, the muslims expanded into areas that were in catastrophic decline. For example one of the earliest significant conquest for the muslims was the once great and prosperous city of Jerusalem - which was a shell of its former self as a result of being decimated by the long war between Byzantium and Persia. In many areas the Islamic empire had to literally start from scratch - as they did with the city of Baghdad, which rapidly became one of the largest cities of the world - if not the largest - as well as a major cultural hub. Indeed the social and educational advances seen in the Islamic Empire cannot be overstated - literacy rates were the highest the world had ever seen, and life expectancy rose from around 25-30 during Roman and Christian Europe, to over 35 under Islam's rule (thats all people, muslim and non-muslim).

This is what FD describes as a society that "does not even register. For all the potential, it produced almost nothing. It froze societies in time".  :D

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 1st, 2015 at 3:01pm
Gandalf's "objective" reinterpretation of history:
why_the_west_rules_fig_3_7_Gandalf.png (41 KB | 113 )

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 1st, 2015 at 4:24pm
This is FD's civilization that, in his words, "does not even register" and "produced almost nothing"

economic centre's of the western world, based on energy output:

700 CE: Egypt (NE Africa), Syria-Iraq (SW Asia)
800 CE: Egypt (NE Africa), Syria-Iraq (SW Asia)
900 CE: Egypt (NE Africa), Spain (SW Europe)

(source: http://www.ianmorris.org/docs/social-development.pdf)

Peak output during this time was around 25-26 thousand kcal/cap/day second only to the peak of the Roman Empire of arounc 30 thousand kcal/cap/day. The same civilization that increased the life expectancy as well as literacy rates to unprecedented levels.

I repeat, this is the civiliziation that FD claims "does not even register" and "produced almost nothing"

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 1st, 2015 at 4:29pm
By "second only" Gandalf means that it was lower than it had been in the west for about 1000 years. From the graph above it looks like the Chinese were also scoring higher at that time. When you are worse than the previous civilisation, that is a step backwards, not forwards.

What Gandalf describes as the greatest empire of all time was actually an unusually low point in human development in the west, and it's hangover is still dragging down the middle east.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 1st, 2015 at 5:49pm

freediver wrote on Feb 1st, 2015 at 4:29pm:
By "second only" Gandalf means that it was lower than it had been in the west for about 1000 years.


According to Morris's social development scale, the lowest point in about 1000 years was reached around the 6th and 7th centuries - ie the century or two immediately before Islam emerged. This chaotic period is well documented as the period of Roman decline and Germanic and slavic migrations. It was also the time the Persians and the Eastern Romans were tearing much of eastern civilization apart. The effect it had can easily be seen by Morris's 'organization' rating - where it plunged from 4.23 in 500 AD to 1.17 in 600 AD. This is populations being ravaged and cities being devastated by mass migrations, plague and war. This is the legacy the Islamic empire was left with - as opposed to the rapidly rising economic inertia that the Romans were left with.

But then for 3 centuries at least, the islamic world became the economic centres of the western world - significantly increasing all components of Morris's social development scale. They also increased literacy and life expectancy rates to unprecedented levels - a point FD continues to ignore.

So, in summary, the world according to FD: the greatest empire on earth emerges, massively lifts economic prosperity to the greatest ever levels, then collapses and sees a correspondingly catastrophic crash in economic activity. The next great civilization that emerges is left with this shipwreck of a legacy, yet still manages to increase prosperity to the highest levels after the Romans, while also creating the best literacy and life expectancy rates the world has ever seen (including the Roman rates). And that, according to FD, is a civilization that  "does not even register" and "produced almost nothing".

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 1st, 2015 at 5:54pm

freediver wrote on Feb 1st, 2015 at 4:29pm:
What Gandalf describes as the greatest empire of all time was actually an unusually low point in human development in the west


Gandalf described no such thing. Gandalf merely mocks and ridicules the idea that the Islamic empire "does not even register" and "produced almost nothing" on any quantitative scale of economic/social development.

Also, the "unusually low point in human development" was reached about a century before Islam emerged. Islam was left to clean up the mess. Thats the point you will no doubt continue to ignore.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 1st, 2015 at 7:33pm

Quote:
significantly increasing all components of Morris's social development scale.


You mean that tiny blip on the bottom of the gap in social development between the Roman Empire and the Industrial Revolution? To me it says that the west had descended so low that something so backwards was able to take over. It nearly managed to freeze western development in time.


Quote:
So, in summary, the world according to FD: the greatest empire on earth emerges, massively lifts economic prosperity to the greatest ever levels, then collapses and sees a correspondingly catastrophic crash in economic activity. The next great civilization that emerges is left with this shipwreck of a legacy, yet still manages to increase prosperity to the highest levels after the Romans, while also creating the best literacy and life expectancy rates the world has ever seen (including the Roman rates). And that, according to FD, is a civilization that  "does not even register" and "produced almost nothing".


Gandalf, if our society managed to lift social development slightly, to a level significantly lower than what it was 1000 years ago, despite all the knowledge and technology still being available (plus a bit more), would an objective analysis conclude that ours is the greatest of all time, or a failure by historical standards?


Quote:
Gandalf described no such thing. Gandalf merely mocks and ridicules the idea that the Islamic empire "does not even register" and "produced almost nothing" on any quantitative scale of economic/social development.


My bad:


polite_gandalf wrote on Jan 25th, 2015 at 10:41pm:
as well as one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever seen.



polite_gandalf wrote on Jan 26th, 2015 at 12:27am:

Soren wrote on Jan 25th, 2015 at 11:32pm:
This greatest civilisation nonsense is really childish Gandy. How do you explain the 800 intervening years of decline under a strong caliphate (other than by claiming Muslim victimhood)?i


So the islamic empire wasn't great - because for 800 years after its heyday it was crap?

You really running with this Soren?


It was already crap compared to what was around 800 years earlier.


Quote:
Also, the "unusually low point in human development" was reached about a century before Islam emerged. Islam was left to clean up the mess.


How much did it lift it by Gandalf? It cleaned nothing up. It prevented a recovery. It still does this today in the middle east. The Islamic "golden age" was a lost opportunity, human development squandered by interfering religious zealots. even at it's peak the Caliphate was still an unusually low point in human development.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 1st, 2015 at 8:58pm

freediver wrote on Feb 1st, 2015 at 7:33pm:
You mean that tiny blip on the bottom of the gap in social development between the Roman Empire and the Industrial Revolution?


All blips on that graph are tiny FD - its measuring millenia. Its more instructive to look at the actual plot figures which Morris details on the pdf I linked to earlier. I would only make a couple of points, as I have been over most of it in my first post (which you mostly ignored): 1. the economic crash during and after the fall of Rome was catastrophic and cannot be overemphasised. I gave the relevant fall in 'organizational' ratings to illustrate this. That any civilization - especially one that quite literally started from scratch - could come along and not only oversee economic recovery and relative prosperity, but also institute a brand new system that we know stimulated education rates and lifespan rates to levels higher than any levels seen previously - I think should rate a mention as a civilization that "registers" on any analysis of the economic/social/cultural development of the western world. 2. Its ridiculous to compare the economic achievements of  both by simply comparing raw output figures - because they didn't control the same areas. Its especially stupid to look at Mediterranean shipwreck rates during and after Rome and draw conclusions about how prosperous things were under Islam - for the simple reason that Rome controlled the whole of the Mediterranean while Islam controlled only a small part of it - even at its greatest height.


freediver wrote on Feb 1st, 2015 at 7:33pm:
My bad:


Yes, my bad actually -  "one of the greatest civilizations" obviously means the greatest  :P


freediver wrote on Feb 1st, 2015 at 7:33pm:
How much did it lift it by Gandalf? It cleaned nothing up.


Feel free to read your own source FD - the figures are all there. Again its ridiculous to make a simple 'like for like' comparison between what Rome was outputting in 100AD with what Cairo was outputting in 900AD. Rome had centuries of continual development and growth for the Roman Empire to cash in on - whereas Cairo and Baghdad were literally built from scratch by the muslims - and for 300 years and probably more, was the economic centre of the western world (not to mention the cultural and knowledge capitals). If the muslims had managed to capture Rome or Constantinople during the golden age, then no doubt things would have been a lot different. The truth is though the muslim empire never had the opportunity to run established massive economic centres and cash in like the Romans did. Most of what became the economic centres of the world during the golden age were brand new centres that the muslims built from scratch.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 1st, 2015 at 9:43pm

Quote:
All blips on that graph are tiny FD


The Roman Empire is not. The Song Dynasty is not. The Industrial Revolution is not. The Caliphate is. It barely registers. It is a hole in the history of civilisation.


Quote:
Its more instructive to look at the actual plot figures which Morris details on the pdf I linked to earlier.


Of course, if your aim is to destroy the context so it is not immediately obvious that for all it's greatness, the Caliphate remained a gap in the history of human development, and that both contemporary Chinese society and previous western society was far more advanced. The Caliphate could neither learn from what had happened previously or what was happening in China. It could only blame others for it's backwardness, as you do now.


Quote:
1. the economic crash during and after the fall of Rome was catastrophic and cannot be overemphasised. I gave the relevant fall in 'organizational' ratings to illustrate this. That any civilization - especially one that quite literally started from scratch


It could have stood on the shoulders of giants. It chose not to. This is a feeble excuse.


Quote:
could come along and not only oversee economic recovery and relative prosperity


Relative to what? It remained a hole in the history of human development. You have to set the bar extremely low to make this claim. Both the contemporary Song Dynasty and the Roman Empire improved at a greater rate. It had all been done before. The Caliphate could not even copy past and present civilisation. Islam brought stagnation. It still does today.


Quote:
but also institute a brand new system


Whatever it did that was different was a failure.


Quote:
Its ridiculous to compare the economic achievements of  both by simply comparing raw output figures - because they didn't control the same areas.


Both the contemporary Song Dynasty and the previous Roman empire achieved far more - in different locations. The Caliphate actually came to control much of the old Roman empire, so even this feeble excuse fails. Not achieving everything that came after is understandable. Not even getting to the level that came previously in time at the same location, and that separately existed at the same time in China, puts the Caliphate pretty low down the list. Morris' analysis shows a long history of empires and civilisations that took human development further than anything in history. The Caliphate was an exceptionally low point in the history of human development.


Quote:
Its especially stupid to look at Mediterranean shipwreck rates


Morris looked at a whole host of measures of human development, all of which showed consistent trends.


Quote:
during and after Rome and draw conclusions about how prosperous things were under Islam


Of course Gandalf - he drew conclusions about Rome from Roman shipwrecks.


Quote:
while Islam controlled only a small part of it - even at its greatest height.


It controlled all of Spain and parts of France, as well as the North African coast. Muslim slavers came to destroy most of the Italian coastline. There was not a pot of gold or an oil well sitting in Rome that the Muslims failed to stumble upon. Everything that made Rome and the Song Dynasty so much greater was there for the Muslims to copy, if only they could get over their pig headed delusions that the infidel has nothing for them and that Muslims must be superior. If they put as much effort into lifting humanity as they put into keeping down the infidel, they could have done something great. Instead they squandered the opportunity and put a brake on human development.


Quote:
Yes, my bad actually -  "one of the greatest civilizations" obviously means the greatest


It does not even register as "one of the great". It was a low point in the history of human development. It bucked the trend and showed that a massive empire could actually stall human development. There are many empires used by Morris that rose from the ashes and/or fringes of previous empires to build something better. The Caliphate was no different in where it came from. What sets it apart is where it went - nowhere. It is the feeblest of excuses. It is the sort of excuse mongering that has kept the middle east in a backwards state ever since.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 1st, 2015 at 10:09pm

freediver wrote on Feb 1st, 2015 at 9:43pm:
The Roman Empire is not.


Yes it is - the actual Roman Empire is a tiny blip lasting a mere couple of hundred years or so - amongst 16 thousand years of data. They are a tiny spike on top of thousands of years of continual growth. Far more pronounced is the crash that happened after Rome collapsed. But its all blips - every individual rise and fall of a civilization is a blip on that graph. The only thing thats not a blip is the massive rise of both the east and west in the last couple of hundred years.


freediver wrote on Feb 1st, 2015 at 9:43pm:
The Caliphate actually came to control much of the old Roman empire, so even this feeble excuse fails.


Your logic is absurd FD. The economic centre of Rome was Rome, and to a lesser extent Constantinople, plus a few other European locations. They were great and massive economic centres because of hundreds, even thousands of years of continuous economic, political and cultural development. Quite simply, Rome rose out of the ashes of many many layers of civilization and sophisticated economic and political development. Islam on the other hand rose in an area that had no civilization outside primitive nomadic culture. When it expanded, it expanded into areas that had been decimated by centuries of upheaval warfare, plague and economic devastation. In fact Morris's graph clearly shows the period of this decimation as the biggest economic catastrophe the world had ever seen. Moreover, the Islamic Empire did not capture any significant economic and cultural centres on the scale of Rome or Constantinople. In fact what came to be the economic centres of the western world during the Islamic Golden Age were primarily cities that were built from scratch by the muslims.

Perhaps the question you should be asking is why the previous mammoths like Rome and Constantinople - outside muslim rule - didn't even rate alongside the economic achievements of the muslim centres during the peak of the Islamic empire.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by perceptions_now on Feb 1st, 2015 at 10:23pm
Well, without buying into the "discussion" about the West etc, I would make the following comment -

The next 30-40 years won't be anything like the last 30-40 years & the rest of this century will see movement on a massive scale!

In fact, what may normally have taken hundreds of years, quite likely may happen over the next 30-40 years AND what may have taken thousands of years, is likely to be compressed within the rest of this century!

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Phemanderac on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 7:47am
Wow, long story short, west is good east is bad.

That about sums it up.

The West Rules? Indeed, I don't think it does, it capitalises on material advantage for the present, but in case no one noticed, some competition is coming the Wests way... So, if it truly wants to Rule, perhaps some creative leadership would be timely...

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 9:45am

Phemanderac wrote on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 7:47am:
but in case no one noticed, some competition is coming the Wests way


Well to be fair, I think thats the whole point Morris's book is making.

Morris doesn't deal at all with FD's 'the west is great because of its freedom and democracy' crap, but rather attributes economic prosperity primarily to the accidents of geography.

Its a point that astonishingly goes way over FD's head as he attempts to use the data in this book to "prove" that Islam "does not even register" and "achieved almost nothing".

It is completely absurd to draw conclusions about Islam's achievements or otherwise simply by drawing comparisons of the energy outputs between the economic centres of the islamic empire and the Roman empire. Its apples and oranges - the Roman Empire captured all the most lucrative economic bread-baskets of the western world at a time when their economic output was already high, and was developing rapidly. The Islamic empire a) didn't capture any of the western 'superpower' economic centres such as Rome or Constantinople, instead had to start from fresh - literally creating their own economic centres from scratch (Cairo, Baghdad), and b) what they did capture in the western world was at that time devastated both economically and organizationally by the catastrophic decline that followed the fall of the Roman Empire.

Not to mention that the "achievements" of an empire can't purely be judged by (scant - by Morris's own admission) evidence of mere energy output of its economic centres. The education, intellectual, cultural and lifestyle (the islamic empire raised life expectancy to highest ever rates - including Roman times) achievements of islam alone blow the stupid claim that it "achieved almost nothing" out of the water.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Postmodern Trendoid II on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 6:58pm

Phemanderac wrote on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 7:47am:
Wow, long story short, west is good east is bad.

That about sums it up.

The West Rules? Indeed, I don't think it does, it capitalises on material advantage for the present, but in case no one noticed, some competition is coming the Wests way... So, if it truly wants to Rule, perhaps some creative leadership would be timely...


Good propaganda, Comrade. By pushing equality, we "progressives" will bring forth "creative leadership". Creativity can only happen by making criminals and the degenerate equal with the cultured and intelligent. This is progress.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 9:02pm

Quote:
Yes it is - the actual Roman Empire is a tiny blip lasting a mere couple of hundred years or so


I was hoping it would have been obvious from my argument that I was including the Republican period Gandalf. It was the same civilisation.

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


Quote:
The Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Romanum) was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterized by government headed by emperors, and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The 500 year old republic which preceded it was severely destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict, during which Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and then assassinated in 44 BC.


Far more pronounced is the crash that happened after Rome collapsed.

The rate of change looks slower than than the build-up beforehand, and it obviously does not go as deep either.


Quote:
But its all blips - every individual rise and fall of a civilization is a blip on that graph.


If you hold it far enough away from your eyes to defeat the purpose of plotting it on a graph. Would you have us draw a straight line over the last 16000 years so as not to offend the ignorant sensibilities of Muslims who want to prattle on about how great the Caliphate was, and ignore all the variations as inconsequential blips?


Quote:
The only thing thats not a blip is the massive rise of both the east and west in the last couple of hundred years.


Not true. You are being mislead by the scale of the graph. If you drew the same graph up to the year zero, it would also show a very impressive and recent rise, at the end of what appears to be a long, relatively flat period.


Quote:
Your logic is absurd FD. The economic centre of Rome was Rome, and to a lesser extent Constantinople, plus a few other European locations. They were great and massive economic centres because of hundreds, even thousands of years of continuous economic, political and cultural development. Quite simply, Rome rose out of the ashes of many many layers of civilization and sophisticated economic and political development. Islam on the other hand rose in an area that had no civilization outside primitive nomadic culture.


I said that the Caliphate came to conquer much of the old Roman Empire, and plenty more on top of that. The fact that it came from such backwardness reinforces my argument. It was the catastrophic destruction of civilisation that allowed something as backward as Islam to take over. Had it been a more modern, progressive model, it would have quickly regained what was lost. The Caliphate ended everything that was holding society back - the constant wars and migrations. But living standards remained well below what they were a millennia earlier, because Islam kept them there. We saw a microcosm of this in Afghanistan after the Russian invasion. A once relatively progressive society was destroyed. Islam took over. The Russian were not there any more. The society should have recovered. It did not, because of Islam. Many western Muslims talk about Afghanistan the same way you talk about the Caliphate. You are all polishing a turd.


Quote:
When it expanded, it expanded into areas that had been decimated by centuries of upheaval warfare, plague and economic devastation. In fact Morris's graph clearly shows the period of this decimation as the biggest economic catastrophe the world had ever seen.


The collapse of most of the big empires was like that. They were eventually replaced by any even bigger one, even with a similar time scale. None of this sets the Caliphate apart. What sets the Caliphate apart is it's failures.


Quote:
Moreover, the Islamic Empire did not capture any significant economic and cultural centres on the scale of Rome or Constantinople. In fact what came to be the economic centres of the western world during the Islamic Golden Age were primarily cities that were built from scratch by the muslims.


Neither did any of the empires the came before. They became great. Nothing forced the Muslims to build these cities from scratch, other than their own delusions of superiority.


Quote:
Morris doesn't deal at all with FD's 'the west is great because of its freedom and democracy' crap, but rather attributes economic prosperity primarily to the accidents of geography.
Its a point that astonishingly goes way over FD's head as he attempts to use the data in this book to "prove" that Islam "does not even register" and "achieved almost nothing".


The human development index shows quite clearly how poorly the Caliphate did when it comes to raising people's living standards. There is no need at all for a theory to explain why it did so poorly in order to demonstrate that it achieved very little. I have explained plenty of times where the causal theory comes from, and it is not in any way contradicted by Morris' work.


Quote:
It is completely absurd to draw conclusions about Islam's achievements or otherwise simply by drawing comparisons of the energy outputs


One more time for Gandalf. Morris uses four independent measures of human development that show very similar trends over time.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 10:12pm

freediver wrote on Feb 2nd, 2015 at 9:02pm:
The collapse of most of the big empires was like that. They were eventually replaced by any even bigger one, even with a similar time scale. None of this sets the Caliphate apart. What sets the Caliphate apart is it's failures.


What rubbish. You need glasses if you can't see from your own source that the Islamic Empire was unique in that it rose from the most sudden and catastrophic economic collapse the world had ever seen. Rome rose on a wave of long and steady continual growth, and capitalised on overrunning the most economically and developed - not to mention highly populated - centres of the western world. The circumstances between the two situations couldn't be more different. The "failures" you describe of Islam in fact made the Islamic centres the economic and cultural dominant centres of gravity in the entire western world - where there used to be nothing but desert and nomads. Your attempted portrayal of this Empire as "not even registering" and "achieving almost nothing" is beyond laughable.

The contradiction in your argument has also been noted. Stating here that there was nothing that set the rise of the islamic empire apart - in terms of what came before it on the one hand, while on the other hand repeatedly stating that the circumstances were in fact unique - where there was in fact an unprecedented catastrophic collapse, such that only a backward civilization like islam could take over.


Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 1:13pm
Plenty of other empires rose from the ashes to build on what came previously. The Caliphate was the final pestilence to strike the west. It built an empire by locking the society into post-apocalyptic living standards. It has repeated this trick many times over, for example in Afghanistan. There is absolutely no reason (other than Islam) why the society, culture, economy, population etc should not have recovered rapidly to previous levels and then higher under a large, stable empire.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 1:53pm

freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 1:13pm:
Plenty of other empires rose from the ashes to build on what came previously.


Stop repeating the same bs after I refuted it:

the Islamic Empire was unique in that it rose from the most sudden and catastrophic economic collapse the world had ever seen

If you can't comprehend this obvious fact from your own source, then you are either blind or being a troll.


freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 1:13pm:
It built an empire by locking the society into post-apocalyptic living standards.


The only area of western society that was "locked... into post-apocalyptic living standards" were the European areas that were not under the Islamic Empire. Where the islamic empire spread, prosperity returned, and the islamic economic centres quickly became the economic centres of the western world. If your logic had any semblance to reality, then the established, developed economic powerhouses in the west that were *NOT* taken over by Islam - such as Rome and especially Constantinople - would have been the economic centres of the world - not the built-from-scratch cities like Baghdad and Cairo.

The only leg you have to stand on is in arguing that the islamic empire failed to raise the west to the giddy economic heights of the Roman Empire. Where you definitely *DON'T* have any legs is in saying that economic development was "static" in the Islamic empire, and that Islam "did not even register" and "achieved almost nothing".

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 2:10pm

freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 1:13pm:
There is absolutely no reason (other than Islam) why the society, culture, economy, population etc should not have recovered rapidly to previous levels and then higher under a large, stable empire.


I can tell I *REALLY* have to dumb it down for you:

there are 2 good reasons: 1. the unprecedented catastrophic economic crash that occurred just before and 2. the data you refer to for these "previous levels" were not even from the same area - but economic centres that were *OUTSIDE* the Islamic Empire. They crashed before Islam existed, and they were never part of the Islamic Empire.

And here's how stupid your argument is FD: "there is absolutely no reason (other than Islam) why the society, culture, economy, population etc should not have recovered rapidly to previous levels and then higher under a large, stable empire."

- which "recovery" are we talking about FD? Rome? Constantinople? Breaking News FD - neither of these places were controlled by Islam - so why are you attributing Rome's  non-recovery to Islam? And yes, before you deny it, thats what you are doing. Think about it. Which centres under Islam stagnated or declined? Tell me, please - preferably by not comparing Rome with Baghdad. What did Islam take over? Damascus, Cordoba, Jerusalem etc - did *THESE* centres experience the type of rapid recovery you demand of a large stable empire? Why don't you look at the economic data for *THOSE* cities FD - you know, comparing like for like - instead of trying to compare apples and oranges.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 7:56pm

Quote:
there are 2 good reasons: 1. the unprecedented catastrophic economic crash that occurred just before


How is the fact that there is a crash supposed to be an explanation for why the society did not recover from the crash. You cited reasons for the decline, like wars and mass migrations. The Caliphate eliminated these reasons.


Quote:
the data you refer to for these "previous levels" were not even from the same area - but economic centres that were *OUTSIDE* the Islamic Empire. They crashed before Islam existed, and they were never part of the Islamic Empire


Not a valid reason either. The economic success of the Roman empire was not that closely linked to geography, and especially not the geography that was inside Rome but outside the Caliphate. Rome's bread basket, for example, was within the Caliphate.


Quote:
which "recovery" are we talking about FD? Rome? Constantinople? Breaking News FD - neither of these places were controlled by Islam - so why are you attributing Rome's  non-recovery to Islam?


The riches of the city of Rome were obviously linked to it being the capital of the massive empire. However the capital did not need to be in the same city for the same thing to happen. Like I said earlier, there was no pot of gold or oil well in Rome that made it rich. In fact much of the Italian coastline was raided by Islamic slave traders, reducing it's population, so although they did not conquer it directly, they did control what happened there, in the Islamic way.


Quote:
Think about it. Which centres under Islam stagnated or declined?


Building a massive empire, and barely seeing an increase in living standards above the post-apocalyptic levels that preceded it, is hardly an achievement Gandalf. Are you suggesting that the Caliphate was so great because it did not take a catastrophic collapse and make it even worse? That is setting the bar pretty low.


Quote:
What did Islam take over? Damascus, Cordoba, Jerusalem etc


I have answered this already - stop pretending it was limited to a few desert cities. It took over the entire North African coastline. It even expanded into Spain and started on France. It went east to about Pakistan. All of this happened by about 750. It was about the same size as the Roman Empire. There is no reason at all why the economy and living standards should not have recovered under good governance. It even had the added advantage of controlling (taxing) the east-west trade route. Two clear examples had already been set, one contemporary, and one almost overlapping the empire. The reason it failed is that Islam placed itself above rational human inquiry into politics. They did not even have to come up with the right way themselves. They merely had to copy what had already been done, or better yet, improve on it. Instead they put their efforts into preventing it.


Quote:
Why don't you look at the economic data for *THOSE* cities FD - you know, comparing like for like - instead of trying to compare apples and oranges.


I am comparing like for like. Your argument that the Caliphate remained in some geographic backwater that prevented it from reaching the same standard of living as Rome or China is a furphy. I am particularly interested in what was so special about having a capital in Rome that made it impossible for the Caliphate to repeat the same success.

The Caliphate - yellow area captured by 750:



The Roman Empire at it's peak:


Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 11:01pm

freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 7:56pm:
Building a massive empire, and barely seeing an increase in living standards above the post-apocalyptic levels that preceded it


And yet you don't even know the previous living standards of the areas Islam took over. Again, the "previous levels" you whine about were for the core region "Southern Mediterranean (Southern Europe)"  - which was basically the Italian Peninsula. It was here for a 500 year period from 250BCE to 250CE. The Islamic Empire 'cores' were  "Egypt (NE Africa), Syria-Iraq (SW Asia)" - between 700-1000CE. Two completely different geographical zones. Its there in Table 1 on page 14-15 of the PDF I linked to earlier.

The point being your logic that living standards barely increased under Islam assumes a like for like comparison between the standards of the Southern Mediterranean zone and the Egyptian/Syria-Iraq zone as if they were the same area - and is therefore flawed. The only way you can draw the conclusion you are making is if you knew the living standards in Egypt and Iraq-Syria both immediately pre and post circa 700CE - which you don't, because Morris doesn't provide them. He concentrates only on data within the identified 'core' of the day - he does not collect all data from all western regions and average it all out - he states this in the already mentioned PDF.

What we *DO* know though is that the economic and cultural centres of the Islamic Empire became, in a remarkably short time, the economic centres of the entire Western World, and lifted the 'social development' of the entire Western World.


freediver wrote on Feb 3rd, 2015 at 7:56pm:
I am comparing like for like. Your argument that the Caliphate remained in some geographic backwater that prevented it from reaching the same standard of living as Rome or China is a furphy. I am particularly interested in what was so special about having a capital in Rome that made it impossible for the Caliphate to repeat the same success.


Rome was born and developed on the shoulders of centuries of continual growth and development. Islam was born on the ashes of an unprecedented catastrophic crash in social development. Please look at your graph. Are you still going to peddle out the absurd lie that the decline that preceded the rise of Islam was not unique?

Also, I hope you understand that you are shifting your argument that the Islamic Empire "did not even register" and "achieved almost nothing" - to an argument that appears to be dependent on Islam achieving the same level of prosperity as Rome did. Nice attempt at deflection, but thats not my concern here - and I'll happily admit that the Islamic Caliphate didn't achieve as high a level of Morris's 'social development' as Rome did. My only interest here is exposing your stupid claim that the Islamic Empire "did not even register" (presumably on social development) and "achieved almost nothing" - for the stupidity that it is. The excruciating fumbling of your argument is on display when you conclude that the social development under the Islamic Empire "stagnated" or at best "barely saw an increase" - based on nothing else but a flawed comparison of data from two completely different regions - one under Islamic control, the other not. Of course it never dawned on you that for places like Baghdad and Cairo to go from nothing to the economic centres of the western world, it required something a little more than stagnant economic growth.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 4th, 2015 at 7:45pm

Quote:
And yet you don't even know the previous living standards of the areas Islam took over. Again, the "previous levels" you whine about were for the core region "Southern Mediterranean (Southern Europe)"  - which was basically the Italian Peninsula.


Not Spain I take it? Was it the pot of gold under Rome, or the oil well that was the missing key ingredient?


Quote:
The point being your logic that living standards barely increased under Islam assumes a like for like comparison between the standards of the Southern Mediterranean zone and the Egyptian/Syria-Iraq zone as if they were the same area - and is therefore flawed.


Why is it flawed? This was not tied to geography by this stage. If anything the Caliphate had a huge advantage in controlling the trade route.


Quote:
The only way you can draw the conclusion you are making is if you knew the living standards in Egypt and Iraq-Syria both immediately pre and post circa 700CE - which you don't, because Morris doesn't provide them.


I have explained at length before that moving the capital should not make that much difference. You ignored this point. You are still ignoring it. Rome's wealth came from being the centre of a large empire that significantly overlapped with the Caliphates.


Quote:
What we *DO* know though is that the economic and cultural centres of the Islamic Empire became, in a remarkably short time, the economic centres of the entire Western World


The entire post-apocalyptic western world. Again, you set the bar incredibly low.


Quote:
Rome was born and developed on the shoulders of centuries of continual growth and development. Islam was born on the ashes of an unprecedented catastrophic crash in social development. Please look at your graph. Are you still going to peddle out the absurd lie that the decline that preceded the rise of Islam was not unique?


The causes of the decline were immediately removed by the Caliphate - except of course the political ones. It does not make sens to blame the low living standards before the Caliphate on was, mass migration etc, then hold out the same excuse for after the Caliphate took over. This is another point I have made at length several times, which you ignore.


Quote:
Also, I hope you understand that you are shifting your argument that the Islamic Empire "did not even register" and "achieved almost nothing" - to an argument that appears to be dependent on Islam achieving the same level of prosperity as Rome did.


If it was a truly great empire, it would have caught up to what came 100 years earlier, and gone past it. Plenty of past empires rose from the ashes and fringes to do this. Islam was not unique in the challenges it initially faced.


Quote:
Nice attempt at deflection, but thats not my concern here - and I'll happily admit that the Islamic Caliphate didn't achieve as high a level of Morris's 'social development' as Rome did.


Fail.


Quote:
he excruciating fumbling of your argument is on display when you conclude that the social development under the Islamic Empire "stagnated" or at best "barely saw an increase" - based on nothing else but a flawed comparison of data from two completely different regions - one under Islamic control, the other not. Of course it never dawned on you that for places like Baghdad and Cairo to go from nothing to the economic centres of the western world, it required something a little more than stagnant economic growth.


You keep insisting the comparison is flawed. I explain why it is not flawed. You repeat yourself and ignore what I posted. How long will you keep this up Gandalf? What was so special about Rome that prevented the Caliphate from reaching the same standard of living as the Roman Empire? Why have you gone silent about the causes of the decline in social development that you yourself brought up? Is it because they highlight how reasonable it is to expect a rapid recovery to Roman levels once these causes were eliminated? Was the Caliphate really confined to some geographic backwater that made it so weak? The truth is that the Muslims turned the Italian peninsula into a backwater by raiding it for slaves.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 4th, 2015 at 10:03pm
right so if I understand correctly FD, your argument is that because there was considerable overlap between Rome and the Caliphate, the Caliphate should have achieved at least the same level of social development as Rome - and because it didn't it therefore "does not even register" and "achieved almost nothing" - right?

The most obvious flaw with this is that it was not the Caliphate that was the "successor" to Rome as you imply, it was the Eastern Roman Empire - or the Byzantine Empire. They recaptured much of the previous empire in the west - including Rome. Yet funnily enough they didn't succeed in raising social development much either. In fact it continued to fall - even at their greatest height. Moreover they couldn't even compete with the crappy Caliphate in owning the western economic 'core'. Why was that FD?


freediver wrote on Feb 4th, 2015 at 7:45pm:
If it was a truly great empire, it would have caught up to what came 100 years earlier, and gone past it. Plenty of past empires rose from the ashes and fringes to do this. Islam was not unique in the challenges it initially faced.


Clearly the words "unprecedented collapse" are having no effect on you. Its there in the graph FD, nothing, repeat nothing like what happened in the west circa 400-700 happened before in the history of western civilization. You simply pretend that "plenty of past empires" went through the same thing and came through with flying colours - but they didn't. Nothing like this ever happened before. So there's absolutely no point invoking past history as a relevant template for what you can reasonably expect to happen. The fact is, the Byzantine Empire took over more of the old Roman Empire than the Caliphate did (and certainly more prosperous areas), and their social development figures really didn't register, and unlike the Caliphate, was never the economic centre of the western world.


freediver wrote on Feb 4th, 2015 at 7:45pm:
I have explained at length before that moving the capital should not make that much difference. You ignored this point.


No, you don't understand the point. You said that the Caliphate created stagnated economic/social development where it ruled. While yes social development in the west had a stagnating trend during the centuries after the fall of Rome, this is not the same thing. Its a very important point FD, so try and understand it. Morris's social development scale is not a good measure of how well islamic rule improved social development in the areas in which it controlled - because as already explained, we see no comparison of the before and after picture of the Islamic cores. It is a linear scale of the entire west - seamlessly switching from one core to another and plots it as a single continuum. Thats fine for his purposes, but it is wholly inadequate for measuring the success or otherwise of the Caliphate in improving the social development in the areas they controlled. In fact we can prove that your argument is complete bunkum - we know for a fact that Islam *DID* raise the social development of the areas they controlled, because the islamic cores of Egypt/Iraq-Syria went from not being the western core - to being the western core in a matter of mere decades.


freediver wrote on Feb 4th, 2015 at 7:45pm:
The truth is that the Muslims turned the Italian peninsula into a backwater by raiding it for slaves.


You heard it here folks - the decline of the Italian peninsula after the fall of Rome comes down entirely to muslim pirates. :D

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 5th, 2015 at 12:58pm

Quote:
right so if I understand correctly FD, your argument is that because there was considerable overlap between Rome and the Caliphate, the Caliphate should have achieved at least the same level of social development as Rome


The overlap was not necessary at all. It was the size of the empire that mattered, and the pre-existing technology and culture. The Song Dynasty achieved similar levels to Rome at about the same time as the Caliphate, with what I think was an even smaller empire.


Quote:
and because it didn't it therefore "does not even register" and "achieved almost nothing" - right?


Look at the plot of the human development index. The Caliphate is a remarkable low point.


Quote:
The most obvious flaw with this is that it was not the Caliphate that was the "successor" to Rome as you imply, it was the Eastern Roman Empire - or the Byzantine Empire.


My argument does not require it to be the immediate successor. The Song dynasty achieved the same thing on the other side of Eurasia with a vastly different culture.


Quote:
Clearly the words "unprecedented collapse" are having no effect on you. Its there in the graph FD, nothing, repeat nothing like what happened in the west circa 400-700 happened before in the history of western civilization.


Only because living standards had not been so far above survival levels previously. You are yet to demonstrate how the extent of the collapse should have limited the extent of the recovery. In reality, the fact it had all been done before should have made it easier, and did elsewhere. It was an unprecedented rise going into to the Roman Empire, and unprecedented collapse afterwards. This should have been followed by an unprecedented recovery and then unprecedented growth. It was in fact, but not until the shackles of the Caliphate were lifted from the west.


Quote:
Its a very important point FD, so try and understand it. Morris's social development scale is not a good measure of how well islamic rule improved social development in the areas in which it controlled


A lot of these were the same areas. The Song Dynasty did not need to exactly sit on top of the Roman Empire to repeat its success, so you're argument that it was necessary for the Caliphate to exactly superimpose is hogwash. In fact in many cases, Morris shows the core moving completely away from the previous core in order to achieve greater development. There was no barrier, other than Islam's delusions of superiority, to the transfer of culture, technology etc. Goods, ideas etc were already travelling from all the way to China, and the Caliphate was at the centre of this trade route, able to capitalise on the best of everything.


Quote:
because as already explained, we see no comparison of the before and after picture of the Islamic cores. It is a linear scale of the entire west - seamlessly switching from one core to another and plots it as a single continuum.


Because that is what happened - the cores moved all over the place, bringing civilisation with it. This was the norm, not the exception. Only in the Caliphate's case do you see this as a barrier.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 5th, 2015 at 3:28pm

freediver wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 12:58pm:
My argument does not require it to be the immediate successor.


True - your argument in fact hinges on an incredibly sophisticated formula for an empire to achieve the same, or better social development levels, than the previous: 1. simply emerge after the previous empire 2. not be islamic.

In view of this, you have some explaining to do for why the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire "failed" even more than the Islamic Empire.


freediver wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 12:58pm:
Look at the plot of the human development index. The Caliphate is a remarkable low point.


That doesn't refute my point. Looking at a linear scale of overall western development that jumps from core to core - is *NOT* an indication that islam "does not even register" and "achieved almost nothing" in terms of social development. Again you have to compare the Egypt/Iraq-Syria core before and after Islam took over - which Morris doesn't do, though he does confirm that there was economic decline immediately before Islam arrived, and economic revival after Islam arrived. But to what extent we don't know. Nevertheless we do know that the western core went quite suddenly from the area around SE Europe (Byzantine Empire) to the Islamic Empire, and stayed that way for at least 3 centuries - this despite the Byzantine Empire remaining relatively prosperous and even experiencing some growth during the same time.


freediver wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 12:58pm:
It was an unprecedented rise going into to the Roman Empire, and unprecedented collapse afterwards. This should have been followed by an unprecedented recovery and then unprecedented growth. It was in fact, but not until the shackles of the Caliphate were lifted from the west.


Nonsense - firstly, not even the Byzantine Empire could compete with Islam for the economic core of the western world. Secondly, there were no "shackles of the Caliphate" in the areas in the west that eventually became the western core (western Europe). Moreover, for about 500 years the western core was a combined effort of Islamic North Africa and Christian Southern Europe. Morris himself provides evidence that the foundations for the rise of Western Europe were firmly laid during the height of the caliphate - from around circa 900-1000. Which really just reaffirms the orthodox historical view that the transfer of knowledge that came from the Islamic world helped stimulate European growth.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by it_is_the_light on Feb 5th, 2015 at 3:38pm

polite_gandalf wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 3:28pm:

freediver wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 12:58pm:
My argument does not require it to be the immediate successor.


True - your argument in fact hinges on an incredibly sophisticated formula for an empire to achieve the same, or better social development levels, than the previous: 1. simply emerge after the previous empire 2. not be islamic.

In view of this, you have some explaining to do for why the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire "failed" even more than the Islamic Empire.


freediver wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 12:58pm:
Look at the plot of the human development index. The Caliphate is a remarkable low point.


That doesn't refute my point. Looking at a linear scale of overall western development that jumps from core to core - is *NOT* an indication that islam "does not even register" and "achieved almost nothing" in terms of social development. Again you have to compare the Egypt/Iraq-Syria core before and after Islam took over - which Morris doesn't do, though he does confirm that there was economic decline immediately before Islam arrived, and economic revival after Islam arrived. But to what extent we don't know. Nevertheless we do know that the western core went quite suddenly from the area around SE Europe (Byzantine Empire) to the Islamic Empire, and stayed that way for at least 3 centuries - this despite the Byzantine Empire remaining relatively prosperous and even experiencing some growth during the same time.


freediver wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 12:58pm:
It was an unprecedented rise going into to the Roman Empire, and unprecedented collapse afterwards. This should have been followed by an unprecedented recovery and then unprecedented growth. It was in fact, but not until the shackles of the Caliphate were lifted from the west.


Nonsense - firstly, not even the Byzantine Empire could compete with Islam for the economic core of the western world. Secondly, there were no "shackles of the Caliphate" in the areas in the west that eventually became the western core (western Europe). Moreover, for about 500 years the western core was a combined effort of Islamic North Africa and Christian Southern Europe. Morris himself provides evidence that the foundations for the rise of Western Europe were firmly laid during the height of the caliphate - from around circa 900-1000. Which really just reaffirms the orthodox historical view that the transfer of knowledge that came from the Islamic world helped stimulate European growth.


many blessings

another freemasonic pantomime

from two of the resident masonic dupes

this is observed with lol

namaste

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 5th, 2015 at 6:39pm
as always your trolling is irrelevant.

You are not forgiven for being king troll here

and so it is

namaste

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 5th, 2015 at 9:44pm
Gandalf why do you keep referring to a linear scale?


Quote:
Morris himself provides evidence that the foundations for the rise of Western Europe were firmly laid during the height of the caliphate - from around circa 900-1000.


How so?


Quote:
Which really just reaffirms the orthodox historical view that the transfer of knowledge that came from the Islamic world helped stimulate European growth.


Do you mean came through, or originated in?




Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 6th, 2015 at 2:32pm

freediver wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 9:44pm:
Quote:
Morris himself provides evidence that the foundations for the rise of Western Europe were firmly laid during the height of the caliphate - from around circa 900-1000.


How so?


Says Morris:


Quote:
Christian Europe definitely saw a vigorous economic revival after 900, and by 1300 the richest area, Italy, was catching up with the Islamic core in Egypt.



Quote:
I suggest that
energy capture in the core remained fairly flat at about 25,000 kcal/cap/day
between 700 and 900, and then started rising in the 10th century, to 26,000
kcal/cap/day in 1000 and perhaps 27,000 kcal/cap/day by 1300. The
archaeological evidence from Europe (e.g., Graham-Campbell and Valor
2006; Grenville 1999; O’Keefe 2008; Woolgar et al. 2009) seems consistent
with this, with clear signs of increasing household inventories, more
substantial homes, more trade, and much more state spending. It is also
consistent with the assumption that Italy was the richest part of Europe.


http://ianmorris.org/docs/social-development.pdf pp53-54



freediver wrote on Feb 5th, 2015 at 9:44pm:
Do you mean came through, or originated in?


Both. The Islamic Empire transferred and preserved knowledge  - eg Ancient Greek philosophy and knowledge from the far east - as well as made huge scientific and philosophical contributions of their own - which undoubtedly fueled the European revival.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:35pm

Quote:
Says Morris:


Not the same thing that you say Gandalf. That is an aweful lot of interpreting you are doing there. I have seen a lot of explanations for the rise of western europe. Not one of them put the foundations in the caliphate. In fact, had the caliphate succeeded in taking and holding western europe via spain and france, it is highly unlikely that the recovery would have happened. As far as Italy goes, the Muslims went on to use it's coastline as a source of slaves, destroying most of the coastal centres. In the end it took American intervention to end the 'foundation' that the caliphate was building in Europe. Through some inexplicable coincidence, they were still following Muhammed's example a millenia later.


Quote:
Both. The Islamic Empire transferred and preserved knowledge  - eg Ancient Greek philosophy and knowledge from the far east - as well as made huge scientific and philosophical contributions of their own - which undoubtedly fueled the European revival.


Is that the extent of it? Knowledge from elsewhere, with a few meager contributions from within?

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:31am

freediver wrote on Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:35pm:
That is an aweful lot of interpreting you are doing there.


Don't misquote me. I never said Morris attributed the rise to the caliphate. I merely noted his observation of when the west started to recover, and the fact that it coincided with the peak of the caliphate (from the 10th century). Mostly it was to point out the absurdity of attributing Italy's relative weakness to muslim raids - since the weakness of Italy was due to centuries of Germanic/Roman invasions/plundering/counter-invasions - that all happened before any muslims got in on the action. And in fact by the time the muslims were attacking Italy, the Italian economy was experiencing a recovery at the same time. A causal relationship? Not necessarily at all, but it certainly refutes your rubbish about muslim raids causing the demise of Italy.


Quote:
I have seen a lot of explanations for the rise of western europe. Not one of them put the foundations in the caliphate.


Congratulations. Your knowledge of western European history is surpassed only by your ability for extreme selective research.


Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 11th, 2015 at 2:58pm
Are you disowning your "foundations" claim?

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 11th, 2015 at 4:49pm
Of course not. What a stupid question.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Soren on Feb 11th, 2015 at 7:56pm
Who Saved Civilization? The Irish, That's Who!
HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION
The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe
By Thomas Cahill


The Ireland of the early fifth century was a brooding, dank island whose inhabitants, while carefree and warlike on the outside, lived in "quaking fear" within, their terror of shape-changing monsters, of sudden death and the insubstantiality of their world so acute that they drank themselves into an insensate stupor in order to sleep.

Patrick, however, provided "a living alternative." He was a serene man who slept well without drink, a man "in whom the sharp fear of death has been smoothed away." The Christianity he proposed to the Irish succeeded because it took away the dread from the magical world that was Ireland. And once they were Christianized, the Irish founded the monastic movement, copying the books being destroyed elsewhere by Germanic invaders, eventually bringing them back to the places from which the books had come.

"And that," Mr. Cahill concludes with typically wry unabashedness, "is how the Irish saved civilization."

The founder of the Cahill & Company Catalogue and the director of religious publishing at Doubleday, Mr. Cahill is a man of learning himself, and his writing is in the great Irish tradition he describes: lyrical, playful, penetrating and serious, but never too serious. And even when his conclusions are not entirely persuasive -- they do in places hang on rather slender reeds of evidence -- they are always plausible and certainly interesting.

"How the Irish Saved Civilization" begins with a mission: to correct the standard history of European civilization, which, Mr. Cahill says, has unfairly portrayed the Irish as wild, not civilized. Along his often picaresque route, Mr. Cahill provides a personal and selective appreciation of the great events and the dramatis personae of the period when the Roman Empire ended and the Dark Ages began, beginning with an account of the reasons for the fall of Rome itself. While far from Gibbonesque in scope or tone, Mr. Cahill's book strikes some Gibbonesque themes, especially that of spiritual decay, the gradual loss of vigor, the onset of a static, effete, imitative and self-satisfied Roman world.

Mr. Cahill's technique in this is to focus on some figure who marks the era. The poet and professor Ausonius, who lived in Bordeaux in the fourth century, is his representative of Rome's slide into emptiness and decay. Contrasting with him is Augustine of Hippo, the St. Augustine of history, whose remarkable codification of the early Christian orthodoxy made him "almost the last great classical man -- and very nearly the first medieval man."

Mr. Cahill uses Augustine as a lens for viewing the great question he poses early on: "What was lost when the Roman Empire fell?" Augustine was a man whose blood boiled, who felt life in a way utterly foreign to the calculating Ausonius. But in the end, he settled on a rigid doctrine. "Augustine, father of many firsts, is also father of the Inquisition," Mr. Cahill writes. With his triumph in the Roman world, the spirit of classical civilization was defeated, and would have been defeated forever, Mr. Cahill argues, had it not been for those wild men in a faraway land that had never fallen under Roman rule and had never heard of Augustine: Ireland.

There are other characters in Mr. Cahill's history, the most important of them clearly being Patrick, one of his heroes, a man of less intellectual refinement than Augustine but of greater humanity. Mr. Cahill credits him with being "the first human being in the history of the world to speak out unequivocally against slavery." There are several swashbuckling men and women of pre-Christian Ireland, like the sexually frank Queen Medb and her rival, the warrior Cuchulainn, both representatives of Irish "barbaric splendor." And there are the monkish scribes and the founders of monasteries, like the sixth-century Columcille, responsible, in Mr. Cahill's theory, for making possible a European world of books.

Is Mr. Cahill's theory correct? One senses a touch of hyperbole when he says that the Irish "singlehandedly refounded European civilization throughout the continent." There is a good deal of speculation in much of this. How, for example, do we really know if Patrick slept well or badly, especially since, as Mr. Cahill notes, we know very little about Patrick at all? There is also a certain vagueness about the central assertion Mr. Cahill makes about the extent of the Irish contribution.

Mr. Cahill does in the end allow, for example, that Greek literature might have been preserved elsewhere even without the Irish, which makes their achievement seem less single-handed than Mr. Cahill elsewhere claimed it to be. The Hebrew and Greek Bibles survived independently of them. "Latin literature," he concludes, "would almost surely have been lost without the Irish," and he further asserts, but without much argument, that the national literatures of Europe might not have emerged had the Irish not forged the first great vernacular literature of Europe.
http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/03/09/bsp/irish.html

I also recommend Cahill's The Gift of the Jews.
Reviewed in First Things: http://www.firstthings.com/article/1998/11/002-cahills-gift an in the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/15/daily/jews-book-review.html

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 12th, 2015 at 9:46am
there you go FD - civilization was destroyed by muslim raiders, and then saved by the Irish.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 12th, 2015 at 7:45pm

polite_gandalf wrote on Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:31am:

freediver wrote on Feb 10th, 2015 at 12:35pm:
That is an aweful lot of interpreting you are doing there.


Don't misquote me. I never said Morris attributed the rise to the caliphate. I merely noted his observation of when the west started to recover, and the fact that it coincided with the peak of the caliphate (from the 10th century). Mostly it was to point out the absurdity of attributing Italy's relative weakness to muslim raids - since the weakness of Italy was due to centuries of Germanic/Roman invasions/plundering/counter-invasions - that all happened before any muslims got in on the action. And in fact by the time the muslims were attacking Italy, the Italian economy was experiencing a recovery at the same time. A causal relationship? Not necessarily at all, but it certainly refutes your rubbish about muslim raids causing the demise of Italy.


Quote:
I have seen a lot of explanations for the rise of western europe. Not one of them put the foundations in the caliphate.


Congratulations. Your knowledge of western European history is surpassed only by your ability for extreme selective research.



I did not misquote you. I quoted exactly what you said. Furthermore you did not merely note a coincidence without attributing it to anything. Again, this is what you said:


Quote:
Morris himself provides evidence that the foundations for the rise of Western Europe were firmly laid during the height of the caliphate - from around circa 900-1000.


Again I ask, is the Caliphate as a conduit for the knowledge of other civilisations the extent of this "foundation"? What exactly are these foundations?


Quote:
And in fact by the time the muslims were attacking Italy


So when you cite the Caliphate not capturing Italy's wealth as the reason why it could not do what ancient Rome did, what you really meant is that the Caliphate destroyed that wealth?

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 13th, 2015 at 11:12am

freediver wrote on Feb 12th, 2015 at 7:45pm:
I did not misquote you.


You falsely attributed my argument to Morris claiming an Islamic contribution to the rise of Europe. I merely pointed out the simple fact that the "rise" of Europe - in terms of the indicators that Morris identified - also occurred during the height of the Caliphate - at a time when the Caliphate "threatened" Europe the most, and occupied the most European territory - including Italy. Or in other words, destroying your silly nonsense about Europe being kept in the dark ages because of Islam.


freediver wrote on Feb 12th, 2015 at 7:45pm:
Again I ask, is the Caliphate as a conduit for the knowledge of other civilisations the extent of this "foundation"? What exactly are these foundations?


I see you misunderstand again. By "Foundations" I merely refer to the economic and social indicators Morris identified that experienced a noticeable revival from the 10th century onwards - which paved the way for the rise of Medieval Europe, and later the Rennaissance etc. Indicators such as rise in literacy, energy output, trade etc.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 13th, 2015 at 7:21pm

Quote:
Or in other words, destroying your silly nonsense about Europe being kept in the dark ages because of Islam.


Where did I say this?

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by gandalf on Feb 13th, 2015 at 7:48pm

freediver wrote on Feb 13th, 2015 at 7:21pm:
Where did I say this?



Quote:
It was an unprecedented rise going into to the Roman Empire, and unprecedented collapse afterwards. This should have been followed by an unprecedented recovery and then unprecedented growth. It was in fact, but not until the shackles of the Caliphate were lifted from the west.

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by Mohammed on Feb 13th, 2015 at 8:07pm

polite_gandalf wrote on Feb 13th, 2015 at 7:48pm:

freediver wrote on Feb 13th, 2015 at 7:21pm:
Where did I say this?



Quote:
It was an unprecedented rise going into to the Roman Empire, and unprecedented collapse afterwards. This should have been followed by an unprecedented recovery and then unprecedented growth. It was in fact, but not until the shackles of the Caliphate were lifted from the west.


That says nothing about "dark ages because of Islam".

Title: Re: Why the West Rules ~ For Now
Post by freediver on Feb 13th, 2015 at 9:14pm
The caliphate invaded Spain and were on their way into France. The foundations for the recent rise of the west would not have been there if the Caliphate had succeeded. Western Europe would today be just another middle eastern or North African Islamic backwater. By this I mean the actual foundations, not a slight economic recovery to where society was at two millenia earlier.

The Caliphate did shackle most of the original western cores into a post-apocalyptic social backwater. You can still see those shackles today.

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