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How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a culture 
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Post How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a culture
While reading through the history and forums on the site, I get the impression that everyone agrees the introduction of Soria technology had a retarding effect on the Loroi's rate of technological advancement.

Why is this?

I understand we have examples of primitive cultures on earth degrading after an alliance and technological exchange with more advanced societies, but this mass exportation of weapons and ideas doesn't parallel the way Loroi had to study and understand mangled Soia artifacts. This, I think, better reflects a natural progression of a culture as it builds upon a previous generations advancements.

My main point is, if being "spoon fed" knowledge you would build upon had a retarding effect, would we not see our societys rate of advancement become exponentially slower?

I understand that knowledge from a more advanced society is not directly comparable to knowledge from a less advanced one, ie. the past, but I don't understand how knowledge from "the future" could slow the development of new ideas rather than speeding it up.

Phenomena that can be studied in the physical world don't disappear because you find technology that leap-frogs over its potential applications...right?

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Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:50 pm
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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Having examples to follow certainly speeds up advancement; I don't recall saying otherwise. It's possible that always relying on pre-existing examples may retard your ability to come up with new things on your own, but I don't think there's any question that the Loroi advanced much faster due to the existence of precursor artifacts than they would have without them.

One of the things that makes Humanity remarkable in the story is that they were able to advance so quickly without the benefit of such examples.

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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
An interesting theory for a discussion, technological innovation may have been hindered by the presence of advanced artifacts but not in the way of a 'retardation' but rather by inducing technological tunnel vision onto the various forward thinkers.

Basic scientific theory is like this:

Phenomenon in need of explanation => developed theory => theory tested through experimentation => phenomenon in need of explanation.

We humans have always wanted to explain everything around us in a rational manner and the above has been more or less subconsciously understood throughout the ages but it wasn't until the advent of Scientific method practices that we really started to record everything and develop new theories and technologies.

Having examples of advanced tech laying around however breaks something vital in the above equation by inserting something that is a tangible absolute:

Artifact in need of explanation => developed theory about artifact's purpose, function and construction methods => attempt to replicate artifact through experimentation

A tangible absolute destroys the basic scientific theory by just existing as an unmovable pedestal. Everything thus centers around the artifact without leaving room for outside the box thinking, something that is vital for proper innovation.

Advanced technological artifacts do provide benefits for research by directly pointing out 'better ways' of doing things but that doesn't mean that 'these better ways' are truly better or ideal in any other function. I believe that a circular development of knowledge through original research and breakthrough is preferable than the sudden spikes of advancement that reverse engineering produces.

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Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:13 pm
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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
But Arioch said "The Loroi will be impressed with the rate of human progress more so because of the fact that we did it without any Soia examples to follow, but I think they probably don't realize that relying on ancient tech may be more of a retarding influence in the long run than a help."

But I might have misunderstood it.

Also, while reliance can hinder an individual, does it really affect societies in the same way?

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Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:13 pm
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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
To dragoonfa.

Couldn't the artifacts you consider to be "absolutes" also be replacements for physical phenomena?

I am arguing that studying a piece of ceramic that resonates with thought speak would be no more "absolute" than studying why things fall down. Both of these examples would be mysterious phenomena that would need explanation. It seems a willingness to apply the scientific method, which I believe the loroi have, could lead to learning more than just how a device works.

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Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:21 pm
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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Game Theory wrote:
To dragoonfa.

Couldn't the artifacts you consider to be "absolutes" also be replacements for physical phenomena?

I am arguing that studying a piece of ceramic that resonates with thought speak would be no more "absolute" than studying why things fall down. Both of these examples would be mysterious phenomena that would need explanation. It seems a willingness to apply the scientific method, which I believe the loroi have, could lead to learning more than just how a device works.


The answer to this is a little more complex.

Let's take for example fire. Which we now know that it is a rapid oxidation of a material through the exothermic chemical process of combustion.

Before the discovery of oxidation however, fire was explained through different 'theories' that ranged from it being a gift stolen from the gods (Legend of Prometheus) to being a natural element (Aristotelian theory of the elements) to the Phlogiston theory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlogiston_theory

All of the above theories seem ridiculous now but at the time they were conceived they 'explained' fire. What's interesting however is that the Aristotelian theory of the elements was instrumental to Alchemical research while the Phlogiston theory was a solid base of the experimentation that brought forth the discovery of Oxidation.

Now let's say that someone wrote down the current scientific concept of fire and mailed it back to antiquity. The ancients would have never developed the obsolescent theories as a result and would instantly know how fire really works. The problem is that the obsolescent theories provided a foundation for other research avenues in order to understand fire. Alchemical research in ancient times was what produced 'Greek Fire' in Europe and the black powder in China.

What I am trying to say is encompassed in this age old saying : 'The Journey is the reward.'

The lessons learned through basic science from the bottom up are often as important if not more as the end result of a research project. Many people foolishly believe that space exploration 'is a waste of resources' when the fact is that modern society CANNOT function without the technologies that were derived from the research that was focused on space exploration.

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Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:48 pm
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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Let's consider a slightly different angle.

Sudden introduction to advanced technology can also harm culture as well. Not saying that the Loroi are Pakleds of course, but let's consider things.

The Loroi believe themselves to be the successors to the Soia. This belief pervades their culture, and even if their neighbours don't take it very seriously, they certainly do. The presence of many Soia artifacts coupled with their telepathy has shaped their culture in a very distinct manner.

Now suppose a Loroi scientist wants to pursue an avenue of research that might challenge that notion, such as doing a deep range survey to discover a world that might hold the template species of the Loroi. The orthodoxy of the Loroi as the successors of the Soia would be threatened by such a scientist, and would likely suppress them or their funding. Their research never gets funded, surveys are never sent. Whether they find such a species is irrelevant; the survey may have uncovered new Soia ruins, new worlds to colonise, new territories to exploit. Sure, these areas might have been taken advantage of or found later rather than sooner, but it could be the difference between discovering America in 500 AD as opposed to 1500 AD.

It would be interesting to see how a Loroi culture that had no such artifacts or reference materials would have evolved as a control group.

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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Game Theory wrote:
Also, while reliance can hinder an individual, does it really affect societies in the same way?

One way is, as Razor One mentions, that a culture sometimes ceases to ask questions when it thinks it already knows the answers. The obvious example is the effect of Christianity on Western culture after the fall of Rome; initially, Christian institutions were among the few sources of retained classical knowledge, literacy, and education. But as time went on they became a drag on scientific advancement, as the classical sources became Church doctrine and not to be questioned, and ultimately the Church became the primary enemy of science, persecuting scientists as heretics.

Another way is in the culture of emulation. The Japanese are known for being very technically proficient and ingenious, but not for true innovation or invention; they mainly copy and improve existing inventions. Having examples to follow allowed Japan to progress from pre-industrial to post-industrial technology in less than a century, but it does not seem to have made them any more innovative. Much the same thing can be said for Korea. Some of this may have to do with Eastern culture itself; ancient China was a hotbed of invention in ancient times, but by the start of the Twentieth Century had fallen more than a generation behind the West.

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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Arioch wrote:
Having examples to follow certainly speeds up advancement; I don't recall saying otherwise.
Some technology springs up to fulfill a need, but other technology springs up on its own and creates a "need" that no one knew they had. Take the development of the Internet as a key example. In 1985, there weren't any people walking around saying, "damn -- if only I had a global computer network and a mobile device, I could be looking at porn right now while I text my mother." And yet, twenty years later, the Internet has become something we can't live without. The development of technology is sometimes like evolution in that it can seem as sometimes purposeful, and sometimes random.

"You said earlier the Loroi would be impressed at human technological advancement. While we know the historians don't let Loroi enter their databases, I can't see the other members of the alliance having no networking tech on the Internet level at the very least. How can a TL9+ society like that exist otherwise?"

Everyone has computer networking technology; the question is what you do with it. The Internet is as much a cultural phenomenon as it is a technological one. You can see in places like China that authoritarian regimes have a very different idea of what the networks should be used for than we do in the West. The telepathic Loroi have little use for the kind of Internet that we enjoy, but other races may have different uses for their networks.

The Loroi would be on the slow end of the technological progression curve (for a variety of reasons that I have mentioned), but the majority of the local races are also pretty conservative in terms of rate of progress; nearly all of them are pretty old races that had civilizations that were blasted back to the stone age at the fall of the Soia empire, and took a long time to venture back out into space. Most relied heavily on Soia-era examples to prop them back up again, and so many treat technological advancement as much as an archaeological exercise as an innovative one. Some are more inventive than others: the Pipolsid are a standout, and lead the Union in drive and some computing technologies. The Umiak advanced relatively rapidly, not because of their creativity, but more because of the mania that drives them to constantly improve, where other races may be more content with the status quo. Humans are on the high end of this scale: capable and creative, and with a society that encourages change and rewards innovation. The Loroi will be impressed with the rate of human progress more so because of the fact that we did it without any Soia examples to follow, but I think they probably don't realize that relying on ancient tech may be more of a retarding influence in the long run than a help.

So, what Arioch said here is taht in the long run the Loroi will lose the technology race against the Humans, because they skipped some steps, the Humans had to do. Learning by working examples teaches you how to copy, not how to develop. They may have learned to adapt things too, but the basic understanding of theories behind the working principle may be lacking. And from this comes also the lack of implementing new understanding into new devices.

On the short term copying jumpstarts your civilisation.

This has not been tested in practice though, as those who are smart enough should see the need for full understanding of the working principles, and should thus see a need to develop the theories behind the gifted devices. So, depending on the mindstate of the uplifted civilisation, they might reach a plateau (the gifted technology level) and stay there, or they might reach this plateau, stay awhile tehre while they learn to understand, and then move on themselves. It depends on how competitive the civilisation is.
Human civilisations which are centered around personal gain have an advantage here, those who can develop new things are often in a better situation to profit from their know-how.

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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Really the loroi would benefit from tying the humans to them in an alliance. We cannot do much for them right now but once the gap is closed, being our friends could help them surpass even the historians. We cooperate with the science and commerce and they do most of the military stuff since they after all, is a warrior race.


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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Arioch wrote:
One way is, as Razor One mentions, that a culture sometimes ceases to ask questions when it thinks it already knows the answers. The obvious example is the effect of Christianity on Western culture after the fall of Rome; initially, Christian institutions were among the few sources of retained classical knowledge, literacy, and education. But as time went on they became a drag on scientific advancement, as the classical sources became Church doctrine and not to be questioned, and ultimately the Church became the primary enemy of science, persecuting scientists as heretics.


The "Dark Ages" are mostly a myth which is heavily overstated. Here's a general write-up about it. Here are some people arguing about it on the internet.

This is not to say that our current culture and society isn't much more supportive of science and innovation than it was five hundred years ago, but that there wasn't really any point in which the Church was the primary enemy of science. The reason why we have examples of scientists being persecuted as heretics is because most science was being done by theologians, in effect, supported by religious institutions. Part of the mythology of the Catholic Church persecuting scientists comes from Protestant myths of the Catholic Church as the great evil. Another, perhaps, from the Catholic Church's current regrettable positions on contraception. In reality, all kinds of leaders in all kinds of circumstances have often found the kinds of thinkers interested in challenging the accepted view threatening, not only church leaders. Our society's (partial) solution to this problem has been make criticism of authority sacrosanct.


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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Eluvatar wrote:
The "Dark Ages" are mostly a myth which is heavily overstated. Here's a general write-up about it. Here are some people arguing about it on the internet.

This is not to say that our current culture and society isn't much more supportive of science and innovation than it was five hundred years ago, but that there wasn't really any point in which the Church was the primary enemy of science. The reason why we have examples of scientists being persecuted as heretics is because most science was being done by theologians, in effect, supported by religious institutions. Part of the mythology of the Catholic Church persecuting scientists comes from Protestant myths of the Catholic Church as the great evil. Another, perhaps, from the Catholic Church's current regrettable positions on contraception. In reality, all kinds of leaders in all kinds of circumstances have often found the kinds of thinkers interested in challenging the accepted view threatening, not only church leaders. Our society's (partial) solution to this problem has been make criticism of authority sacrosanct.


The Protestant VS Catholic door swings both ways on this issue, as Galileo's theory that the Earth revolved around the sun rather than sun was smashed by the Catholic Church specifically because it challenged the Papal Authority in a way that might be construed as Protestantism. No one came out of those couple centuries with their hands clean.

Regardless, this is about technology not religion and the rest of your analysis is quite accurate. Christianity is but one of hundreds of organizations and individuals that have found that their existing power base is being threatened by new discoveries.

The Loroi, as a warrior-ruled oligarchy, are such a society. They place much more emphasis on martial strength than scientific achievement. A warrior doesn't need to know why the sun rises, merely that it does. Beyond that, science needs time and money, which the warrior elite of the Loroi don't have. Thus the most intelligent/ambitious are shunted toward military tracks and prevented from performing research, leaving a less talented group to attempt to make up the difference. Combine both of those and it's no wonder the Loroi suck at research compared to us. They only advance their technology when there is a obvious, pressing need to do so, compared to Humanity, which slowly creeps forward even when we don't 'need' new knowledge.

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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Eluvatar wrote:
The "Dark Ages" are mostly a myth which is heavily overstated.

Any generalization about a 1000-year period of history is going to be lacking in some respect, especially when it's such a subjective characterization... neither term "dark age" or "golden age" has much historical validity. When I see it is used, "Dark Ages" mostly refers to the Early Middle Ages when things were pretty rough (political chaos, famine, plague, Viking raids)... but you may notice that I didn't use that term.

Eluvatar wrote:
This is not to say that our current culture and society isn't much more supportive of science and innovation than it was five hundred years ago, but that there wasn't really any point in which the Church was the primary enemy of science. The reason why we have examples of scientists being persecuted as heretics is because most science was being done by theologians, in effect, supported by religious institutions.

During the Middle Ages, the church was the primary source of learning and what could be called "science." Almost all academics were themselves clerics. My point was that when you are a religious scholar, and you think you already know the answer to a question, there is a limit to how thoroughly you will investigate evidence (especially when it may not support your established views), and there are some questions you simply won't ask. And if you did somehow come up with a result that contradicted established doctrine, it would not be accepted. I agree that the church did not run around hunting scientists during the Middle Ages, because there was no such thing as a "scientist" at that time. It was not until the Renaissance and the rediscovery of true science that this became an issue... but it did indeed become an issue.

Eluvatar wrote:
Part of the mythology of the Catholic Church persecuting scientists comes from Protestant myths of the Catholic Church as the great evil.

It's true that the Reformation is part of the story, but I don't think it's possible to separate the two. The Church vigorously opposed any challenge to its authority (as institutions do), whether that challenge was scientific, political, or doctrinal. I did not say that the Church was evil, but it did become an opponent of science. I don't see how you can say that it was not; it has been opposed to nearly every major scientific revelation of the last 500 years, from Copernicus to Galileo to Kepler to Darwin. Science is incompatible with dogma.

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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Arioch wrote:
Eluvatar wrote:
The "Dark Ages" are mostly a myth which is heavily overstated.

Any generalization about a 1000-year period of history is going to be lacking in some respect, especially when it's such a subjective characterization... neither term "dark age" or "golden age" has much historical validity.
Relevant for the ancient Greeks, though. They even lost their written language.

Arioch wrote:
My point was that when you are a religious scholar, and you think you already know the answer to a question, there is a limit to how thoroughly you will investigate evidence (which may not support your established views), and there are some questions you simply won't ask. And if you did somehow come up with a result that contradicted established doctrine, it would not be accepted.
Arioch wrote:
Science is incompatible with dogma.
And yet scientists are perfectly susceptible to it themselves. Not every scientist is Einstein (who not only was instrumental in the early development of quantum mechanics, but apparently never accepted it!), and it is not unknown for a superior theory to only be accepted when it's opponents die of old age.

tl:dr; That's not the Catholic Church, that's all of Humanity!


Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:25 pm
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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Absalom wrote:
And yet scientists are perfectly susceptible to it themselves. Not every scientist is Einstein (who not only was instrumental in the early development of quantum mechanics, but apparently never accepted it!), and it is not unknown for a superior theory to only be accepted when it's opponents die of old age.

tl:dr; That's not the Catholic Church, that's all of Humanity!

Of course; that's human nature, to a certain extent. But while ideal scientific practice discourages dogmatic adherence to views which don't fit the facts, ideal religious practice encourages it.

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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
The "dark" in "dark ages" might not refer to he grimness of the period so much as our lack of knowledge about it. People weren't leaving as much information about themselves and their lives behind, so that period isn't well illuminated, historically speaking.


Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:11 am
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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
Absalom wrote:
Arioch wrote:
Eluvatar wrote:
The "Dark Ages" are mostly a myth which is heavily overstated.

Any generalization about a 1000-year period of history is going to be lacking in some respect, especially when it's such a subjective characterization... neither term "dark age" or "golden age" has much historical validity.
Relevant for the ancient Greeks, though. They even lost their written language.


That's debatable, it's unknown if the shift from Linear B to the Alphabet after the collapse of Mycenae was because Linear B was 'lost' or because the Alphabet was easier to work with.

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Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:06 am
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Post Re: How would introduction to advanced technology hurt a cul
The Dark Ages, how dark were they really?

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Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:27 am
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