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THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby dissident » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 09:06:21

Tanada wrote:
Mark Lynas wrote:In his somewhat dreadful book Collapse, the writer Jared Diamond popularised the story of Easter Island 'ecocide', that the native population had - by chopping down all their trees and thereby committing ecological vandalism - outstripped its resources and ended up in war and cannibalism. This was intended as a rather weighty analogy for today's industrial society supposedly outstripping ecological limits on a planetary scale. The only problem is it's almost certainly not true. Actually the Easter Islanders - famous for the statues of stone heads - were pretty successful, until disaster struck in the form of European contact. Diamond is blaming the victims here, as the archaeological evidence now clearly shows. The irony is that all of this was explained in his earlier and much better book Guns, Germs and Steel.


Easter Island Truth


Indeed, it is just statistically impossible that Easter Island experienced ecological collapse just at the right moment of European contact. All factors need to be considered and not just pre-determined conclusions. Both the rats and human disease played the key roles. The Island is way too small to have sustained a human population for such a long period of time if the islanders were hacking away at it as claimed by Diamond.

But in terms of humanity and its impact on the globe, it is true that brainless exploitation is a terminal problem. We don't need to look for marginal survival cases to understand this. In fact, most of the brainless exploitation and terminal degradation has arrived with industrialization and the rise of the consumer society. Easter Island did not have these characteristics and actually is an example of how humans can survive even in a limited resource pool for an indefinite period of time (unless they get f*cked over by reckless invaders or try to live it up by latching their satisfaction onto material agglomeration).
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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 10:22:48

The collapse happened before the Europeans arrived. The explorers reported a small ragged group of unhealthy people, folks virtually without a coherent social history. It was obvious the culture and technology that had built the stone men was long gone.

Overpopulation and ecological collapse are simple obvious conditions of all animal populations, it seems to be in our genes to do so. We are not exempt. It will come to us in this generation, perhaps within decades, even years. The UN was recently forced to acknowledge that it much vaunted demographic transition, the trend in education, family planning and population-growth decline was always a bunch of hoodoo. The UN no longer assumes a maximum of 9 billion humans. The UN now predicts we will breed to 11-12 billion. No way the earth can support that much. Our numbers will collapse long before then into the sub-1 billion preindustrial range
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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby dissident » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 11:17:42

pstarr wrote:The collapse happened before the Europeans arrived. The explorers reported a small ragged group of unhealthy people, folks virtually without a coherent social history. It was obvious the culture and technology that had built the stone men was long gone.

Overpopulation and ecological collapse are simple obvious conditions of all animal populations, it seems to be in our genes to do so. We are not exempt. It will come to us in this generation, perhaps within decades, even years. The UN was recently forced to acknowledge that it much vaunted demographic transition, the trend in education, family planning and population-growth decline was always a bunch of hoodoo. The UN no longer assumes a maximum of 9 billion humans. The UN now predicts we will breed to 11-12 billion. No way the earth can support that much. Our numbers will collapse long before then into the sub-1 billion preindustrial range


The rat story does not add up. The rats did not spontaneously generate themselves a century before European contact. If the rats were indigenous, then they had plenty of time to facilitate the loss of vegetation. The pattern here is clearly that of an alien species introduction. This then demands an explanation as to when and how were the rats introduced.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 31105.html

The theory that the rats came together with the original settlers does not hold water. It would have taken at most 200 years for the rats to destroy the ecosystem. This obviously did not happen. No consistent theory as to what controlled the rats has been offered to make the early introduction theory work.

The alleged first contact with Europeans was in 1722. Either this was not the real first contact, or the history following 1722 is a collection of BS. It is hypothesized that Easter Island had a peak population over 15,000. But this is requires another food source which is alleged to be sweet potatoes:

https://www.sciencealert.com/easter-isl ... knew-about

The simulations in the above study show way too much variance and the lower bound is 3000 people which happens to agree with the 1722 estimate of 2000 to 3000. Crop cultivation would have denuded the island like pretty much all human agriculture that involves staples (potatoes, grains). Again, why would the Easter islanders hold off on cultivating a food staple that they had from as late as 1200 AD? The sweet potato farming story is inconsistent and fails as the silver bullet theory.

We have to go back and critically revisit the post 1722 history. It was not determined in 1722 that the island was denuded and that several species had gone extinct. There is no way some discovery expedition would be capable of carrying out such a scientific assessment.

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

The first-recorded European contact with the island took place on 5 April (Easter Sunday) 1722 when Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen[23] visited for a week and estimated there were 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants on the island. This was an estimate, not a census, and archaeologists estimate the population may have been as high as 10,000 to 12,000 a few decades earlier. His party reported "remarkable, tall, stone figures, a good 30 feet in height", the island had rich soil and a good climate and "all the country was under cultivation". Fossil-pollen analysis shows that the main trees on the island had gone 72 years earlier in 1650. The Dutch reported that a fight broke out in which they killed ten or twelve islanders.

The next foreign visitors arrived on 15 November 1770: two Spanish ships, San Lorenzo and Santa Rosalia, sent by the Viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat, and commanded by Felipe González de Ahedo. They spent five days on the island, performing a very thorough survey of its coast, and named it Isla de San Carlos, taking possession on behalf of King Charles III of Spain, and ceremoniously erected three wooden crosses on top of three small hills on Poike.[24] They reported the island as largely uncultivated, with a seashore lined with stone statues.

Four years later, in mid-March 1774, British explorer James Cook visited Easter Island. Cook himself was too sick to walk far, but a small group explored the island.[25]:26 They reported the statues as being neglected with some having fallen down; no sign of the three crosses and his botanist described it as "a poor land". He had a Tahitian interpreter who could partially understand the language.[25]:26 Other than in counting, though, the language was unintelligible.[26] Cook later estimated that there were about 700 people on the island. He saw only three or four canoes, all unseaworthy. Parts of the island were cultivated with banana, sugarcane, and sweet potatoes, while other parts looked like they had once been cultivated but had fallen into disuse. Georg Forster reported in his account that he saw no trees over ten feet tall on the island.[25]:27–28


So we have a gap of 1722 --> 1770. No evidence about any "extinction" study during the 1700s whatsoever. But we have two observations:

1) 1770: poor land not worthy of cultivation
2) 1774: 700 inhabitants

The evidence points to a rat-infestation induced collapse after 1722. It is improbable that the Europeans left no disease behind but even if this miracle happened, the rats are most certainly a 1722 infestation and could not have come with the original inhabitants in their sea canoes from Polynesia before 1200 AD.
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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 11:29:08

Your position is mired in irrelevant details. Rats? There was a visit, the first, by Europeans and the degradation of the island and people had been recent.

The evidence for rapid population collapse is simple: they found a remnant and degraded human settlement, recently timbered and worked wood, and a highly developed technology. Simple conclusion supported by extensive evidence and analysis proves a recent sophisticated culture. Suddenly gone. Simplest explanation, however uncomfortable, makes the most sense.
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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby Subjectivist » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 17:45:34

pstarr wrote:Your position is mired in irrelevant details. Rats? There was a visit, the first, by Europeans and the degradation of the island and people had been recent.

The evidence for rapid population collapse is simple: they found a remnant and degraded human settlement, recently timbered and worked wood, and a highly developed technology. Simple conclusion supported by extensive evidence and analysis proves a recent sophisticated culture. Suddenly gone. Simplest explanation, however uncomfortable, makes the most sense.


Seems like you do not like actual facts if they conflict with your ecocide theory of how things took place. The Archeology, you know actual science done by actual scientists, refutes your ecocide theory. Time to look at what the science says no matter if it fits your preconcieved theory or not.
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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 18:10:57

So the rats ate the seeds causing deforestation and that is why the people died? Why did't the polynesians just eat the rats and save the trees?

Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire 1st Edition
Questioning Collapse challenges those scholars and popular writers who advance the thesis that societies - past and present - collapse because of behavior that destroyed their environments or because of overpopulation. In a series of highly accessible and closely argued essays, a team of internationally recognized scholars bring history and context to bear in their radically different analyses of iconic events, such as the deforestation of Easter Island, the cessation of the Norse colony in Greenland, the faltering of nineteenth-century China, the migration of ancestral peoples away
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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby Subjectivist » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 18:43:17

pstarr wrote:So the rats ate the seeds causing deforestation and that is why the people died? Why did't the polynesians just eat the rats and save the trees?

Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire 1st Edition
Questioning Collapse challenges those scholars and popular writers who advance the thesis that societies - past and present - collapse because of behavior that destroyed their environments or because of overpopulation. In a series of highly accessible and closely argued essays, a team of internationally recognized scholars bring history and context to bear in their radically different analyses of iconic events, such as the deforestation of Easter Island, the cessation of the Norse colony in Greenland, the faltering of nineteenth-century China, the migration of ancestral peoples away


Why doesn’t NYC with its huge economy and high technology eliminate its rat problem by turning them into dog food? IOW if it is impossible for 21st century technology along with cats, poison, traps, rat terriers to kill off the rat population n a small island like Manhattan what would lead you to believe people living on Rapa Nui with none of those advantages could defeat rats once they became an established population.
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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 18:55:31

The islanders had no need to 'kill off the rat population." People eat rats. They taste good.
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Re: THE Easter Island Thread (merged)

Unread postby dissident » Fri 13 Oct 2017, 21:35:40

Only morons would believe that the boats used by the Polynesians who settled Easter Island would be able to bring over rats. Only if these rats were pets. Sorry, but there is no evidence of any pet rats since rats are commonly and rightly regarded as vermin.

Image

Unlike the relatively large European sailing ships which had a hold where rats could find places to hide and which were tolerated since it was too much hassle to kill them off, the Polynesian craft had no hold. The rats would have to have resided in plain view of the people sailing these canoes. Given the long journey to reach Easter Island and the limited storage capacity of these canoes, there is no f*cking way that rats would be tolerated. They would have been eaten if not chased overboard.
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