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Richard_Hollerith2 comments on Cascades, Cycles, Insight... - Less Wrong

13 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 November 2008 09:33AM

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Comment author: Richard_Hollerith2 25 November 2008 02:48:31AM 1 point [-]

When I was reading about the spread of farming across Europe, starting about 7000 years ago, it was asserted that most European land could support 100 times as many farmers as hunters. I was left with the impression that that was determined by counting calories in the game on the land versus the calories in the crops that were grown back then. If farming was not able to support manyfold more people per acre, then we are without an explanation of why the hunters of Europe were unable to stop the spread of the farmers across Europe. The hunters would have stopped the spread if they could have because most of the time they were unable to switch to the farming lifestyle: I think we have genetic evidence that the new land put under farming was populated mostly by the descendants of farmers. Also, the steadiness of the rate of spread of farming over many generations suggests that the farmers never encountered effective resistance from the hunters despite the obvious fact that the hunters were specialized in skills that should have conferred military advantages.