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Douglas_Knight3 comments on Cascades, Cycles, Insight... - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Douglas_Knight3 01 December 2008 06:34:01AM 0 points [-]

One man's modus ponens is another's modus tolens.

I don't see that the stampede is consist with a lack of much use of buffalo. Stampedes are only inefficient if they have great variance. This might explain the conjunction of the stories of inefficient stampedes and efficient use of individual buffalo.

One theory is that farmers displace hunter-gatherers because HG have high variance yields, while farmers don't. That still requires explanation of why HG don't displace farmers in booms.

Height in the precolumbian great plains would give an easy to check to your source's claim that they were on the margins of subsistence. But even if true, that only tells us that farmers displaced HG, which we know happens. It doesn't address the question of what HG population could exist.