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View Full Version : If civilization collapsed, could we rebuild?



banquo's_bumble_puppy
2004-Nov-09, 11:11 AM
Let's say that giant solar flares or sunspots cause a worldwide collapse. All computers crash...civilization grinds to a halt. Is there something in place that would ensure civilizations rebuilding? There are many other scenarios that could result in civilizations downfall- natural and man-made. The question is- how long would we remain in a dark ages type of world? Are there repositories of knowledge that would survive for a long time and would we be able to easily unstand the instructions for say- digging a well? Planting crops?

snowcelt
2004-Nov-09, 12:32 PM
Let's say that giant solar flares or sunspots cause a worldwide collapse. All computers crash...civilization grinds to a halt. Is there something in place that would ensure civilizations rebuilding? There are many other scenarios that could result in civilizations downfall- natural and man-made. The question is- how long would we remain in a dark ages type of world? Are there repositories of knowledge that would survive for a long time and would we be able to easily unstand the instructions for say- digging a well? Planting crops?

I am sure that we could rebuild. The question should be how long?

If we assume that whatever catastrophe occurs doesn't wipe us completely out, and mankind and the sufficient amount of flora and fauna needed survive, why not? We will still be intelligent. We would still have the desire to look around the corner and try to find something better.

If anything it would take us less time to reach our level of technology then it did from the dawn of agriculture until now. It would be like a SF novel. Couple of thousand years after the Holocaust Fred and Wilma get curious about what is around them. For example, the large ruins every where. The search for the lost knowledge of the Ancients would be on. Think how easy it would be for metal working to start up again! Thousands of tons of metal in every ruined city around you. Myth and legend would guide us. If you knew that your ancestors rode beasts, it would not be a hard step to figure out what beasts to ride yourself.

There is no need for primers on how to dig a well, we would figure it out on our own. I doubt that the idea of planting crops would even be lost. If the idea was lost we would figure out how to do so anyway. After all, we did it once before.

The hardest thing would be getting cheap energy when we reached an era like the 20th century. There would not be a lot of easy-too-find oil. No problem, use alternative source's of energy. If we had no oil right now, I am sure we would have used a lot more coal.

Glom
2004-Nov-09, 12:36 PM
There's loads of thorium around.

What's with all the predictions of apocalypse lately? Did anyone see The Power of Nightmare? As a general message, what the series said was very important.

Bawheid
2004-Nov-09, 12:38 PM
Why would knowledge be lost? Plenty of people dig wells and plant crops manually just now. They don't do it in developed countries, but most of the world's population doesn't live in those countries.

High density, high technology living would be over for a while but in large tracts of Africa and Asia nothing much would change after the initial event and the first winter.

Brady Yoon
2004-Nov-11, 06:40 AM
I think civlization would enter a new stage of growth and development that was never seen before. As snowcelt said, we would still be intelligent, and we would have a great desire to rebuild. Humans, as history has shown, can be great when they work hard and put their minds to things.

Enzp
2004-Nov-12, 06:02 AM
We were intelligent 50,000 years ago too. If the big meteor hits and civilization crumbles, those ruins will be seen as sources of raw materials. Those remaining bits of steel beams can be pounded into swell swords to take food from our neighbors. Look at the great pyramids - all the cladding has been stripped away. When that civilization died, its artifacts became so much scrap. Why should this time be different.

Much knowledge is already lost. Remote people might survive, but many of us survivors would perish. If you found yourself and a few others left on your own, just exactly how would you go about digging a 250 foot deep well for water? Ther are now no tractors or drill rigs nor fuel for them if you had one. We hunted many animals to extinction the last time around, but then we had them in the first place to squander. This time around, the game are already gone. We are left with rabbits and deer, and not nearly as many of them as before.

Agriculture is not so ingrained as it may seem. if I want to grow a field of corn, I plow and seed. I bought the seed from the local grain elevator. Now after the fall, I have to figure out how to harness a plow animal. Where do I find one? Where do I find my seed? What is critical mass for starting agriculture from scratch?

We will be much more vulnerable to climate and weather - look at the Maya. Gone. They lost the fight.

Human nature being what it is, many would view the death of civilization as some sort of sign from above. There may be an anti-technology attitude. Sorry, but I really think our brave new world is more like the Lord of the Flies.

xbck1
2004-Nov-12, 06:21 AM
What type of catastrophe could do something like that? What could cause the whole world civilization to just grind to a halt? Even if you destroyed all the major cities on the planet, there would still be people who knew how to do everything you need. Unless there was some sort of weird Twilight Zone-esque event that caused all the people on earth to forget what the heck is going on and how they got where they were, I really don't think anything aside from a huge asteroid impact that fried the surface of the planet or something like that could stop people from just rebuilding everything.

Silent Knight
2004-Nov-12, 06:25 AM
I think it would depend on who survived. I, personally, don't know how to do much. I think if the 5000+ BABBlers survived we would be well off.

Makgraf
2004-Nov-12, 11:00 PM
This thread (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=12530&view=next) has some interesting stuff on rebuilding civilization after a disaster (in that thread, a nuclear war).

astronomo flaquito
2004-Nov-13, 12:36 AM
I agree with Bawheid. In may parts of the world, here in southern Mexico for example, people still carry on with many aspects of "non-technical" civilization, especially when it comes to agriculture. Plenty of people retain the knowledge of producing their own seed sources for the following growing season, and the power of manual labor is impressive when it comes to things like construction. Many of the people that retain that knowledge live in rural areas, so, depending on the type of cataclysm, it seems likely that many would survive.

Those survivors with technical knowledge would probably for a time rely heavily on those with the "basic" knowledge. As with any civilization, it would require the cooperation of many with differing skills and knowledge to create a new "renaissance".

Tunga
2004-Nov-13, 01:54 AM
xbck1 wrote:


What type of catastrophe could do something like that? What could cause the whole world civilization to just grind to a halt?

A nearby supernova event could produce some interesting results. Very high energy galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) could create a shower of nuclear particles that could reach the planet's surface. Electronic (which is integrated into almost everything we take for granted) can be destroyed. Nuclear particle radiation (protons and neutrons) can destroy or mutate living cells. For those that might survive, one side effect of nuclear particle radiation in humans is dementia. It is interesting to consider a world of demented individuals, unable to communicate coherently or think clearly. A Tower of Babel scenario. Humans might survive but civilization might be set back to square one.

Brady Yoon
2004-Nov-13, 02:30 AM
What's worse, an all out nuclear war, where all of the nuclear weapons on Earth are exploded, or an impact from a 100 km asteroid?

Tunga
2004-Nov-13, 01:41 PM
Brady Yoon wrote:


What's worse, an all out nuclear war, where all of the nuclear weapons on Earth are exploded, or an impact from a 100 km asteroid?

An all out nuclear war would not result in a global extinction event. An impact from a 100 km asteroid moving at a nominal speed of 20 km/sec would.

electromagneticpulse
2004-Nov-13, 07:28 PM
I recommend everyone buy diesel cars they don't need a battery to start so they would still work after a nuclear war or solar flare. You just need to push them to get them going, I think we could get it going quite quickly I know all the farms near where I live all use diesel tractors and combines so harvest here would still role in and out like normal.

Or! We could make aluminium glass so that there would be no EMF leaking and we wouldn't even need to worry, now what can cool things at million degree's per second so we can make metal glass #-o