Re: Alex's gibbon-like CA

Paul Crowley (
Wed, 15 Nov 95 22:06:51 GMT

In article <487gt2$> "Phil Nicholls" writes:

I said:
> >> >BTW I keep seeing the "evolution forces" error everywhere, and it
> >> >drives me bananas. Today's UK Times has a report from Dr Charles
> >> >Goodhart of Cambridge Univ stating the some h.s.s. were "forced"
> >> >by climatic change to move south around 70kya.

> >> Ahhh!!!!! Now I get it. Your a literalist! Think, Paul. 70,000
> >> years ago. Europe. Ice Age. What do you think Dr. Goodhart might
> >> have been referring to?
> You can't live on top of an ice sheet, Paul. However, we are not
> talking about a sudden migration here. It takes thousands of years
> for glaciers to advance and human populations living in Europe
> gradually migrated southward. If they were hunters then it is likely
> they followed game southward but again this was a gradual process.

Let's examine this properly. Dr Goodhart has biochemical evidence that
indicates all blacks are descended from whites (four different types
of pigmentation in different peoples - whatever). He decides that
whites developed in northern climes. They then moved south and the
black races sprung off. I'm not concerned about his data or his
racial arguments here.

But he has to pick a time when they moved south. So he picks 70kya,
a known glacial period. Why does he pick this? Because it is part
of the PA tradition that adverse climate changes force population

But it is utterly wrong! Look at the population in, say, Turkey.
Without resource constraints it could easily double every 50 years.
In 500 years or 2000 generations it could expand 1,000 fold. A
blink of an eye. It didn't, becaue life was tough. But these are
the sorts of figures to be kept in mind when considering population

What are the best conditions for an expanding population which
would be interested in exploiting adjacent territory? One that
will produce a generation of young, healthy, well-equiped warriors,
ready to pillage and loot? Why, a nice warm interglacial!

What are the worst conditions to have before such a campaign?
Why, a series of hard winters that leaves everyone sick and feeble,
with food stocks low and death rates high.

Which does he pick? - the worst one. Why does he do this? Well
he needs peer-approval and if he said they moved south during a
warm inter-glacial, there'd be eyebrows raised. He be told he must
have made a typo. His editor might change it without asking. After
all, the discipline has its traditions to keep up.

He would not say that climate probably had little to do with it.
That's more than likely correct, but that's an even greater heresy.
You've seen the reaction here to my suggestion. Over the 1000's of
years the change would be gradual. Such invasions and conquests
depend much more on the social organization, the characters of
individual leaders, the weapons technology. How much talk do we
have about the influence of climatic change on historical times?
Was Genghis Khan and driven by cold or warm spells? Did the
USSR collapse because of the weather? (It's a great mistake to
think that pre-historical societies were very different from the
ones that we do know.)