Author Topic: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?  (Read 9651 times)

CheapskateWife

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2017, 02:21:38 PM »
Quote
How does birth control provide a way for sex to be something more than a man's right to his property?

Control over reproduction > Allowed women to enter the working world > Which provided financial independence and ability to support themselves > Meaning they could leave abusive or controlling marriages > And have sex (i.e., pleasure, happiness) without fear of lifelong consequences > Which is also good for men

Ah I see.  The sex is more meaningful because the marriage is hypothetically based more on desire rather than financial need.
Also...the sex is more meaningful because women like me can actually have sex with their husbands (when we want to, of course), without the constant worry that I'm going to get pregnant again and wondering if this baby is going to be the one that actually kills me where the other two only got really close.  Sheesh. 

Back to more stuff about dogs now, please.


scantee

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #51 on: August 14, 2017, 02:31:10 PM »
Quote
Birth control has affected literally almost NO ONE in human history.

We're talking about happiness, not impact. Admittedly, the two are intertwined, but I think a lot of us, myself included, would argue that the written word is on par with base level needs like food, water, air, and shelter. Writing certainly has made me happy at many points in my life, but it's also made me miserable, whereas not having ten kids, or being completely reliant on someone else for my well-being, things that are only possible for me because of birth control, has been 100% an unalloyed good.

Grog

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2017, 02:38:34 PM »
Patent law and the separation of private and business liability. The burst of inventions that followed redefined modern world.
Possibly, for mustachian and early retiree (which are mostly happy) I would say the stock exchange.

Over the course of history, probably writing and democratic constitution. For too long the "happy" were the one with the brute force, in control of everything. The body of law to protect the weakest may be another fundamental invention for happiness.

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Dabnasty

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2017, 02:39:27 PM »
I'd be very curious to see the gender split on who considers contraception one of the most happiness-increasing inventions. My life would be very different without it, and I am so much happier with access to birth control, since it allows the (mostly) carefree sex I can have, and the fact that I don't have like 10 babies already.

Let me preface this by saying this is not meant to be a personal attack, but a genuine statement.

The original question was "Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of humanity?" It hasn't asked for which several inventions are cool or useful or life saving. Which single invention is by its very existence able to cause the most happiness for all of humanity? Writing. Birth control was able to be made because we invented writing. Same goes for refrigerators, vaccines and almost everything else. I do not understand how we are still discussing any other inventions. Birth control has affected literally almost NO ONE in human history.

Again, not directed against you personally. Let's all just answer the actual proposed question.
I don't think the point of OPs question was for everyone to agree on the single most happiness increasing invention and end the thread. There's plenty of room for multiple opinions.

Also, while I think writing can technically be classified as an invention, I don't think it really fits the thread. It's more of a broad concept with many languages developed by many different groups of people throughout history. I see the pen/printing press/chunk of coal as the invention.

Then again OP did give other broad categories such as modern medicine. Point is, no need to argue one is better than another. Just give your opinion with justification and let others discuss.

PoutineLover

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2017, 02:40:01 PM »
I'd be very curious to see the gender split on who considers contraception one of the most happiness-increasing inventions. My life would be very different without it, and I am so much happier with access to birth control, since it allows the (mostly) carefree sex I can have, and the fact that I don't have like 10 babies already.

Let me preface this by saying this is not meant to be a personal attack, but a genuine statement.

The original question was "Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of humanity?" It hasn't asked for which several inventions are cool or useful or life saving. Which single invention is by its very existence able to cause the most happiness for all of humanity? Writing. Birth control was able to be made because we invented writing. Same goes for refrigerators, vaccines and almost everything else. I do not understand how we are still discussing any other inventions. Birth control has affected literally almost NO ONE in human history.

Again, not directed against you personally. Let's all just answer the actual proposed question.
Well writing is certainly way up there as a human invention, but if I had to choose between writing and sex I'd almost always choose sex, if the goal was to feel happy. Especially if that sex didn't include the chance of accidentally becoming pregnant.
I also think that if you say that writing is the prerequisite for all these inventions, then we just have to pick writing, kinda ruins the point of this question. Subsequent inventions can be chosen as the most happiness inducing even if they required a previous invention.
My comment was more about the fact that for women, having birth control allows us way more happiness due to the increased control over our lives but men don't seem to consider it as important, because they don't think they benefit from it as much. But since people's usernames don't always give away their gender, I can't say for sure that everyone pro contraception is female and everyone dismissing it is male, that's just the sense I got from this discussion.

J Boogie

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2017, 02:51:41 PM »
democratic constitution. For too long the "happy" were the one with the brute force, in control of everything. The body of law to protect the weakest may be another fundamental invention for happiness.

I think that might be the winner.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2017, 02:52:05 PM »
Sanitation
Antibiotics
Birth control

All of these dramatically reduced the amount of illness, premature death, and loss. Birth control also freed us from becoming involuntary baby factories, with all that entails. Not only can you have the number of children you want, you are also much more likely to see them grow up.

Let's all just answer the actual proposed question.

We are all answering it. We don't all have the same answer as you, that's all.

Milkshake

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2017, 02:54:07 PM »
Fair enough.

Many valid points here. It's good to see differing opinions and critical thinking about a topic that can very easily get derailed.

Dabnasty

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2017, 02:57:22 PM »
The bicycle

GuitarStv

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2017, 03:00:51 PM »
The bicycle

It's not about the bike . . .

Laura33

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2017, 03:05:08 PM »
Birth control has affected literally almost NO ONE in human history.

"In the United States today, about 15 women die in pregnancy or childbirth per 100,000 live births. Thatís way too many, but a century ago it was more than 600 women per 100,000 births. In the 1600s and 1700s, the death rate was twice that: By some estimates, between 1 and 1.5 percent of women giving birth died. Note that the rate is per birth, so the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth was much higher, perhaps 4 percent."  http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science_of_longevity/2013/09/death_in_childbirth_doctors_increased_maternal_mortality_in_the_20th_century.html

So, poor medical care + no contraception = 4 out of 100 women died in childbirth.  Even nowadays, with those rates reduced to 15 per 100,000, 10 kids = 10x the risk of dying in childbirth.  I assume that all the modern women who did not die in childbirth because they were not forced by biology to have multiple children are happier than they would have been had birth control never been invented, because it's hard to be happy when you're dead.  And I imagine their husbands and kids are happier to have them around. 

Beyond that, though, read Scantee's post.  It's not about sex (although sex is itself a wonderful thing).  It is about enabling a system in which women have the same ability to choose whether to become parents that men have always had (at least, without dropping the baby in a dumpster).  It is about freeing women to work, to earn their own keep, and not stay in a bad marriage because they are economically dependent on their husbands.  Economic power is also wonderful thing.  Giving that power to 50% of the population is, I think, highly significant.

I also had the same question as PoutineLover over the gender breakdown in the responses, along with age.  To me, the freedom provided by birth control is a visceral thing, largely because I am old enough to remember when it was not quite so freely available, and the idea of women having comparable economic power to men, of participating in the workforce and standing on their own two feet and being treated as an equal, was laughable -- only those silly radical feminists believed *that* was ever even a remote possibility.  But I can imagine in might not be quite so powerful to someone who grew up without facing those expectations.
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A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2017, 03:34:13 PM »
I'd be very curious to see the gender split on who considers contraception one of the most happiness-increasing inventions. My life would be very different without it, and I am so much happier with access to birth control, since it allows the (mostly) carefree sex I can have, and the fact that I don't have like 10 babies already.
I'm obviously a guy, but I don't think BC is a clear winner, or even a top contender, even considering the limitations you are putting in place. Eliminating drudgery has to be as important a factor in human happiness, and we have a ton of labor-saving inventions over the last 2 centuries. Washing machines, tractors, gas stoves, water pumps directly into the house...all sorts of really big things. I'd take 21st century of living with 10 kids over 16th century living with 2 kids.

Based on time use inventories, television and smart phones are both clear winners over BC, because they are clear winners over sex generally. People who are suddenly unemployed don't have a lot more sex, they watch a lot more TV.

There's also clear substitutes to BC, which is relevant to the final question "well, what's better than happiness?" A world without BC is a world with more abortion, probable infanticide, and where women are stuck in marriages with men. This is obviously inferior to the current state of affairs, but that's not a zero-happiness world, it's a less-happiness world.

Also, people prior to BC still had sex, even though they were impoverished relative to us. I wouldn't say it was "care-free" sex, but they for the most part thought the risk was clearly worth it.



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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2017, 03:36:42 PM »
I'm going to throw my vote in on writing, but from a different angle. The previous explanations had more to do with writing being a prerequisite to every other invention.  While valid, that might not necessarily equate to happiness.  When we invented writing on clay or stone, we also figured out a way to pass on cultural information and our history.  This progressed to paper and ink which made writing more mobile and faster to produce and gave more people access to it increasing awareness and education.  This progressed to the printing press giving reading to the masses.  On and on it went with further inventions in communications that boiled down were just better systems of writing and dispersion of those products.  Mass-produced writing led to increases in the arts, education, political involvement, and inspiration/innovation which all have direct influences on happiness as a society.


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madgeylou

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2017, 05:40:51 PM »
I'd be very curious to see the gender split on who considers contraception one of the most happiness-increasing inventions. My life would be very different without it, and I am so much happier with access to birth control, since it allows the (mostly) carefree sex I can have, and the fact that I don't have like 10 babies already.
I'm obviously a guy, but I don't think BC is a clear winner, or even a top contender, even considering the limitations you are putting in place. Eliminating drudgery has to be as important a factor in human happiness, and we have a ton of labor-saving inventions over the last 2 centuries. Washing machines, tractors, gas stoves, water pumps directly into the house...all sorts of really big things. I'd take 21st century of living with 10 kids over 16th century living with 2 kids.

SURE you would, because it's all hypothetical to you. You're not the one pooping the babies out or not, dying in childbirth or not, sold like chattel for breeding value or not ... and it's not actually possible for you to live any time but right now.

But to women, it's not hypothetical. It's some real shit that we have to deal all the time. Maybe take a sec and try to imagine it from our perspective ... imagine why there might be so many women telling you without even a second to think about it -- CONTRACEPTION IS THE BEST THING EVER!

It is literally the thing that allows us to be free.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2017, 06:19:21 PM »
A world without BC is a world with more abortion, probable infanticide, and where women are stuck in marriages with men. This is obviously inferior to the current state of affairs, but that's not a zero-happiness world, it's a less-happiness world.


You can say exactly the same thing about every single invention mentioned in this thread.

And no one has claimed that without BC (or writing or smartphones), there would be zero happiness.

Maybe take a sec and try to imagine it from our perspective ... imagine why there might be so many women telling you without even a second to think about it -- CONTRACEPTION IS THE BEST THING EVER!

It is literally the thing that allows us to be free.

THIS.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2017, 06:40:52 PM »
You are all wandering around naked in the cold/hot sun/pouring rain while you discuss this.  I'm tossing in the invention of the concept of clothing - be it tanned hides, woven fabric, whatever.

Re the Birth control discussion, the need for it is a side effect of agriculture.  Hunter/gatherer cultures, like our chimpanzee relatives, had their babies much more spaced.  Hunter/gatherer cultures also tend to have more personal choices for women.

I would vote the invention of agriculture as the most unhappiness-producing concept.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2017, 06:44:52 PM »
You are all wandering around naked in the cold/hot sun/pouring rain while you discuss this.  I'm tossing in the invention of the concept of clothing - be it tanned hides, woven fabric, whatever.

Re the Birth control discussion, the need for it is a side effect of agriculture.  Hunter/gatherer cultures, like our chimpanzee relatives, had their babies much more spaced.  Hunter/gatherer cultures also tend to have more personal choices for women.

I would vote the invention of agriculture as the most unhappiness-producing concept.

eh, while I love to romanticize HG cultures as well, I have to think that if farming was really so bad (and it is back-breaking work!) it must have produced a lot of happiness otherwise people would have just dropped their hoes and wandered back into the wild. Why did they stay if it were so bad?
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RetiredAt63

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #67 on: August 14, 2017, 07:24:32 PM »
You are all wandering around naked in the cold/hot sun/pouring rain while you discuss this.  I'm tossing in the invention of the concept of clothing - be it tanned hides, woven fabric, whatever.

Re the Birth control discussion, the need for it is a side effect of agriculture.  Hunter/gatherer cultures, like our chimpanzee relatives, had their babies much more spaced.  Hunter/gatherer cultures also tend to have more personal choices for women.

I would vote the invention of agriculture as the most unhappiness-producing concept.

eh, while I love to romanticize HG cultures as well, I have to think that if farming was really so bad (and it is back-breaking work!) it must have produced a lot of happiness otherwise people would have just dropped their hoes and wandered back into the wild. Why did they stay if it were so bad?

This has been speculated on, since we have no idea.  But if you were an agricultural person, would you have the skill set to live as a hunter/gatherer?  There are lots of historical examples of people losing important parts of their culture and skill set due to epidemics.  And if you wanted to leave your farm, would there be any place near you to go hunt and gather in? 

And why did it start in the first place?  Guess is that it started when times were particularly tough.  Agriculture is hard work for an uncertain reward, and at least in the "Old World" is incredibly environmentally destructive over the long term.  Plus stored crops let a hierarchical society develop. But once a society gets into this as a way of life it seems to be hard to get out of.  Plus all those babies make it easier to grab land away from the low birthrate nomad peoples.
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omachi

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #68 on: August 14, 2017, 08:01:39 PM »
You are all wandering around naked in the cold/hot sun/pouring rain while you discuss this.  I'm tossing in the invention of the concept of clothing - be it tanned hides, woven fabric, whatever.

Re the Birth control discussion, the need for it is a side effect of agriculture.  Hunter/gatherer cultures, like our chimpanzee relatives, had their babies much more spaced.  Hunter/gatherer cultures also tend to have more personal choices for women.

I would vote the invention of agriculture as the most unhappiness-producing concept.

eh, while I love to romanticize HG cultures as well, I have to think that if farming was really so bad (and it is back-breaking work!) it must have produced a lot of happiness otherwise people would have just dropped their hoes and wandered back into the wild. Why did they stay if it were so bad?

This has been speculated on, since we have no idea.  But if you were an agricultural person, would you have the skill set to live as a hunter/gatherer?  There are lots of historical examples of people losing important parts of their culture and skill set due to epidemics.  And if you wanted to leave your farm, would there be any place near you to go hunt and gather in? 

And why did it start in the first place?  Guess is that it started when times were particularly tough.  Agriculture is hard work for an uncertain reward, and at least in the "Old World" is incredibly environmentally destructive over the long term.  Plus stored crops let a hierarchical society develop. But once a society gets into this as a way of life it seems to be hard to get out of.  Plus all those babies make it easier to grab land away from the low birthrate nomad peoples.

There's a theory that agriculture really got going because of beer production and not food production. Fermented grain gives pleasant effects that in that time might have been seen as getting to a state closer to communing with the gods. You need a lot of grain to sustain beer production, of course, so agriculture is born. Nobody would want to go back to being unable to get a buzz, I mean, being unable to commune with the gods, so agriculture it is. Also having more permanent settlements and the specialization that bountiful harvests allow isn't so bad. Not as simple, so probably not as continually happy, but not bad.

Also I'm a guy and think birth control is pretty great. More children than wanted not only affects individuals, but societies. Imagine how much happier people might be even today if people didn't bring unwanted children into the world only to abuse or neglect them.

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #69 on: August 14, 2017, 10:25:00 PM »
Birth control is a great answer, but it exists in various form since centuries, although not as effective. The cultural approval for BC on the other hand, that allow women to effectively be free, only really exists since 50 years and mainly in the western world. This is the key factor, that BC is socially acceptable. And this acceptance trace back to the first body of laws like the habeas Corpus and so on. The moment society gave themselves rules to protect the weakest and their property is one of the key moment for happiness. It led to the French Revolution, democratic constitution, patent law, women rise in society, end of slavery and so on. Although is kind of sad that a lot of bad stuff is still happening somewhere

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omachi

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #70 on: August 15, 2017, 09:54:26 AM »
Alternately, nothing at all. A dog is the happiest thing in the world if you just give it a little attention, and dogs haven't invented a damn thing. Maybe people would be happier if we paid them more attention, too, rather than just kept inventing things.

This is my favourite answer in the thread to be honest.  A large part of happiness is related to state of mind, not things or technology.  Food, warmth, and friends . . . Dogs are on to something.
Yeah but dogs are so happy because we provide them with everything they need and they have nothing to worry about. Feral dogs who have to scavenge for food are not very friendly creatures. Maybe we haven't reached peak happiness yet because we haven't found our caretakers..

Plenty of dogs that work for a living. Herding dogs that put in long hours in the fields. Hunting dogs that track or retrieve game. Seeing-eye dogs. They work pretty hard for their kibble, water, and praise, yet still seem awfully happy about things. Not that different from working a job. We just think we want more than food, water, and attention.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #71 on: August 15, 2017, 10:47:18 AM »
I'd be very curious to see the gender split on who considers contraception one of the most happiness-increasing inventions. My life would be very different without it, and I am so much happier with access to birth control, since it allows the (mostly) carefree sex I can have, and the fact that I don't have like 10 babies already.
I'm obviously a guy, but I don't think BC is a clear winner, or even a top contender, even considering the limitations you are putting in place. Eliminating drudgery has to be as important a factor in human happiness, and we have a ton of labor-saving inventions over the last 2 centuries. Washing machines, tractors, gas stoves, water pumps directly into the house...all sorts of really big things. I'd take 21st century of living with 10 kids over 16th century living with 2 kids.

SURE you would, because it's all hypothetical to you. You're not the one pooping the babies out or not, dying in childbirth or not, sold like chattel for breeding value or not ... and it's not actually possible for you to live any time but right now.

But to women, it's not hypothetical. It's some real shit that we have to deal all the time. Maybe take a sec and try to imagine it from our perspective ... imagine why there might be so many women telling you without even a second to think about it -- CONTRACEPTION IS THE BEST THING EVER!

It is literally the thing that allows us to be free.
What are you aiming for with this response?

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #72 on: August 15, 2017, 10:51:17 AM »
The scientific method.

^This. It underpins the development of most of the items identified by others. Most notably electricity generation, which runs most modern conveniences.

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Kris

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #73 on: August 15, 2017, 10:53:53 AM »


It is literally the thing that allows us to be free.

YES.

Which is also why we should be fighting for it to be affordable for every woman.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

Kris

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #74 on: August 15, 2017, 10:58:12 AM »
I'd be very curious to see the gender split on who considers contraception one of the most happiness-increasing inventions. My life would be very different without it, and I am so much happier with access to birth control, since it allows the (mostly) carefree sex I can have, and the fact that I don't have like 10 babies already.
I'm obviously a guy, but I don't think BC is a clear winner, or even a top contender, even considering the limitations you are putting in place. Eliminating drudgery has to be as important a factor in human happiness, and we have a ton of labor-saving inventions over the last 2 centuries. Washing machines, tractors, gas stoves, water pumps directly into the house...all sorts of really big things. I'd take 21st century of living with 10 kids over 16th century living with 2 kids.

SURE you would, because it's all hypothetical to you. You're not the one pooping the babies out or not, dying in childbirth or not, sold like chattel for breeding value or not ... and it's not actually possible for you to live any time but right now.

But to women, it's not hypothetical. It's some real shit that we have to deal all the time. Maybe take a sec and try to imagine it from our perspective ... imagine why there might be so many women telling you without even a second to think about it -- CONTRACEPTION IS THE BEST THING EVER!

It is literally the thing that allows us to be free.
What are you aiming for with this response?

One thing she is aiming at is that, for example, your "I'd take 21st century of living with 10 kids over 16th century living with 2 kids" presumes that in either case, you'd still be a free male citizen and not the person getting pregnant every year with little way to stop it.

For women, either way, without access to family planning, we'd be almost literally enslaved to our wombs and to the job of raising children.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

madgeylou

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #75 on: August 15, 2017, 11:34:55 AM »
What am I aiming at?

I honestly just want dudes who don't know anything and won't listen to other points of view to stop assuming they are right about everything, especially when they clearly missing vast swaths of information. I want dudes to try harder to listen to what women say about our experiences.

You could have said something like "Huh, yes, I can see how as a woman this issue might supercede others for you. I see it differently, more like ..."

But you didn't, you just argued about why all the women saying "contraception!" were wrong. We offered you the benefit of our experience but you didn't have the humility to listen to it, you just shut it down.

This is exactly the kind of shit that is done to women all the time, and it's frustrating. I hope you'll consider the possibility of another kind of response in the future, one that is more respectful of the fact that you are not already in possession of all objective truths in the universe.

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #76 on: August 15, 2017, 11:44:33 AM »
For women, either way, without access to family planning, we'd be almost literally enslaved to our wombs and to the job of raising children.

I would consider societal attitudes to be more important than contraception itself with regards to the advancement of women in society over the past 200 years. Let's be realistic - it's not as though a safe, simple, and reasonably effective contraceptive method hasn't been available for the entirety of human history (I say that as one half as a couple who has used coitus interruptus, with 100% success, for 10 years). Now, please commence with the flaming for downplaying the significance of contraception and/or proposing that pulling out is a reasonable birth control option.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #77 on: August 15, 2017, 11:47:47 AM »
For women, either way, without access to family planning, we'd be almost literally enslaved to our wombs and to the job of raising children.

I would consider societal attitudes to be more important than contraception itself with regards to the advancement of women in society over the past 200 years. Let's be realistic - it's not as though a safe, simple, and reasonably effective contraceptive method hasn't been available for the entirety of human history (I say that as one half as a couple who has used coitus interruptus, with 100% success, for 10 years). Now, please commence with the flaming for downplaying the significance of contraception and/or proposing that pulling out is a reasonable birth control option.

Well, given that my mom got pregnant with me while on her period, and given that birth rates have significantly fallen after the pill and IUDs and such became available, I'm gonna go with, yeah, the pill and IUDs are, in fact, more reliable than the age-old "natural family planning" methods.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #78 on: August 15, 2017, 11:52:49 AM »
For women, either way, without access to family planning, we'd be almost literally enslaved to our wombs and to the job of raising children.

I would consider societal attitudes to be more important than contraception itself with regards to the advancement of women in society over the past 200 years. Let's be realistic - it's not as though a safe, simple, and reasonably effective contraceptive method hasn't been available for the entirety of human history (I say that as one half as a couple who has used coitus interruptus, with 100% success, for 10 years). Now, please commence with the flaming for downplaying the significance of contraception and/or proposing that pulling out is a reasonable birth control option.

I'm not saying it's always an unreasonable method -- it's one I've relied on myself -- but there are many situations in which it's not in the woman's control. In order to work, coitus interruptus depends on the man to (1) give a shit about whether he's impregnating this woman or not AND (2) have the physical mastery of himself to get out in time. One or both factors are often missing.

Tl;dr -- Women need to be in charge of their OWN fertility. Otherwise it's not reproductive freedom, is it?

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #79 on: August 15, 2017, 11:53:56 AM »
For women, either way, without access to family planning, we'd be almost literally enslaved to our wombs and to the job of raising children.

I would consider societal attitudes to be more important than contraception itself with regards to the advancement of women in society over the past 200 years. Let's be realistic - it's not as though a safe, simple, and reasonably effective contraceptive method hasn't been available for the entirety of human history (I say that as one half as a couple who has used coitus interruptus, with 100% success, for 10 years). Now, please commence with the flaming for downplaying the significance of contraception and/or proposing that pulling out is a reasonable birth control option.

Well, given that my mom got pregnant with me while on her period, and given that birth rates have significantly fallen after the pill and IUDs and such became available, I'm gonna go with, yeah, the pill and IUDs are, in fact, more reliable than the age-old "natural family planning" methods.

And my wife was conceived while her mom was on the pill.

Let me ask you this: If the birth control pill were invented in 1870, at the height of the social purity movement, do you think it would have seen widespread adoption?
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #80 on: August 15, 2017, 11:56:51 AM »
For women, either way, without access to family planning, we'd be almost literally enslaved to our wombs and to the job of raising children.

I would consider societal attitudes to be more important than contraception itself with regards to the advancement of women in society over the past 200 years. Let's be realistic - it's not as though a safe, simple, and reasonably effective contraceptive method hasn't been available for the entirety of human history (I say that as one half as a couple who has used coitus interruptus, with 100% success, for 10 years). Now, please commence with the flaming for downplaying the significance of contraception and/or proposing that pulling out is a reasonable birth control option.

This is why we have health class folks. Taking a stats class probably wouldn't hurt either.

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #81 on: August 15, 2017, 11:57:12 AM »
For women, either way, without access to family planning, we'd be almost literally enslaved to our wombs and to the job of raising children.

I would consider societal attitudes to be more important than contraception itself with regards to the advancement of women in society over the past 200 years. Let's be realistic - it's not as though a safe, simple, and reasonably effective contraceptive method hasn't been available for the entirety of human history (I say that as one half as a couple who has used coitus interruptus, with 100% success, for 10 years). Now, please commence with the flaming for downplaying the significance of contraception and/or proposing that pulling out is a reasonable birth control option.

Societal attitudes changing are the only thing that allowed contraception itself beyond a method that is more or less dependent on the male's decision to do it or not to do it (i.e. coitus interruptus) to be created. In other words, thank the gods that society evolved at least enough to allow for the concept of a woman being allowed to make a decision about whether or not she wants to get pregnant.
 
But this is a thread about inventions, not attitudes, yes?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 11:58:43 AM by Kris »
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #82 on: August 15, 2017, 11:59:05 AM »
For women, either way, without access to family planning, we'd be almost literally enslaved to our wombs and to the job of raising children.

I would consider societal attitudes to be more important than contraception itself with regards to the advancement of women in society over the past 200 years. Let's be realistic - it's not as though a safe, simple, and reasonably effective contraceptive method hasn't been available for the entirety of human history (I say that as one half as a couple who has used coitus interruptus, with 100% success, for 10 years). Now, please commence with the flaming for downplaying the significance of contraception and/or proposing that pulling out is a reasonable birth control option.

I'm not saying it's always an unreasonable method -- it's one I've relied on myself -- but there are many situations in which it's not in the woman's control. In order to work, coitus interruptus depends on the man to (1) give a shit about whether he's impregnating this woman or not AND (2) have the physical mastery of himself to get out in time. One or both factors are often missing.

Tl;dr -- Women need to be in charge of their OWN fertility. Otherwise it's not reproductive freedom, is it?

That's very much a valid point: Pulling out is definitely a method that relies on the man's full cooperation (as are condoms). From that perspective, I have to agree with you: the pill and IUDs don't rely on men's cooperation at all. Point taken.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #83 on: August 15, 2017, 12:02:01 PM »
Societal attitudes changing are the only thing that allowed contraception itself beyond a method that is more or less dependent on the male's decision to do it or not to do it (i.e. coitus interruptus) to be created.

This is really the point I was trying to make. I now see that I did a bad job at making it. Sometimes my arguments seem more cogent in my head than in the text box. My apologies!
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #84 on: August 15, 2017, 12:08:22 PM »
This is why we have health class folks. Taking a stats class probably wouldn't hurt either.

I don't think insulting my education brought anything productive to the discussion.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #85 on: August 15, 2017, 12:30:46 PM »
I am also going to vote for scientific method, mostly because it was the prerequisite that led to all sorts of cool things we now enjoy that make me happy.   

But really, you canít pull one thing out of isolation because innovation is reliant on every discovery that came before it.  The scientific method would not exist without a way to record results (writing) which would not exist without things to write on (paper) etc....   That is kind of why I really hate the paradigm of the superstar scientist or engineer because each invention is so dependant on so many different people supporting them.  Sure, it is great that Steve Jobs had the vision for the iPhone, but the vast armies of engineers who invented the capacitive touch screen, the transistor, the silicon microchip etc.....also had a hand in it. 

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #86 on: August 15, 2017, 12:45:16 PM »
Steve Jobs doesn't deserve mention in this thread.  He didn't invent anything.  Great at marketing though - that man could take existing designs, slap some funny colours on or stick 'em in a different case and then sell the hell out of them though.

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #87 on: August 15, 2017, 12:49:36 PM »
This is why we have health class folks. Taking a stats class probably wouldn't hurt either.

I don't think insulting my education brought anything productive to the discussion.

Sorry, let me add to it then. Typical use of effective birth control like hormonal implants or IUDs results in 1% or fewer women becoming pregnant. Typical use for the pill is 9%. Typical use of pulling out is 22%.

Just because you've been lucky doesn't mean you should spread misinformation about effectiveness of various birth control methods. The average couple that tries to replicate your luck is over 22x more likely to get pregnant than with the most effective methods.

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #88 on: August 15, 2017, 12:54:45 PM »
Steve Jobs doesn't deserve mention in this thread.  He didn't invent anything.  Great at marketing though - that man could take existing designs, slap some funny colours on or stick 'em in a different case and then sell the hell out of them though.

I don't know about you, but smartphones haven't done jackshit to improve my happiness. If I could get a just cell phone with a nice camera and Google maps, I would be happy to ditch every other functionality that they provide.

I'll even add this: There are numerous manmande inventions that have drastically reduced human suffering, but I'm not convinced that there is a single invention that has in sum increased human happiness. Lack of suffering is frequently equated with happiness, but they are not the same thing. My vote would go to antidepressants.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #89 on: August 15, 2017, 01:11:26 PM »
This is why we have health class folks. Taking a stats class probably wouldn't hurt either.

I don't think insulting my education brought anything productive to the discussion.

Sorry, let me add to it then. Typical use of effective birth control like hormonal implants or IUDs results in 1% or fewer women becoming pregnant. Typical use for the pill is 9%. Typical use of pulling out is 22%.

Just because you've been lucky doesn't mean you should spread misinformation about effectiveness of various birth control methods. The average couple that tries to replicate your luck is over 22x more likely to get pregnant than with the most effective methods.

Oh for fuck's sake. I'm familiar with the statistics regarding the effectiveness at preventing pregnancy for various methods. I'm also familiar with the side effects of birth control pills and IUDs. My wife suffered from so much nausea while on birth control pills that she had to quit using them. She is afraid to use IUDs due to a friend who had her uterine wall punctured during insertion. Pulling out is a perfectly valid, perfectly safe birth control method for us at this point in our lives. Just because you've been lucky doesn't mean you should withhold pertinent information about the side effects of various birth control methods.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #90 on: August 15, 2017, 01:20:09 PM »
I'd probably go with the antibiotics/vaccine answer.  Or maybe the printing press and all else it's led to.

I thought you'd go with ketchup.

Ha!  We really need a way to up-vote responses. :-)
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #91 on: August 15, 2017, 01:33:52 PM »
Ruling out lifesaving technologies (sanitation, vaccines, seatbelts, etc.), I'm going to go a bit higher on Maslow's hierarchy. I'm going to add electric lighting to the list.

Almost all of us are here because we value time over money. Specifically leisure time to do whatever fulfills us. In The Church of the Mustache, leisure is happiness. The advent of electric lighting effectively made the day longer, giving people more leisure time than ever before.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #92 on: August 15, 2017, 01:35:19 PM »
I'm going to vote for the invention* of preserving food, primarily via salting**.

Before food preservation, most people spent most of their time hungry, foraging for food. The task of finding food, particularly in the winter/dormant season literally took up almost every waking hour.  Once we could stockpile enough calories to make it through the winter we suddenly had all this other time to build civilizations, develop complex languages, do art and invent the high-five. Without salting (or food preservation in general) few pre-industral civilizations could have existed, because they'd never have enough to their people during leaner months.  Having a constant source of food has allowed people to stay put long enough to build up rule of law and wonder what champion rock-thrower Ulgg puts in hair to make so shiny.

yes, refrigeration has helped greatly, but that came much, much later (only in the last half-century in many parts of the world).

*not sure if you can call the discovery of applying salt to meat an invention... 
**there are also of course other methods like fermentation that occurred for the same purpose and around the same time.

bonus: read Mark Kurslansky's book Salt.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #93 on: August 15, 2017, 02:01:17 PM »
I'm going to vote for the invention* of preserving food, primarily via salting**.

Before food preservation, most people spent most of their time hungry, foraging for food. The task of finding food, particularly in the winter/dormant season literally took up almost every waking hour.  Once we could stockpile enough calories to make it through the winter we suddenly had all this other time to build civilizations, develop complex languages, do art and invent the high-five. Without salting (or food preservation in general) few pre-industral civilizations could have existed, because they'd never have enough to their people during leaner months.  Having a constant source of food has allowed people to stay put long enough to build up rule of law and wonder what champion rock-thrower Ulgg puts in hair to make so shiny.

yes, refrigeration has helped greatly, but that came much, much later (only in the last half-century in many parts of the world).

*not sure if you can call the discovery of applying salt to meat an invention... 
**there are also of course other methods like fermentation that occurred for the same purpose and around the same time.

bonus: read Mark Kurslansky's book Salt.


I agree with your line of thinking, but doesn't conventional wisdom credit agriculture above preservation for the shift from a nomadic lifestyle to civilization? I'm not saying you're wrong, but cereal grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, rice, etc.) don't require preservatives and formed the base of the diet for most early stationary societies.
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omachi

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #94 on: August 15, 2017, 02:42:05 PM »
This is why we have health class folks. Taking a stats class probably wouldn't hurt either.

I don't think insulting my education brought anything productive to the discussion.

Sorry, let me add to it then. Typical use of effective birth control like hormonal implants or IUDs results in 1% or fewer women becoming pregnant. Typical use for the pill is 9%. Typical use of pulling out is 22%.

Just because you've been lucky doesn't mean you should spread misinformation about effectiveness of various birth control methods. The average couple that tries to replicate your luck is over 22x more likely to get pregnant than with the most effective methods.

Oh for fuck's sake. I'm familiar with the statistics regarding the effectiveness at preventing pregnancy for various methods. I'm also familiar with the side effects of birth control pills and IUDs. My wife suffered from so much nausea while on birth control pills that she had to quit using them. She is afraid to use IUDs due to a friend who had her uterine wall punctured during insertion. Pulling out is a perfectly valid, perfectly safe birth control method for us at this point in our lives. Just because you've been lucky doesn't mean you should withhold pertinent information about the side effects of various birth control methods.

Hey, if a ~1/1000 chance of complication on IUD insertion is less attractive to you than the disparity in typical rates of IUDs and pulling out failing, you do you. It's your risk to accept. To tie back to the thread, I'm guessing by the enthusiasm for modern birth control, most women would be happier with a lower risk of unwanted pregnancy.

Also pretty sure everybody on birth control had a nice sit down with their doctor, so my "withholding" information on side effects isn't going to have much effect.

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #95 on: August 15, 2017, 02:46:11 PM »
Quote
dogs are so happy because we provide them with everything they need and they have nothing to worry about. Feral dogs who have to scavenge for food are not very friendly creatures.

Feral dogs aren't friendly to you. How does that tell you they aren't happy? Maybe feral dogs are happiest when rending the hated flesh of their former overlords.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #96 on: August 15, 2017, 03:21:57 PM »
I'm going to vote for the invention* of preserving food, primarily via salting**.

Before food preservation, most people spent most of their time hungry, foraging for food. The task of finding food, particularly in the winter/dormant season literally took up almost every waking hour.  Once we could stockpile enough calories to make it through the winter we suddenly had all this other time to build civilizations, develop complex languages, do art and invent the high-five. Without salting (or food preservation in general) few pre-industral civilizations could have existed, because they'd never have enough to their people during leaner months.  Having a constant source of food has allowed people to stay put long enough to build up rule of law and wonder what champion rock-thrower Ulgg puts in hair to make so shiny.

yes, refrigeration has helped greatly, but that came much, much later (only in the last half-century in many parts of the world).

*not sure if you can call the discovery of applying salt to meat an invention... 
**there are also of course other methods like fermentation that occurred for the same purpose and around the same time.

bonus: read Mark Kurslansky's book Salt.


I agree with your line of thinking, but doesn't conventional wisdom credit agriculture above preservation for the shift from a nomadic lifestyle to civilization? I'm not saying you're wrong, but cereal grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, rice, etc.) don't require preservatives and formed the base of the diet for most early stationary societies.

As i recall from my anthropology classes, we learned first to preserve food through a combination of drying and salting (greatly curtailing hunger and the time we spent foraging), and then later we developed agriculture.  But both "inventions" fall into the same vein for me. 
Before we had a constant food source we were constantly hungry, miserable species.  Once our basal caloric needs were met the motherload of QOL upgrades happened.  That's my theory, anyway...
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #97 on: August 15, 2017, 03:49:51 PM »
I'm going to vote for the invention* of preserving food, primarily via salting**.

Before food preservation, most people spent most of their time hungry, foraging for food. The task of finding food, particularly in the winter/dormant season literally took up almost every waking hour.  Once we could stockpile enough calories to make it through the winter we suddenly had all this other time to build civilizations, develop complex languages, do art and invent the high-five. Without salting (or food preservation in general) few pre-industral civilizations could have existed, because they'd never have enough to their people during leaner months.  Having a constant source of food has allowed people to stay put long enough to build up rule of law and wonder what champion rock-thrower Ulgg puts in hair to make so shiny.

yes, refrigeration has helped greatly, but that came much, much later (only in the last half-century in many parts of the world).

*not sure if you can call the discovery of applying salt to meat an invention... 
**there are also of course other methods like fermentation that occurred for the same purpose and around the same time.

bonus: read Mark Kurslansky's book Salt.


I agree with your line of thinking, but doesn't conventional wisdom credit agriculture above preservation for the shift from a nomadic lifestyle to civilization? I'm not saying you're wrong, but cereal grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, rice, etc.) don't require preservatives and formed the base of the diet for most early stationary societies.

As i recall from my anthropology classes, we learned first to preserve food through a combination of drying and salting (greatly curtailing hunger and the time we spent foraging), and then later we developed agriculture.  But both "inventions" fall into the same vein for me. 
Before we had a constant food source we were constantly hungry, miserable species.  Once our basal caloric needs were met the motherload of QOL upgrades happened.  That's my theory, anyway...

Food preservation kept us from starvation when times were tough, but civilization didn't really take off until after agriculture.  One person growing massive amounts of food meant there could be people who didn't need to farm and could do other things with their time.

Ironically, the oldest know surviving examples of writing are beer recipes and tax records.
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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #98 on: August 15, 2017, 04:01:40 PM »
I'm going to vote for the invention* of preserving food, primarily via salting**.

Before food preservation, most people spent most of their time hungry, foraging for food. The task of finding food, particularly in the winter/dormant season literally took up almost every waking hour.  Once we could stockpile enough calories to make it through the winter we suddenly had all this other time to build civilizations, develop complex languages, do art and invent the high-five. Without salting (or food preservation in general) few pre-industral civilizations could have existed, because they'd never have enough to their people during leaner months.  Having a constant source of food has allowed people to stay put long enough to build up rule of law and wonder what champion rock-thrower Ulgg puts in hair to make so shiny.

yes, refrigeration has helped greatly, but that came much, much later (only in the last half-century in many parts of the world).

*not sure if you can call the discovery of applying salt to meat an invention... 
**there are also of course other methods like fermentation that occurred for the same purpose and around the same time.

bonus: read Mark Kurslansky's book Salt.


I agree with your line of thinking, but doesn't conventional wisdom credit agriculture above preservation for the shift from a nomadic lifestyle to civilization? I'm not saying you're wrong, but cereal grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, rice, etc.) don't require preservatives and formed the base of the diet for most early stationary societies.

As i recall from my anthropology classes, we learned first to preserve food through a combination of drying and salting (greatly curtailing hunger and the time we spent foraging), and then later we developed agriculture.  But both "inventions" fall into the same vein for me. 
Before we had a constant food source we were constantly hungry, miserable species.  Once our basal caloric needs were met the motherload of QOL upgrades happened.  That's my theory, anyway...

Food preservation kept us from starvation when times were tough, but civilization didn't really take off until after agriculture.  One person growing massive amounts of food meant there could be people who didn't need to farm and could do other things with their time.

Ironically, the oldest know surviving examples of writing are beer recipes and tax records.

Speaking of this how has no one voted beer yet?  How many hours of laughter and shenanigans have we all had due to beer, or alcohol in general.

Seriously though, I watched a documentary, "How Beer Save The World" on Netflix a year or so ago, that I thought would be good for a laugh, but it talked about how beer really may have saved the world, because while having to heat the water, and ferment to make alcohol, they may have inadvertently killed many bacterial that could have caused mass sickness.  Not sure if it was true, or not, but it was interesting to think about.

So for those two reason, Beer gets my vote.

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Re: Which man-made invention has most increased the happiness of Humanity?
« Reply #99 on: August 15, 2017, 04:35:01 PM »
I'm going to vote for the invention* of preserving food, primarily via salting**.

Before food preservation, most people spent most of their time hungry, foraging for food. The task of finding food, particularly in the winter/dormant season literally took up almost every waking hour.  Once we could stockpile enough calories to make it through the winter we suddenly had all this other time to build civilizations, develop complex languages, do art and invent the high-five. Without salting (or food preservation in general) few pre-industral civilizations could have existed, because they'd never have enough to their people during leaner months.  Having a constant source of food has allowed people to stay put long enough to build up rule of law and wonder what champion rock-thrower Ulgg puts in hair to make so shiny.

yes, refrigeration has helped greatly, but that came much, much later (only in the last half-century in many parts of the world).

*not sure if you can call the discovery of applying salt to meat an invention... 
**there are also of course other methods like fermentation that occurred for the same purpose and around the same time.

bonus: read Mark Kurslansky's book Salt.


I agree with your line of thinking, but doesn't conventional wisdom credit agriculture above preservation for the shift from a nomadic lifestyle to civilization? I'm not saying you're wrong, but cereal grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, rice, etc.) don't require preservatives and formed the base of the diet for most early stationary societies.

As i recall from my anthropology classes, we learned first to preserve food through a combination of drying and salting (greatly curtailing hunger and the time we spent foraging), and then later we developed agriculture.  But both "inventions" fall into the same vein for me. 
Before we had a constant food source we were constantly hungry, miserable species.  Once our basal caloric needs were met the motherload of QOL upgrades happened.  That's my theory, anyway...

Food preservation kept us from starvation when times were tough, but civilization didn't really take off until after agriculture.  One person growing massive amounts of food meant there could be people who didn't need to farm and could do other things with their time.

Ironically, the oldest know surviving examples of writing are beer recipes and tax records.

Speaking of this how has no one voted beer yet?  How many hours of laughter and shenanigans have we all had due to beer, or alcohol in general.

Seriously though, I watched a documentary, "How Beer Save The World" on Netflix a year or so ago, that I thought would be good for a laugh, but it talked about how beer really may have saved the world, because while having to heat the water, and ferment to make alcohol, they may have inadvertently killed many bacterial that could have caused mass sickness.  Not sure if it was true, or not, but it was interesting to think about.

So for those two reason, Beer gets my vote.

There is some truth to that.  Making alcoholic beverages requires boiling water, and for a few thousand years that was the safest way to get clean fluids into your body.  You could drink water, but there was the risk of local contaminates.  I expect that is a contributing factor in the European beer or wine at every meal culture.  My first trip to Germany I asked for tap water at a restaurant and the waitress looked at me like I was a monster.  If you want water you have to buy it in a glass bottle.
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