RE: invention of writing vs. tools (was: Evolution's Imperative)

Pim van Meurs (
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 20:07:22 -0800

> Writing is one of those genious ideas. By that, I see an idea
> and it is obvious, right in front of your face..why didn't you think of it
> yourself? Looking back, since writing is such an obviously advantageous
> tool, we imagine that people invented it relatively quickly.

CumminsL Actually, it seems simple to invent writing, and history shows that I'm

No it doesn't. And while it may seem simple to you, so do many other things we now take for granted.

CumminL Now, look at history. There are a number of written languages which appear
to have developed independently of each other (e.g. French vs. Chinese).

And so what ? Yes there appear to be a set of languages which evolved seperately but we also see a very interesting evolutionary pattern

CumminsL A number of independent and mature written languages appeared roughly 5000
years ago where before there is nothing.

Before that there is nothing preserved in history. Nor did all languages appear at the same time..

Cummins: There isn't a history of these languages developing, possibly because they developed so fast that there wasn't much time for them to create their own historical record.

Or most likely because there was no preservation on what was written.

Cummins: A number of them appeared at the same time, a sign that it is easy for a culture to
develop writing.

Not at all. That is something you have to prove. Cummins failure to provide convincing evidence is once again painfully obvious. Please mention which languages originated 5000 years ago and how this shows that languages are "easy".

Cummins: I'm not aware of any societies who kept oral histories.

That of course is not surprising.
CumminsL BTW, both Africans and American Indians did leave some history in the form
of art and symbolic paintings.

And so did some cavemen.
> They did not know about writing. How could they want to put
> their language
> in writing if the idea had not even been thought of. It is a
> basic idea to
> us, but no human on earth had ever written a thing.

CumminsL There is almost no such thing as an invention that wasn't long thought of
before by countless people. Before the first plane ever flew, millions of
people over thousands of years had already thought about some contraption
that would make it possible for man to fly.

Nope, many had fantasized about it. Few had come up with the contraption that actually could fly.

CumminsL You don't see non-agricultural societies using tallying marks for counting
days, debts, or accomplishments, etc.? Necessity is the mother of
invention. Anyone with a need or desire to keep track of something is going
to use at least tallying marks.

In a manner that would survive 5000 years ? Why ?

Time to get to the basics dear Cummins