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How has technology advanced so rapidly in the past 200 years with only human intelligence?

We go from being a species of fairly primitive beings in the 1800s to a species that has extremely advanced technology in such a short amount of time. How did we do this without any outside help?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well, not every society developed equally, for more on this read 'Guns, Germs and Steel' by Jared Diamond.

    The basic formula has to do with food, population, specialization and innovation made possible through recreation.

    A population of people need to be fixed in one spot, with plenty of food provided by the food-specialists so some people in the village can do something other than hunting/gathering/planting. This frees up others to do art or medicine and others have time to invent. In this society, everyone knows they won't starve, and specialization breeds experts in their given fields. A well-fed society will have more and healtheir babies, and the cycle continues.

    Domesticated animals help provide labor, transportation and food. Well-fed people are going to be more energy-efficient and think more clearly than those societies who are starving or barely getting by on a poor diet.

    With this cycle, there is lots of free time (or as much as possible) and those who are good at inventing are free to do it, well fed and with a fully-working brain. The innovations get learned by everyone and put in use, and more innovation and invention builds off this. The wheel precedes the cart, the cart precedes the powered coach/car.

    Of course, the societies have to avoid killing themselves, and the technology they develop helps them win wars, dominate other cultures when there's a clash, and big societies armed with technology as we've seen on Earth had conquered/explored much of the world early on.

    Societies which develop crushingly oppressive religions tend to do badly too. The Dark Ages stifled progress for most of the world for a long time and stood directly in the path of intellectual and technological progress. Other religions get mired in pointless holy wars fighting over a tiny scrap of land, even today. Some religions disallow the eating of certain valuable proteins, and this means people go hungry more often, which means less brainpower contributing to that society.

    Overcoming the cancer of religion has been key to our progress thus far, now that scientists aren't being put under house-arrest or killed merely for discovering a fact of the Universe that theists in power don't like.

    Religion continues to stand in the way of stem-cell and genetic research as well as the teaching of evolution, in addition to trying to limit choice and birth-control options for women. Unwanted babies tend to be more neglected and can become a burden to society if they turn criminal. Some populations are overrun with people simply because most of them embrace the notion of 'no birth control' as handed down by the Catholic church. Furthermore, people who genuinely believe in religious ideas often directly attack those they feel are doing 'Satan's' work. Look at the abortion doctor who was recently killed by a fundie. Dr. George Tiller was providing a service to women who were not ready to have a baby, but he was killed. Some women simply know they are ill-equipped to bring another child in the world, but 'good' Christians took it upon themselves to kill an abortion doctor, and he's just one of many victims.

    The missionary vultures who are trying to Christianize Africa are commiting a form of genocide if they tell people not to use condoms or go abstinent. Africa is a starving, AIDS-plagued population which collectively doesn't understand birth-control well in the first place. They need technology and education, not more Jesus. This directly contributes to the sad-state of Africa today. Africa needs secularism, technology, and a stable government.

    The best way to progress in a society is to not only have specialization, recreation and population, but also a secular government which keeps religion well out of the field of social and technological progress.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Short Answer: Industrial Revolution. Many things in western europe slowed down progress, perhaps feudalism, the church, the plague, little ice age, etc. However, imagine the progress made when people first started creating cities. There were tons of key advancements--like the printing press. firearms. navigation. It wasn't just the past 200 years. It is true that there have been more rapid progress made from vaguely around 1860 to today. It also makes a difference if you look at the history of various cultures and look beyond western europe.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Ehrr,

    people were not exactly "primitive" in the 1800s. London was a city of a million people. They had sailing ships that could navigate and travel the world, steam power etc.

    Once the benefits of scientific discovery and technology were realised, that is to say, once governments realised that they could tax it, it was pursued with great relish.

    That process continues today. Whether this trend will continue is debatable. Certainly there is vastly more technology that could be developed, and perhaps there is more fundamental science waiting to be discovered, but whether society will support it's development depends largely on the desires of the criminals that are running the planet at any particular time.

    Cheers!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Short answer - religions.

    Long answer - Even until the 1800's, scientists and inventors were still being persecuted, tried, and killed as heretics against the Catholic church. Since the begining of man, religion has been used to explain the unexplainable mysteries of why we are here, our creation, and our surroundings. It wasn't until the creation of the United States and it's freedom of religion and protection from persecution from such religions that the sciences and technologies began to flourish. The Catholic church was the first christian religion created by the Romans in the 2nd century because they needed a singular religion that the majority of the populace could agree on. The Romans used this singular Catholic religion as a means of control of it's peoples. Over the centuries, the church wanted to remain in control and science threatened that control by disproving what the church was providing as fact.

    The religions still today use it's beliefs as control over the population of it's membership. The majority of most populations are basically ignorant and believe what they are told to be truth and fact. Most governments to this day still utilize some form of religion or religious teachings for it's laws and control over their various populations. Take genetic cloning for example. Genetic cloning has had International sanctions and restrictions placed upon the amount and types of research they do. These restrictions are based upon religious beliefs of morality, creationism, and of a god. The worldwide debate and restrictions of the use of stem cells is another example. Certain creations and uses of robotics, and many, many more technologies are being restricted by our governments because of fear and mis-understandings being spread through religion.

    So as you can see, until the creation of the United States, religions pretty much controlled the world by controlling the beliefs of the population. The control still goes on today although not to the extent of the past but it still plays a major part in our societal beliefs and feelings towards technologies. Because after all, we all know that science and technology is the work of the Devil.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, I would disagree that our technology is "extremely advanced." I'm quite sure we have a very long way to go yet.

    The advancement of the last two centuries, though, is explained by the widespread application of the scientific method, and by the fact that ninety-some percent of all the scientists who ever lived, are alive now.

    A brief study of the history of science and scientific development would show you that we needed no outside help. Besides, none is available.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The Catholic Church lost it's stranglehold on Europe. Science became uncontainable, reason and logic spread through the upper echelons of society.

    We started to notice that the scientific method was replacing superstition. Faith healers were replaced by doctors who produced better results and the snowball rolled further and further.

    The day they stopped burning people as heretics for proclaiming the universe to be heliocentric was the beginning of it all.

    Or rather, the second coming of it, the Greeks almost discovered the germ theory of disease. Demosthenes discovered not only that the earth was spherical, but measured its circumference almost exactly...in 350 BC

    When science is encouraged, great things happen.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because people add their knowledge to knowledge that has been acquired by previous generations and other people's knowledge. It's an exponential process, not a linear process. It's doubling the amount of pennies in the jar everyday, except it is pennies of knowledge, and the doubling has been going on for 700 to 800 years for Greco-Roman civilization, and the rate of doubling keeps getting faster, so it is even more exponential.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    technology has been rapidly increased for the sake of the humans in the last few years. the major reason for this would be the increment of science. with the problems and circumstances human got the curiosity to do new experiments. due to this reason science has improved.then technology has improved also.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Increases in population and resources. LDO. Look how fast population has skyrocketed in the same time frame. Don't be a stupid conspiracy theorist just because of general observations. Come up with solid ideas and maybe even a little proof before jumping into the deep end.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Technology has a sort of multiplier effect, certain technological advancements allow other technological advancements which allow other technological advancements. Population represents how advanced technology is in order to sustain that population.

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