Friday, August 17, 2018

So, Apparently Wakanda Is Only Real In Comic Books...?

h/t Silicon Graybeard and Daily Timewaster

Nota bene that among the 12 1/2 elements listed as "known to ancients" on that version of the Periodic Table of Elements, we find included among them carbon, iron, lead, copper, silver, gold, tin, arsenic, mercury, and sulfur (sodium, given the abbreviation for natrium referred to sea salt, which is Sodium Chloride (NaCl), so really, the ancients still hadn't parsed out that natrium was a compound, not an element).

This is why history is oppressive to fake narratives of reality: facts are stubborn things, especially when they reveal the utter bankruptcy of most of the world in regards to science, math, or absolute discovery. This is also why only one cultural tradition has universities and laboratories, and most others' pinnacles have stone altars for cutting people's hearts out, and/or sacrificing virgins to the volcano gods. When they didn't just eat you.

Proof, if you needed it, that "Racism!" is, in nearly 99.9% of cases, merely the cry of those perennially not good enough protesting the winners of humanity's lottery of achievement.
It's also much easier than taking and passing a chemistry course, let alone getting a Ph.D. and advancing the frontiers of science, which is the only way to compete in the game. Even in the NFL and NBA, they still don't give championship trophies to beer-swilling fans in the stands. Ever.

Once again, dead white males FTW.



Anonymous said...

Part of the "heresy" I will impart to my progeny will be an appreciation for the civilization that has provided these advances - and the cautionary tale that the demise of same provides (hence the "heresy" label).
My ancestors and myself have never been among the "leaders" or the elite. We have been the yeoman farmers, soldiers and even the rocket scientists who have worked, raised families and served in uniform to advance and protect that civlization. We will continue to do so, whether sanctioned by government or not. We've been in this country since it was a "colony". I intend that we remain and thrive whether the nation does or not. Our mission will be to preserve such knowledge and principles as should be passed on.

SiGraybeard said...

It's just so much easier to yell "I'm being discriminated against!" than to do the work required to be worthy of being hired as the best candidate.

Somewhere around the Interwebz, I read an article "no the Arabs didn't invent Algebra, or much of anything else". I'll say even if we gave them credit, since Islam hit that society, they haven't accomplished anything to advance humanity.

You know that muslim terrorist group Boko Haram? The literal translation (and it's sort of pidgin English) is "learning is forbidden". Lot of good that'll do a society.

RandyGC said...

Even if certain cultures "preserved learning" during the European Dark Ages, or were premier scholars during that period, to me it's a little like evidence that the Vikings, the Egyptians or the Chinese reached the American continent long before Columbus.

An interesting historical foot note, but since they didn't do crap with their discovery, or even document it in a way as to do any good for future generations, it don't mean nothin'.

Monty James said...

I think a good rule would be no residency status or citizenship will be granted unless you immigrated from a country which has discovered an element.

Sixgun said...

It's not quite as cut-and-dry as the article makes it seem. Sure, Old Europe was a powerhouse of discovery, and there's no denying the attribution of those elements, but they did (occasionally) stand on others' shoulders. It's pretty widely acknowledged now that a large section of early mathematics, including standardized weights and measures, algebra, zero, and so on, came out of India. The cultures of the Middle East appropriated a lot of what India had done, hence the confusion. India's a contradiction, though. It has some appallingly smart people who have teased out fundamental aspects of the universe we live in, but it also has a lot of really dumb people who lack drive, plus they're still deep in the hangover left from being raped by the British for decades.

Aesop said...

Sorry, no sale there.

The first university as such was founded in Bologna in 1088, some 524 years before the first outpost of the East India Company was established on the subcontinent.

Nonetheless, the first university in India was established in Serampore in 1818, at the height of British colonialism under the same George III to whom we showed the door, and a full 60 years before Queen Victoria became "Empress of India", the very time India was supposedly being raped.

Indian mathematicians may have stumbled onto some certain discoveries later bootstrapped by the Persians and Arabic peoples, but by all accounts, they then picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and continued onwards into the intellectual oblivion out of which they had momentarily stumbled. It's as likely their brighter lights were eaten by tigers as that the British colonial period had anything to do with their stunted intellectual curiosity.

Sixgun said...

Not so. The first Western-style university may have been founded in 1818, but the earliest major center of learning in India (known so far), which was structured more or less like a university (various schools with dedicated professors etc) was Nalanda, which was founded around 500AD, and flourished until it was sacked by islamics (big surprise) in the late 1100s.

Much of Indian culture and learning was suppressed or otherwise smothered by the British, but prior to that, India had been one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and highly developed. I'll grant that they didn't reach the level that Rome managed, but they did have sewer and irrigation systems (3000BC), some of the earliest steel processes (high-carbon Wootz steel prior to 500BC exported across Asia and Middle East) and Crucible steel 300-200BC also for export, earliest known plough 2300BC, earliest known stirrup 500-200BC, first articulation of Pascal's Triangle, and so on. Also, first demonstration of radio transmission 3 years prior to Marconi, the precursor to Chess, the development of cotton as a clothing fiber including early cotton gins, decimal place value and zero, and lots more.

The problem with India stems from entering a dark age when islam invaded in the 1100s, got somewhat better under the Mughals, and then sank again when the East India Company came in and dismantled most of India to finance various other initiatives, while beating the initiative out of the populace. Despite having fairly extensive trade with both East Asia and the Middle East/Mediterranean, India was always somewhat isolationist, so others easily took credit for their work, because India didn't have the expansionist bent that others did.

A considerable amount of discovery is being re-attributed to India, albeit not much since the Colonial period.

Sixgun said...

Just as an addendum to Nalanda, there's documented evidence of students from as far away as Tibet, China, Korea, Persia, Turkey, and Central Asia (presumably Mongolia), and at least contact with Indonesia. Courses of study included not only Buddhism, but fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics and the art of war. It had around 10,000 students and 2000 professors. That looks a lot like a University to me.

Aesop said...

Not disputing nor gainsaying the offered example of Nalanda per se (which, I must observe, is far too linguistically close to Wakanda for many to resist witticisms at its expense), but if it all was as you say, one cannot but wonder how, short of an Indian sub-continental genocide then unseen in the world, and of which no record yet exists, a mere Muslim invasion could suffice to so destroy not just that lone university, but the entire concept of one, culture-wide, specifically in the minds of the very 2000 professors and 10,000 students who'd experienced it, functionally forever, such that they never had nor created another one, ever, anywhere, until British rule.

It's as implausibly so as that Alexandria were the only library in the entire world until the Italian Renaissance. Which, of course, it was not.

If the university were there, and such an early great idea, one would expect there would be multiple of them, and the concept to have spread across all sorts of cultures, and destroying one would no more suffice to extinguish the model than destroying the first round wheel would do. There should be exemplars from India to Korea, let alone across Africa, were that tale any sort of true, just as in the Bolognese example in the West, to which multiple thousands of colleges and universities now trace their direct lineage.

Granting the premise of a therefore dubious history shows its unlikelihood, and the monumental flaws in the whole thing. It's a little like waving your hands and conjuring SMOD to explain the sudden inexplicable extinction of dinosaurs, instead of just offering the humble but intellectually authentic "we don't know".
I suspect revisionism is at the root, along with an addiction to the diversity mythos, and some fanciful imaginary elaboration on the part of those spreading the tale, along with the same sort of intellectual vigor that leads comic book authors and Hollywood screenwriters (often the same thing) to always posit some convenient and mystically hidden monastery in the Himalayas that possesses the hidden knowledge to alter time and space and make one a super-warrior, whether we're talking about Dr. Strange or the Dark Knight, or combining both myths into one, and positing the Magical Meteorite Made Of Unobtanium, to get us the exact Wakanda Myth itself for Black Panther.

Once we leave the suspension of disbelief inherent in a comic book or a mediocre screenplay, it doesn't hold up well in the light of day.

Sixgun said...

Nalanda was one of several such institutions in India. It was the first, and lasted half a millenium. It began fading in the century or so prior to the islamic invasion because Buddhism was falling out of popularity with the population, and had been kept alive only by royal patronage. When it was sacked as part of the invasion, it wasn't rebuilt because the invaders brought their own "schools" with them (recall that Nalanda was a Buddhist institution and therefore would be at odds with the new regime). When the invaders attacked the university, they burned the library there much like they did at Alexandria. The library was said to have been so large it took three months for all the manuscripts to burn. The monks who ran the institution escaped to Tibet with as many manuscripts as they could carry, providing significant additional evidence.

There are numerous independent accounts of the existence and scope of these universities, as well as considerable ruins, so there's no question that they existed, and little dispute over their size. There were at least six other such institutions, all of which were also destroyed in the 1100s (Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Pushpagiri, Odantapuri, Somapura). There were many smaller institutions as well; one kingdom is recorded to have created 50 colleges. Unlike Europe, India suffered under Islamic rule for a couple of centuries, plenty of time to extinguish all the advancements India had accomplished, smothered under a blanket of 5th century dogma. India went straight from the islamic sultans to the hands of the East India Company, and so were still subjects of an alien government that saw India as a source of raw materials and wealth. As such, there was little chance to re-establish any of the institutions.

So, to sum up: the university was indeed there, and there were indeed many others as well. And it was the destruction of all of them by the forces of militant islam, as with so many other cultures of that time, that erased them from common knowledge. Many of the larger Buddhist monasteries in Tibet carried on the legacy of those institutions, being founded by refugees fleeing the destruction of the Indian institutions, until they too were smothered, this time by communism.

So we can see that the premise is not dubious. There are many written records of these institutions, most of which survived because they were carried back to their home countries by scholars. And there was indeed a genocide; Al-a-uddin Khiliji was the islamic warlord responsible for the destruction of Nalanda, and numerous others, as well as the sacking of many cities. He had a habit of burning his captives, including all the professors at Nalanda.

It's pretty apparent that you're having a hard time with this. World history doesn't stop at the Volga or the Libyan coast. Rome stood on the shoulders of the Greeks, who in turn borrowed heavily from Egypt (and India; Alexander invaded in 300BC). This in no way diminishes the accomplishments achieved by Western Europe; the Renaissance and subsequent flowering of culture in Europe unquestionably resulted in today's unparalleled Western world development. But had that cancerous ideology never made it out of Mecca/Medina, things would likely be quite different.