The Instigator
UnStupendousMan
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ConservativePolitico
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

It would be preferable to live in a hunter-gatherer society rather than an agricultural one

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
ConservativePolitico
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/17/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,107 times Debate No: 23663
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

UnStupendousMan

Pro

FULL RESOLUTION:
Resolved: On balance, it would be preferable to live in a prehistoric hunter-gatherer society rather than a prehistoric agricultural one.

***
Definitions:
On balance: considering all aspects
Preferable: more desireable
To live: to pass (life)
Prehistoric: of or pertaining to the time or period pritor to recorded history
Hunter-gatherer society: a structure of human orginization that obtains most of it's food from wild plants and animals.
Agricultural society: a structure of human orginization that obtains it's food by the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms.

***
Rules:

No semantics
First round is for acceptance only.
No new arguments in the last round.
Standard rules apply
The BOP is shared; I have to defend my arguments, not just attack my opponent's; and my opponent has to defend their arguments, not just attack mine.
1 month voting period
Each argument is at max 8,000 characters long, although brevity is encouraged
Each debater has seventy-two hours to make thier case.

***
I hope for a fun and interesting debate. I'll answer any questions in the comments.
ConservativePolitico

Con

I accept!

This should be really neat.
Debate Round No. 1
UnStupendousMan

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Sorry that I have procrastinated this long, that's just my style. However, before I start my argument, I ask of my opponent this:

***

On balance, it would be preferable to live in a prehistoric hunter-gatherer society rather than a prehistoric agricutural one. This is because those hunter-gatherer societies had a superior quality of life.

I'm not going to lie and say that agriculture was the worst event that ever happened during human history, like one Mental_Floss magazine article once proclaimed. It brought about food surplusses, specialization, an explosion of people, and, eventually cities. However, there were a lot of disadvantages to being a farmer. First off, farming takes up a lot of time and energy to till the land, plant the seeds, water the crops, and harvest them. A lot of effort goes into farming a crop, which all could be wasted if there is a drought, a flood, or pestilence that could potentially destroy your crop. This is not something that is completely wonderful, especially since it has been argued that hunter-gatherer societies have more free time to do stuff like art or music. [1]

When some natural disaster does not stifle one's yeild, there is, indeed plenty of food to go around. However, while there is increased quantity, there is decreased quality. Think about it. While agriculturalists can presumably trade for other suff than what they themselves create, their food sources are only limited to things that are being traded locally and are probably not spoiled already. This isn't the best. Statistics on human highth support this. Highth was dramatically cut from before the Neolithic revolution to after it. [2] Also, there have been suggestions that the length of an average human's life was shortened in the short tem.

In addition, agriculture generally put one in close proximity to animals. Animals are known vectors of disease. And, from time to time, diseases cross over from animals to humans. While many humans built up an immunity to such diseases, many diseases (such as the Influenza and Measles viruses [3,4]) have crossed over from direct contact of animals, many of which were domesticated. Diseases, not only did not give us miserable days where we were achy and had a runny nose, diseases are killers which have killed boatloads of people over time. [5]

Not only is there deficits for being a farmer, there are benefits for being a hunter-gatherer. For example. hunter-gatherer societies tend to be equal and egalitarian. In fact, it has been argued that this parity, including sexual equality, is a central tenant of hunter-gatherer societies. [6] There couldn't be a great and honored king which everybody gives tribute to without compromising the group as a whole in a hunter-gather company.

All this points to one thing: prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies were preferable to live in rather than a prehistoric agricultural one.

***

Excuse me for the absolute poorness (at least in the structure and shortness) of my arguments, I was epically procrastinating and ran down the time. I will attempt to make a better argument in the future, so that my opponent will have an actual debate. I thank him for the opportunity, though.

***
Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
ConservativePolitico

Con

My Points

A. Food Surplus

With the coming of agriculture came food surpluses. What this meant is that DESPITE disease and the occasional natural disaster there would always be enough food to keep the population going. Food quantity did not reduce quality because at the very start of agriculture farming was at its purest form in history. Food grown in the fields of prehistoric farms would have been no different than the food growing in wild fields at the time. This food surplus increased quality of life, population size and started early trade which led to the diversification of goods and services.

B. Animals

Early agricultural society began the demystification of animals. [1] This led to easier work loads for farmers and other workers through the use of pack animals along with animals used for supplies, food and drink to further increase food supply and diversification. These animals further led to an increase in technology and gave societies with animals an edge over those who did not. [2] This would include sheep for wool, cows for milk and horses for transportation.

"Animals that provided milk, such as cows and goats, offered a source of protein that was renewable and therefore quite valuable. The animal’s ability as a worker (for example ploughing or towing), as well as a food source, also had to be taken into account. Besides being a direct source of food, certain animals could provide leather, wool, hides, and fertilizer. Some of the earliest domesticated animals included dogs (about 15,000 years ago), sheep, goats, cows, and pigs." [1]

C. Technology

Agricultural society causes an explosion in technology that leads to advantages in survival and increases in standard of living. If we compare agricultural societies to hunter-gathering ones we see a much higher rate of technology leading to a higher standard of living. Take the 18th century British Empire compared to the Aboriginals of Australia. [3] The technology gap was enormous. The Aboriginals had very little technology, very few domesticated animals [2] and a much smaller, more spread out population leading to a lag in technology and subsequent conquering by the British. Technology gives civilizations advantages over other causing them to remain independent and much harder to dominate and conquer.

D. Starvation

Hunter-gatherers were often subject to malnutrition or starvation.

"There are also a number of accounts of hunter-gatherers who were starving despite the fact that they were eating large amounts of very lean meat. This is sometimes referred to as "rabbit starvation" in North America since it historically involved the reliance on lean rabbits by hunter-gatherers." [4]

If hunter-gatherers did not get the exact right balance for their diet - and their diet was vastly influenced by nature and natural events - they would become unhealthy or even starve. In agricultural society, food surplus, trade and diversification of goods would prevent this.

Contentions

C1. Farming

My opponent claims farming is time consuming, fragile and a waste of energy. However, I can't imagine that packing up your entire village and moving it every few weeks is any less time consuming or a better use of energy than farming in a single place. Also, food surplus during good years prevented catastrophe during poor years. Hunter-gatherers were also subject to drought and poor seasons just as farmers. However, farmers did not have to continuously move during bad seasons, they could use their surplus to wait the bad times out. Therefore, farming is actually superior during times of hardship than hunter-gathering.

C2. Food Quality

I already addressed this earlier but I will address it again. Quantity at the very start of agriculture would not decrease quality. Today, farming may decrease quality due to the sheer volume and methods used but in the time being debated, quantity would not effect quality.

C3. Disease

My opponent correctly states that domesticating animals caused the spread of disease. However, what my opponent failed to mention is that this in addition to living in tighter quarters actually vastly increased human resistance to disease. This resistance would give societies an edge over societies who did not possess it. A great example is the Aztec Empire. [5] The Aztecs were an early agricultural society with very few domesticated animals and low disease resistance. This would allow the Spanish to cause the collapse of the Aztec empire through the spread of disease. In this way, the agricultural society has a surviving edge over the society who did not.

C4. Society

There is nothing showing that very early agricultural society was UNequal. Women would care for the farmers and while the men farmed but there was nothing showing a dichotomy in equality between the two groups. Also, the development of government from agriculture would eventually lead to advanced empires, civilizations including our own in the US. Government increased organization, communication, created law and facilitated order. [6]

Living in an agricultural society was superior to living in a hunter-gather society.

Thank you.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond
[3] http://www.downunderonline.com...
[4] http://www.enotes.com...
[5] http://www.aztec-history.com...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
UnStupendousMan

Pro

UnStupendousMan forfeited this round.
ConservativePolitico

Con

It is unfortunate that my opponent could not make an argument this round.

Hopefully next round he can post something.
Debate Round No. 3
UnStupendousMan

Pro

UnStupendousMan forfeited this round.
ConservativePolitico

Con

Well it was a good first round of arguments...
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Ancap_Anon 1 year ago
Ancap_Anon
Hunter Gatherer is the best, Yay - Conor
Posted by Oryus 5 years ago
Oryus
Unstupendousman, yes, your arguments could have been better. Your conclusion is correct ;)

I would have liked to read a finished version of this :(
Posted by ConservativePolitico 5 years ago
ConservativePolitico
I understand. My arguments are built in my head I'll just have to transfer them at some point.
Posted by UnStupendousMan 5 years ago
UnStupendousMan
Long term, it was spectacular. However, short-term... That's the reason we are having this debate.
Posted by ConservativePolitico 5 years ago
ConservativePolitico
Well there's a reason for that;)
Posted by UnStupendousMan 5 years ago
UnStupendousMan
I still think that I could have done better by it. "Good" isn't enough for me, because that's code for "bad." The hardest part was getting the info backing up my arguments, because everyone is PRO-agricultural-revolution.
Posted by ConservativePolitico 5 years ago
ConservativePolitico
Your arguments were fine.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
UnStupendousManConservativePoliticoTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did well to highlight the benefits of an agricultural society and defeat arguments of his opponent. This was only facilitated by Pro's habit of bringing up numerous negatives of hunter-gather societies and benefits of farming ones, for seemingly no reason. Then, of course, there are the forfeits.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 5 years ago
Ron-Paul
UnStupendousManConservativePoliticoTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FFs.