History 104A, August 24: ORIGINS & CIVILIZATION

               I would like to maybe not finish the full video but at least get

          to a point where at least some of the new investigations are

          indicating what they're looking for as possible explanations for

          evolution in contrast, in opposition if you will, to Darwin.  And from

          there, I would like to go into -- well, I guess the definition of

          civilization and some of the beginnings of cities, et cetera.  That's

          what we're going to pick up on today.

               Before I do, well, I did bring in that little book on creation

          and evolution -- that's okay -- and touched on -- it was the second

          law of thermodynamics that the creationists have been using to argue

          against the impossibility of evolution.  Also the argument is

          presented in the complexity of our organism, how it could be that

          these complex organs, including for example all of the various

          elements of the eye, could have occurred at random and how life could

          have occurred.  Calculations are 100 billion to the tenth power by

          some people statistically to its occurrence.

               Again, is there life in the universe elsewhere?  Or did for some

          reason we develop through various universes?  The multi universe

          theories are now being presented as speculation that we are actually

          products of many many different universes rather than our own.  All of

          that is the kind of speculation that you can't really deal with in

          science but it's fun.  This is why I enjoy teaching western

          civilization, world civ.

               In any case, I did call up on the heat in the room which is, of


          course, a different issue.  And they said they are going to reduce the

          temperature in here.  Does it to you seem to me that it's gotten


          A    Yeah.

               THE PROFESSOR:  Apparently they had it set at state law which is

          78.  And of course it's reading down here.  By the time it gets back

          there, it was about 86.  They've set it to 72.  I'm one that likes

          freezing.  I'll prefer about 64, just to let you know.

               Any questions before I start rolling the video tape again?  I'll

          go through about another 20 minutes of it and then cut it wherever it

          is.  One other thing.  Is there anybody here that is an art major or

          art history?  Good.  I can get rid of that.  For some reason they sent

          it to me in my box.  You can have a free book with a CD rom.

                                   (video tape playing)

               Well, I guess you get a little picture of this, especially those

          of you who are biologically inclined.  And once again, this is 20

          years ago.  Obviously the knowledge, the investigations have exploded

          in those last 20 years.  And yet the culture war continues and getting

          more severe, the culture war in part being, as I indicated, the drive

          to restore theology and religion to American society and eliminate the

          mechanistic, humanistic, what is often referred to as secular

          humanism, world humanism, where people see themselves as their own God

          from our curriculum and school, from our basic world itself,

          institutions.  And certain things that, of course, what is very feared

          by many scientists and others including industrialists who are fearful


          that America, if the culture war continues and begins to continue to

          win, as in some areas it has been, that we may lose our place in

          developing new biological cures, biological weapons, if you will,

          which translates to the 21st century is being seen or better said

          being predicted to be where, instead of just studying computers and

          machines, that we'll be dealing with dramatic changes in biology and

          human existence via biologically.  Obviously we're dealing with such

          things as cloning.  Other parts of the world are going to pick up on

          it and perhaps replace the United States.  And of course one of the

          biggest fears and, if you will, threats that is seen is coming out of

          the Far East and especially a country whose science is exploding on

          the seen with far more Ph.D.s per capita than even the United States

          and that's China.  Obviously the immigration into this country from

          countries where science has expanded in recent years and mathematics

          like India, China, and even Russia are certainly impacting, as you

          know, the Bay Area itself, because of the need for this knowledge,

          because of the fear among many people in our country to explore or go

          into these areas.

               That's the social consequences of the future.  Now, in part we

          need to return to the past.  I don't see my computer on here, so let's

          turn it on here again.  My brother recently returned, about six months

          ago, from a trip to a Galapagos Islands, which was interesting, in

          that they can only take small ships across to those, where Darwin of

          course supposedly developed much of his theory on his trip on the

          Beagle in 183l.  His theory came out because another guy, Watson, was


          ready to deal with evolution himself in 1839, The Origin of the

          Species.  And my brother raised some questions to the biologists there

          that was showing and talking about Darwinian theory.  The interesting

          part of the island is that, there's no restrooms on it.  People aren't

          allowed to eat there.  They try to keep it intact.  They have to go

          back to ships.  In any case, what the biologists did admit to is that

          they have found absolutely no speciation, macro evolution.  They have

          found numerous forms of variation which, in a  sense, is the micro

          evolution.  Again, much of this is what you should be getting in the

          biology class, I think.  And some of you have, I'm sure.  For those

          that have not, we've just added a little extra to quote/unquote the

          beginnings of humanity.

               For whatever it's worth, there is of course the other question on

          the geological record before humanity.  And the question is:  How can

          we have so many different layers of the Earth?  Wasn't this done over

          4 or 5 or 6 billion years?  We're talking about 5 billion years and

          the various changes.  And for most intelligent design creationists,

          they believe that the change in the layers and the mixup between where

          things are in the layers occurred because of the flood.  And the flood

          created that strange divisions in the rocks and in the mountains which

          would explain why there is residuals of sea life in the highest

          reaches of the Alps from their perspective.  Of course, I must admit

          that when my -- I'm usually pretty good and I love learning and

          discussing and arguing, being a New Yorker, but when my brother-in-law

          when we were in Sedona, Arizona -- how many of you have been to


          Sedona?  It's a really beautiful area with these mesas and sort of

          golden rock, red dust.  As we were driving along, because they live in

          Arizona, he said, it's amazing how all this was formed by the flood.

          And I have to admit I did flip out a little bit and I said, look, I

          don't want to hear it.  I didn't  want to get into a theological

          argument.  I'm just talking to wait until we get here.  There's the

          advantage of technology, but then there's a problem of taking the time

          to get to it.

               We are of course western world civilization.  And of course the

          key word we keep hearing is the term civilization.  The debate when

          civilization began, what civilization is, how we define it certainly

          is a factor and in the books themselves.  And of course, gee,

          PowerPoint people can get some specifically to take notes in.  Of

          course years ago what we used was that overhead projector, now

          PowerPoint has become the modern overhead projector if you will.


               The term civilization comes from the Latin civis, meaning citizen

          or townsman, and so of course the city skylight that I used in the

          background of the specific slide.  There are groups that perhaps

          didn't exactly live in cities, that at times have been referred to as

          civilized.  What we have to watch is the derogatory term or usage of

          the term civilization.  When I first came here, there was a history

          book that, at that time, was about 20 years old that had been written

          that said that the indigenous people of America could not be

          civilized.  And of course that was an extremely derogatory statement

          by a very very well-known respected historian.  And again, is


          civilization the best thing available?  What problems arise with it?

          What problems arise with the non-primitive pre-civilized peoples?  And

          so of course we're going to examine some of that as we move into the

          development of the mediterranean civilizations, from the western

          perspective of Mesopotamia here and Egypt there, the Nile River Valley

          and of course the Euphrates/Tigress.  We call it the Tigress/Euphrates

          coming from your western culture reading left to right.

               Your textbook defines it and so do most in a simple way, I

          suppose by simply, saying it's a complex society.  I'm not sure what

          the hell that means candidly, but that's what you'll see in most

          textbooks.  It's a nice simple place and it gets rid of the

          controversy.  And it's like a nice glittering generality, complex

          society.  We need to break it down and honestly, more complex, where

          many people live in cities and get their food from agriculture.  We're

          going to go into how the basis and development of civilization really

          does begin with agriculture and how agriculture develops through women

          and how women have created our civilization.  And that explains all

          the problems.  No, I'm playing games.  I'm being a wise ass.

               Broader definition even can refer to any distinct society,

          whether complex and city dwelling or simple and tribal.  Now again,

          that may be a copout, but some people fearful of the pejorative

          meaning the negative element of the term -- can you spell pejorative,

          I can't -- you can, okay.  The negative of it is a voiding with this

          definition because basically it's almost saying everybody is

          civilized.  I think we need to return to more of the complex, where


          many people live in cities, get their food from agriculture.  And by

          agriculture we can change that a bit too and touch it on the

          gathering.  And we see the gathering as the growing of agriculture,

          but it's also included the domestication not only of plants but of

          animals.  Since much of the agriculture developed in the south sea

          islands for near fishing resorts because of the fertilization caused

          by the bones and remains of fish.  We also deal with that sense of

          hunting, if you will, of the fish, going out into the ocean and

          quote/unquote fishing.

               What characteristics?  Again, we're back to the domestication of

          crops, agriculture -- wheat, barley, maze.  A major force of

          civilization comes about because of this domestication and that is

          people can generally settle in permanent settlements, staying in one

          area; but even if they move on, there is excessive food to bring about

          a division or specialization of labor which translates to, in

          pre-civilized society, everybody knew how to do the same thing, you

          hunted or you gathered.  You were foragers.  In civilized society

          there is enough food to support specialized occupations, people who

          made pottery, people who lead the religion, people who lead the

          government, people who did witchcraft, people who made the knives or

          the arrowheads.  And that became their occupation and perhaps was

          passed down from generation to generation.  So not everybody needed to

          do the same thing.  And that separated -- we're going to talk about

          perhaps how that came into being -- it separated people into later --

          and one of the negative elements of civilization -- classes, castes,


          if you will.  A caste is which is permanent.  There's no way out.  If

          you're born into a caste, you stay there.  In a class society, there

          is at least the possibility of movement from one occupation to one

          status to another.

               I think a major element of civilizations that not in most of the

          book is that I like to add as a characteristic is controlling the

          environment.  Pre-civilized people live with the environment.  They

          move with the environment.  They were dependent on nature.  And to a

          large extent that's why animism, the worship of the forces in nature,

          prevailed.  But in civilization, we work with nature by trying to

          change it.

               Of course perhaps the biggest change in recent years has been the

          growth of the south due to our ability to create air conditioning.

          Southern industry, southern life has dramatically changed.  I recently

          visited the University of Texas at Dallas.  They don't even have to go

          outside during the hot summers.  They have all of these walkways that

          are enclosed that are air conditioned so the students go between

          buildings in these walkways to avoid the hot, humid Dallas summers.

          And I was recently -- four years ago -- in Minneapolis/Saint Paul --

          in Saint Paul, I didn't see any people on the streets.  I couldn't

          imagine why.  It's a big city.  And then I found out that everybody

          moves between the buildings in wintertime in the same kind of

          walkways.  They're set up with shopping malls and everything else to

          keep people out of the cold and snow.  That's an amazing adaptation

          that today has affected our civilization at a higher level but


          certainly begins with canals and irrigation and various kinds of

          farming technology, the plows if you will, the oxen pulling the plows,

          the carriages, the wheel, and of course the domestication full of fire

          rather than just keeping it going from a lightening strike, the

          ability to create the sparks to bring about fire.  All of those

          elements are in a sense a major element of civilization, not just art.

               We sort of talked about social hierarchy, a government or a

          bureaucracy controlling the agriculture and the distribution of goods

          and services -- why is this repeated?  I have to fix that.  Something

          happened here.

               Formal social institutions -- churches, schools, government,

          legislator, judicial.  And of course the exchange taking place with

          other institutions other cities, other communities -- trade.  And of

          course technology, be it a plow or be it a burin rather than simply a

          hand ax.  The earliest tools in man's tool kit was this large hand ax,

          sharp, that could be used for everything within about almost a million

          years.  We began to see a flint carving burin that would carve as well

          as other tools, such as arrowheads and axes not just the hand ax.  And

          of course the arts in the desert, it could well be just the paintings

          on the rocks, the paintings in the back of the caves.  Perhaps we'll

          talk a little bit about what they meant through speculation, the

          music, any way in a sense of entertainment, but also passing on

          knowledge.  And as we advance a form of written communication.  Of

          course the first written communication forms that we can deal with

          take place in Mesopotamia known as cuneiform C-U-N-E-I-F-O-R-M, a


          wedge-shaped writing we'll talk more about and of course

          hieroglyphics.  See, I didn't want a picture form of writing.

               I found this picture the other day and I just threw it in here

          because what it is, in about 14/15,000 years ago in the plains of

          Siberia, the people living there made these huts from mammoth tusks.

          These were huts they lived in, built their fires in, covered with the

          skins of the mammoth, and from the mammoth tusks themselves.  Of

          course they did not live in very many communities.

               This was actually a picture of the pyramid at Teotiuacan in

          southern Mexico.  The earlier civilizations were in the Nile Valley,

          China, Peiligang culture in the Fertile Valley, fertile Crescent,

          which the Indus Valley -- and all of these are in your textbook --

          West Africa, where ancient people's grouped together to form the

          ancient societies between the 10th and 14th Millenia BC.  However,

          ongoing excavations reveal that an ancient civilization may also have

          originated in Homom, Japan at about the same time or before.

               I'll pick up here the next time on the first cities which are

          8,000 BCE:  Jericho, Palestine; Catal, Huyuk, Turkey; Loulan, China.

               We'll see you on Friday.