ripvanwormer wrote:I think the question of general resource allocation is separate from the scenario we were talking about, which is whether a group deprived of resurrection magic would inevitably die out entirely.
Nothing is separate from anything. The world is a closed system. (If there are multiple planes, then the multiverse
is a closed system.) Everything influences everything else, usually in too complex and nuanced ways for anyone non-omniscient to identify as they're happening. But in the fullness of time, pattenrs become clear. This is precisely why that saw about learning history, or else repeating it, is such a big deal. (There are of course countervailing forces, so you can't JUST learn history; the world will have factually changed over time in ways that invalidate past lessons, and the history you reconstructed might be based on false or misleading evidence. But within reason, such study is still the best way to understand the cyclical inevitabilities of the world we live in - and the same principle, with some appropriate number of tweaks, would apply to people living in any other world.)
If apostates are actually prevented from getting proper nutrition, that's as much an act of violence as attacking them with swords.
If it's a subtle economic thing rather than an organized campaign of denial - if the price of high-quality food just keeps inching up a copper piece at a time, while wages never improve, and thus only larger families that can pool their resources are capable of adapting effectively - then it's a lot harder for the victims to identify it as an attack, or even notice it happening at all. They might well be socialized to simply shrug "times are tough", without noticing how the other half lives because they keep quiet about how much better they're doing (after all, the status quo seems normal to both groups; only if they compare notes do they notice a trend, and one has little incentive to inform the other of their own unfair advantage).
it also sounds like you're arguing that poor people will inevitably die out as they're outcompeted by wealthier people. This doesn't sound like a very good prediction.
I don't see why not. Pretty much the only countervailing force involves the poor people conducting violent insurrections against their oppressors, and as a society grows larger and more entrenched, it usually takes action to eliminate threats to its hegemony by forcibly pacifying its neighbors, outlawing domestic protests, taking stringent security measures, and so forth.
I don't think there's any reason to believe that people with the benefit of resurrection magic will necessarily have more children than people that don't
They live longer on balance because of the clerics raising them when they're killed, so inevitably, given the same rates of reproduction, they have more opportunities to produce children, and thus produce more children, who in turn live longer and produce still more children. Across a couple of centuries, the steady drip becomes a river and washes everything else away.
or that whatever marginal number of additional children they have represents an extinction-level threat to other groups
Within a sufficiently large-perspective timescale, it certainly does. Nature is all about tipping points. Currently, the world's crab population is threatened with extinction due to overfishing; this doesn't mean that there will eventually be only two crab left in the world, and if one of them dies before they can mate and repopulate the species, that's it. No, extinction is much more subtle than that. There could be thousands upon thousands of crab left alive, but if too many of their genetic lineages have been overfished in particular nurseries that they coincidentally favored, then other groups predominate and the entire species becomes less diverse, more homogenous, and thus more vulnerable to the sudden mutation or introduction of a new pathogen, a toxic spill, a volcanic eruption, a 1-degree drop in worldwide ocean temperatures which throws off reproduction rates and measurably decreases food supplies across the whole ecosystem, or any number of other disasters. Over the course of thousands if not millions of years, hundreds of events like this threaten to annihilate a species, and its only hope to survive them is to stay flexible, healthy, with a vital and dynamic genetic range. All of this is JUST as true of humans as of any other animal, plant, fungus or microbe.
Those who know they have no chance of being brought back from the dead may have more children to compensate.
This much is certainly true. But if it's entirely optional, then the first group can notice the trend and duplicate it, thus retaining their advantage. The only way the system can be balanced is if there's some factor at work which actively fixes it; a god's intervention might work, but that's just the deities fixing a mistake they made by allowing too much resurrection in the first place.
It seems likely that they'll reproduce less in general, just as people in the developed world on our Earth have less children than people in the undeveloped world.
I'm skeptical of this data. I know of a large number of families with immense number of children here in America.
going off on wild tangents can drag discussions on endlessly.
This kind of Objectivist-style philosophy is an excellent way for the privileged to justify their exploitation
1. I am definitely not one of the privileged, and am exploited by them almost as much as anyone can be. I advocate overthrow of the system, because this particular system is corrupt, and because systems in general tend to become corrupt. I'm certainly not trying to make our society any more Lawful Evil than it is.
2. That said, whether or not my philosophy has anything to do with that of Ayn Rand, it is very much grounded in observable fact. Some people are simply better than others, and I regard "Harrison Bergeron" as being no less nightmarish a dystopia than "1984."
("Brave New World", on the other hand, I think gets pretty close to being a workable social system; just drop the baby-torturing in favor of a less invasive conditioning method, and make the social controls on adults a trifle more sophisticated than "orgy porgy", and you have a very effective method of keeping a mostly-pretty-decent society from being torn apart by social unrest. Hopeless romantics like The Savage were only incapable of adapting to life in such a world because they had been raised away from it, exposed to the ideas that it carefully suppressed, in order to avoid inspiring people to want what they couldn't have, and shoot themselves in the foot by trying to get it. My reaction to the "tragic" ending was a facepalm at John's pigheadedness; he should have just gotten over himself.)
By this reasoning, perhaps only feudal lords and knights should have the benefit of clerical healing and resurrection; they protect the land and own all the resources, while everyone else is a replaceable parasite.
Their ownership of the land is an unjustifiable social construct; they "protect" the land from others exactly like themselves.
If we can back up a little bit and keep on track, the scenario in question was clerics offering their services only to the faithful. Who are the 'parasites' in this context, the converts who depend on clerical healing or the iconoclasts who have rejected it? If you're correct, and that sentimentality and 'preserving dead weight' is a competitive disadvantage, won't your hypothetical theocracy inevitably go extinct?
Good to know, Agent Smith.
You're constructing a false dichotomy between humanity and nature; humans are as much a part of nature as anything else
Humans, as anthropoid animals with an endurance hunting strategy and the ability to plan ambushes, adapt to change, and so forth, certainly are part of nature. But constructs of the human mind, any level of social organization beyond the hunter-gatherer tribe, and any degree of technology beyond picking up a stick to hit things that are out of arm's reach (including "mental technologies" such as language, arithmetic, and the concept of law) are all unnatural inventions of humanity's capacity for abstract reasoning. No other species in the world appears to possess this capability, and given that we've soiled our environment irreversably and built weapons easily capable of killing ourselves off several times over, it may well prove to have been a mistake on Evolution's part that we ever developed that power.
Capitalism and sexism are principles human minds have observed in human organisms, just as natural selection is a principle human minds have observed in both human and nonhuman organisms. All of these observations can be taken too far, and natural selection of 'survival of the fittest' has been especially misused.
I think capitalism has been misused far worse....
If that were true, female nurses and other female medical professionals would be higher esteemed in patriarchal cultures.
True, but they can't literally raise the dead. (At least not after an hour or so.)