Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Thanksgiving history - the story

  1. Nov 21, 2007 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2007 #2

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The tragedy of the commons has been regulalrly dismissed by archeologists and historians - certainly for the case of medieval europe.
    In a small village where everyone knows each other, are intermarried and the same families have been living their for centurys abuse of common land was almost unheard of. In fact land efficency dropped significantly following the various enclosure acts - mostly due to no longer allowing your animals to 'organically-fertilise' the land.

    I suspect the pilgrim's complete lack of climatic and farming knowledge and equipement had a greater effect on their poor farming than their pinko tendancies.

    But the real meaning of thanksgiving is. If you see a group of people in funny clothes and talking about god, turn up in a big ship - kill them at the start, it will save trouble in the long run!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2007
  4. Nov 21, 2007 #3
    I've never heard that it's been regularly dismissed by archeologists or historians, and I kinda find it hard to believe. If it is true however, I know that economists have many documented cases of tragedy of the commons (past and present). For example, over-fishing, over-hunting, excess pollution, etc.

    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/TragedyoftheCommons.html
    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PropertyRights.html

    I don't see how this in anyway discredits the tragedy of the commons. At first sight it does seem counterintuitive, but tragedy of the commons is mainly about weakly defined property rights. And it seems possible that in a really small village this may be less of an issue considering that they may have some sort of understanding even though no one owns the property (in legal terms).
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2007
  5. Nov 21, 2007 #4
    Ironically on the flip side we have:

    The Tragedy of the Anticommons

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/280/5364/698
     
  6. Nov 21, 2007 #5

    chemisttree

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The link you provided states that the first thanksgiving was in October of 1623. This statement prefaces the story and is necessary to provide a proper time line that after two years of communal farming they all nearly starved (because of communalism).

    Only 53 of the original 100 or so that landed at Plymouth rock survived the winter. These celebrated their first thanksgiving in October of 1621, slightly less than a year after they first landed (not two years later). The nearly 50 that died during the first winter can't be explained by any communal farming practice!

    This story gets the date of the first Thanksgiving absolutely wrong! Can anything else it purports be accepted as fact without some tedious research?

    Not by me.

    At best this story is a parable and not history.

    A quote from Edward Winslow, Mourt's Relation
    This was a description of the Autumn of 1621.
    Pilgrim Hall Museum
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2007
  7. Nov 21, 2007 #6

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The economic theory "tragedy of the commons" is definately true, you can see it in everything from SUVs to pork barrel defense contracts - it's just ironic that the explanation/example always given - of medeaval common land is wrong.

    It's a bit like using water down a bath plug and coriolis force to show that the earth rotates. The earth rotates, and coriolis force exists but water down your bath plug doesn't demosntrate it.
     
  8. Nov 21, 2007 #7
    If what you say is true, then no it can't be accepted as fact without some tedious research. However, I just wanted to point out that this situation has been discussed in other articles, and there's even a book written on the topic. So if anyone actually wants to do the "tedious research" I'm sure the info is available.
     
  9. Nov 21, 2007 #8
    This seems very interesting and I definitely want to read it. In one sense though, I am compelled to ask how private property could be underused? Isn't it the owner's decision to determine how much he wants to use (or let other people use)? So how do we define underuse?
     
  10. Nov 25, 2007 #9
    Not really much research. There are exactly two historical references to the firsat Thanksgiving in the New World. Although the religious practice of "giving thanks" precedes the Plymouth colony feast.
    http://www.mayflowerhistory.com/History/thanksgiving.php

    Stossel is a joke. One of those people on my permanently ignore list.
     
  11. Nov 28, 2007 #10
    I like Stossel. I don't disagree that he makes some mistakes (as I'm sure he does). The reason I like the guy is because he's a complete libertarian, and the only mainstream one I know of. I think it's cool that people may get exposed to a different perspective. Especially, considering that most journalists are liberal (very liberal?) and the the few that aren't are generally conservative.
     
  12. Nov 28, 2007 #11

    ShawnD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I like him too. I don't always agree with him, but he sure knows how to support with claims with evidence. If there was one reason to watch TV, it would be to watch what he does. I don't watch TV, but if I did, you know I'd watch him more :smile:

    edit: it looks like Stossel made a response to Moore's sicko. It's on youtube as "sick in america". I can't look at it now since, but I'm psyched to see this :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  13. Dec 1, 2007 #12
    John Stossel is not a true Libertarian. Nor is he an honest journalist.

    He is a paid lackey.

    I guess if you work for Disney, fantasy can pass for reality.

    Dan Rather would have been fired.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2007
  14. Dec 2, 2007 #13

    ShawnD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You're fighting a strongly bias libertarian using a strongly bias hippy group? Come on now. Take another look at the wording of this

    No law is in place to stop normal farmers from spraying manure and sewage because that never happens. The majority of fertilizer used is inorganic because it costs a hell of a lot less.

    Salts made of ammonium, nitrate, phosphate, and potassium normally do not contain ecoli. Animal manure naturally contains ecoli; you might have some ecoli in your intestines right now as you read this. Stossel lying about doing tests doesn't automatically negate this.

    I don't see how getting paid to give speeches to people who care about your message makes somebody a liar. Get this: democrats pay money to listen to Clinton speeches. OMG WHAT A SH|TBAG. He's just telling people what they want to hear!!!1
     
  15. Dec 3, 2007 #14
  16. Dec 7, 2007 #15
    Obviously you have never lived on a farm with livestock.

    Ecoli exists in the GI tract of most mammals.

    So he had no evidence to support his claim so he just made it up. Are you arguing that just because there is no evidence to support the claim that it is still valid?

    It doesn't. But fabricating studies that don't exist and lying in order to advance the interests of the people paying you to make these speeches, does tend to show an extreme bias toward ones cash cow. Journalist should at very least have an appearance of objectivity.

    The fact that Stossel can lie, make stuff up, and then people like you are willing to defend him, says a lot about confirmation bias and it's effect on human thought and perception..
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Thanksgiving history - the story
Loading...