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Old November 20th, 2017, 11:17 AM   #1
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How did Western Europeans invent so much in the last few centuries?


How did Western Europeans invent so much in the last few centuries compared to other groups/civilizations in the past thousands of years?

Stuff like:
Television
Image projector
Film
Lightbulb
Lithium ion battery
Computer
Internet
Satellite
Telephone
Cellphone
Smartphone
GPS
ATM
Automobile
Airplane
Train
Radio
Stereo
Microphone
Mp3
Electronic music
Digital camera
Refrigerator
Electric stove
Electric heater
Air conditioner
Microwave
Pizza
Modern clothing
Basketball
Football

surpass anything created by previous civilizations. I will say that most of these modern inventions were created by Western European individuals (British, German, French) and not any other group of Europeans (makes me wonder why "white" nationalists keep boasting about European accomplishments when most of these inventions were British, German and French in origin and not from any other European ethnic group, yet lump all these ethnicities into the "white" category. It's like Muslims boasting about their golden age accomplishments when most of those accomplishments were Persian in origin, yet lump "Muslim" into one category)

But the main question is how Western Europeans were able to create such advanced technology and science that surpassed anything build by previous civilizations thousands of years before? I will maintain that without the contributions of Indian/Hindu and Islamic mathematicians and Chinese gunpowder and rockets and other inventions that spread to Europe via Silk Route, Europeans wouldn't have created such advanced technology.

BTW I put this in the general history, because I feel like if I post this on the European history sight, I will get a lot of eurocentric biased answers so I want opinions from a more general crowd.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 11:40 AM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricster4455 View Post
How did Western Europeans invent so much in the last few centuries compared to other groups/civilizations in the past thousands of years?

Stuff like:
Television
Image projector
Film
Lightbulb
Lithium ion battery
Computer
Internet
Satellite
Telephone
Cellphone
Smartphone
GPS
ATM
Automobile
Airplane
Train
Radio
Stereo
Microphone
Mp3
Electronic music
Digital camera
Refrigerator
Electric stove
Electric heater
Air conditioner
Microwave
Pizza
Modern clothing
Basketball
Football

surpass anything created by previous civilizations. I will say that most of these modern inventions were created by Western European individuals (British, German, French) and not any other group of Europeans (makes me wonder why "white" nationalists keep boasting about European accomplishments when most of these inventions were British, German and French in origin and not from any other European ethnic group, yet lump all these ethnicities into the "white" category. It's like Muslims boasting about their golden age accomplishments when most of those accomplishments were Persian in origin, yet lump "Muslim" into one category)

But the main question is how Western Europeans were able to create such advanced technology and science that surpassed anything build by previous civilizations thousands of years before? I will maintain that without the contributions of Indian/Hindu and Islamic mathematicians and Chinese gunpowder and rockets and other inventions that spread to Europe via Silk Route, Europeans wouldn't have created such advanced technology.

BTW I put this in the general history, because I feel like if I post this on the European history sight, I will get a lot of eurocentric biased answers so I want opinions from a more general crowd.
I'd query pizza as similar foods, flatbread with a topping, have been around for millenia and as for football and basketball, you may wish to substitute modern organised team games (sports in Americanese)--modern being important as the Aztecs, Greeks and Romans had organised games.
But generally, the scientific revolution was a child of the Rennaissance and the Enlightenment which was unique to the "West" where no learning was "taboo" and was shared openly and the practical application of the science was largely a function of the original "Protestant work ethic" that didn't frown on the lower orders bettering themselves and making money out of invention--an attitude that led to the agricultural and industrial revolutions in Britain and later the rest of Europe and the second industrial revolution from the 1840s onwards. It was also the same "can-do" attitude that crossed the Atlantic. Naturally as most science and technology builds on a predecessor, the raft of inventions and discoveries builds one on the other and develops a natural impetus. When you get to a critical mass of scientific or technical excellence people from other countries who wish to join in will flock to where the brains and opportunities for learning are in the 19thC the best of non-European brains flocked to European universities and since WW2 to the the Americas.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 12:10 PM   #3

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Colonialism.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 12:25 PM   #4

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Colonialism.
Japan, the Ottoman Empire, Persia and China were not colonised.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 12:25 PM   #5

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I will say that most of these modern inventions were created by Western European individuals (British, German, French)
I don't know why you're assuming this. A lot of these inventions came from the US which has a sizeable population of southern, eastern and northern europeans, not to mention jews (mostly central and eastern european btw).
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Old November 20th, 2017, 12:42 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
Japan, the Ottoman Empire, Persia and China were not colonised.
The Ottomans were colonised, and so? What's your point? Because mine is that colonialism is what allowed the West to invent all the things mentioned in the OP. What does the fact that China and Persia weren't colonised have to do with that?
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Old November 20th, 2017, 12:51 PM   #7
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The Ottomans were colonised, and so? What's your point? Because mine is that colonialism is what allowed the West to invent all the things mentioned in the OP. What does the fact that China and Persia weren't colonised have to do with that?
It was industrialization and while colonization certainly didn't hurt industrialization, it wasn't the reason for it. Industrialization did more to fuel colonization and make it possible than the other way around. For example how could the UK have ruled India's vast territory without railroads? The western European giants could have and mostly did industrialize without their colonies and this was largely unrelated as when the industrial revolution began it was well before the height of imperialism. Germany had the resources to industrialize without colonies, so did the UK, so did the US and so did France to a lesser extent. Steel and iron was largely produced domestically and colonization fulfilled other more traditional economic needs.

This wasn't like with the new world where Europe was being provided with goods it did not have in vast supply like timber, sugar cane, tobacco etc, Europe had tons of the minerals needed to industrialize(at least the western part did). I know Austria-Hungary had some resources in modern day Czechia and Slovakia as well.

Japan was a country that was far more reliant on colonization to industrialize because it didn't have the resources on it's home soil to industrialize so it needed to control it's neighbors who did(this is largely how WWII in the Pacific happened).

Last edited by EmperoroftheBavarians43; November 20th, 2017 at 12:55 PM.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 12:54 PM   #8

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Originally Posted by Maoistic View Post
The Ottomans were colonised, and so? What's your point? Because mine is that colonialism is what allowed the West to invent all the things mentioned in the OP. What does the fact that China and Persia weren't colonised have to do with that?
WTF has colonialism got to do with scientific advance? There is a specious argument that the second industrial revolution (but not the First) was driven by European expansion, but how does that explain lasers, television and driverless cars?

How was the Ottoman Empire colonised? Bits were hived off, hacked off or declared independence, but how was it colonised--if you are talking post 1918 Iraq, the Gulf states, Armenia and Caucasus--they were no one's colonies.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 01:02 PM   #9

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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
WTF has colonialism got to do with scientific advance? There is a specious argument that the second industrial revolution (but not the First) was driven by European expansion, but how does that explain lasers, television and driverless cars?
I love how angry people get. Things like cars, planes, telecommunications and even something as simple as the industrial conveyor belt used for factory mass production wouldn't have been possible without rubber and gutta-percha, which Europeans wouldn't have obtained without colonising America and South Asia. And that's a simplification. I can write a whole essay about how cash crops, land, surplus resources and surplus labour force, which Europe obtained only through colonisation, are what allowed the massive technological progress of Europe.

One would in fact think something like that would be obvious.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
How was the Ottoman Empire colonised? Bits were hived off, hacked off or declared independence, but how was it colonised--if you are talking post 1918 Iraq, the Gulf states, Armenia and Caucasus--they were no one's colonies.
So according to you, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, alongside the states you mentioned with the exception of Armenia, weren't colonies. Then again, you probably are one of those who make the (this time actually) specious distinction between "protectorate" and "colony" to say these weren't colonies.

Last edited by Maoistic; November 20th, 2017 at 01:08 PM.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 01:05 PM   #10

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Originally Posted by EmperoroftheBavarians43 View Post
It was industrialization and while colonization certainly didn't hurt industrialization, it wasn't the reason for it. Industrialization did more to fuel colonization and make it possible than the other way around. For example how could the UK have ruled India's vast territory without railroads? The western European giants could have and mostly did industrialize without their colonies and this was largely unrelated as when the industrial revolution began it was well before the height of imperialism. Germany had the resources to industrialize without colonies, so did the UK, so did the US and so did France to a lesser extent. Steel and iron was largely produced domestically and colonization fulfilled other more traditional economic needs.

This wasn't like with the new world where Europe was being provided with goods it did not have in vast supply like timber, sugar cane, tobacco etc, Europe had tons of the minerals needed to industrialize(at least the western part did). I know Austria-Hungary had some resources in modern day Czechia and Slovakia as well.

Japan was a country that was far more reliant on colonization to industrialize because it didn't have the resources on it's home soil to industrialize so it needed to control it's neighbors who did(this is largely how WWII in the Pacific happened).
Love the specious argument of Germany and Japan. Germany benefited from its neighbouring colonial empires and without them it could not have industrialised itself. Japan also benefited from the spoils of colonialism by trading with the Dutch, and industrialised itself because it copied European technology that was only possible through colonial exploitation.

That's not even mentioning how Germany and especially Japan did indeed require colonies to keep their industrial machinery going. The desire to surpass the industrial output of Europe is why Japan in particular required to colonise East Asia and the Pacific, otherwise it would have been impossible, as Japan didn't have any colonial empire in its vecinity, only European colonies.
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