From: Wade T. Smith (email@example.com)
Date: Mon 19 May 2003 - 11:40:21 GMT
On Sunday, May 18, 2003, at 04:17 PM, Phil wrote:
> I take it from this that you've never heard of a thing called
> `reverse engineering' Wade.
Of course I have.
However, no amount of reverse engineering could ever, _ever_, produce
the cultural venue that first produced that Tlingit artifact. Yes, an
anthropologist could reverse manufacture it, and even produce another
one, using his best approximation of the tools, and his best
replication of the natural tints applied with his best replications of
the original brushes, but, the actual _reason_ that the artifact was
first made for is _gone_, and _cannot_ be reverse engineered. The
Tlingit people themselves can place no meaning upon this artifact, and
they would not know what to do with a newly manufactured one anymore
than they know what to do with the original.
There will never again be the reason to make this artifact that there
was. And even when anthropologists come up with their reasons why
ancient or recent cultures created certain artifacts, there is still no
continuing recreation of the cultural venue that created it, such that
a people continue who depend upon this artifact for cultural survival.
No, once a cultural venue is extinct, it is extinct, just like
allosaurus. We can analyze it, discover its behaviors, learn its
habitat, but, we will never have another one, surviving as it did.
And no amount of reverse engineering will ever be able to create it, in
the same way no amount of reverse engineering will ever make another
pyramid in Egypt- such constructions were products of their cultural
venues, and not endeavors of anthropologists or engineers.
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