Jun 23, 2023·edited Jun 23, 2023Liked by Étienne Fortier-Dubois

"So much so that people sometimes claim that the Egyptians and the Incas used some kind of now-lost technology. But they most likely didn’t: they were just really good at cutting stone." This and the other examples "just really good" doesn't make sense. It's basically handwaving and begging the question.

Good in such craftmanship means they had developed techniques (doesn't have to involve new tools or technology in the sense of an invention: specific moves, or specific way or applying existing tools still quality) that a modern expert on those areas doesn't know how to replicate.

"We don’t really know how the ancient Indian metallurgists did it, which means it could be an actual lost technology. Or maybe they just got lucky."

Again, hardly probable. It's obviously this wasn't their first rodeo, or rather first steel coated using this technique. If they got lucky at some earlier point making steel columns and landed at the technique, it still qualifies as a lost technology, since they knew the technique and we don't. Many of our mordern technologies are also discovered by accident, doesn't mean they're not technologies but "luck".

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Fair, but the full argument is that we can do just as much precision stone-cutting or whatever, it's just that we don't know exactly how these specific civilizations and craftsmen did it. Yes, there's some kind of very specific knowledge that doesn't exist now, but it's a stretch to say we lost the technology. It's true that there's a blurry line between clear-cut "inventions" and "specific moves, or specific way or applying existing tools" — the word technology could refer only to the first, or to both.

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