Counter-argument: plenty of writing systems haven't lasted, but died out. Knowledge of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs was lost when that civilization collapsed (I recall a documentary making a fairly good case that the collapse was caused by an extended drought upriver: long story short, the Nile went a few years without its annual floods, so famine and collapse soon ensued.) If not for the lucky discovery of the Rosetta Stone, we still wouldn't know how to read them. As for the Egyptians who knew how to read hieroglyphs -- and it wasn't only the scribes and the "learned" class; even ordinary pyramid-workers were literate enough to write graffiti at their workplaces -- they didn't give up hieroglyphics because they adopted a new and better writing system; for awhile people just stopped writing altogether. The hieroglyph-writers themselves did not all die out -- by which I mean, I'm sure many people alive today are directly descended from members of the "hieroglyphs and pyramid-builders" civilization -- but their writing did. Which in turn suggests: after the collapse of that early Egyptian civilization there came a generation of people who knew how to read and write -- but did not pass this on to their children. Presumably because they had more pressing matters to worry about.Eric the .5b wrote: ↑17 Aug 2018, 21:43Yeah, but I don't buy the "literacy will die out" premise. If that were true, writing would have never lasted.
That said: the immediate survivors of a peaceful apocalypse going through what our civilization left behind would find survival a hell of a lot easier than those ancient Egyptians did.
I suspect the real question will be how successful those efforts are. And, arguably, what parts of their civilization they want to hold onto. Remember those zombie-Jesus and American warrior-Jesus billboards I mentioned seeing in south Georgia en route to Florida? If I have to rebuild society after the apocalypse, I don't think I want to partner up with any of those guys. Or any of the people who contribute to the appallingly high gang-murder rate in certain Atlanta neighborhoods and suburbs. Or....Further, I think you underestimate the efforts of people to try to hold onto their civilization.
Suppose a Captain Trips scenario: 999 people out of a thousand die of this virus. All right, greater metro Atlanta has over 6 million people IIRC, so with only one survivor out of a thousand that's still over 6,000 people within a couple dozen miles of me. But -- whatever were to happen in the immediate aftermath of Captain Trips killing its last victims, I'm pretty certain what will NOT happen: you won't see ALL of those survivors peacefully seek each other out and immediately realize "It's in all our best interest to work together and see what we can do to get the electricity back on, save the important medicines and medical equipment, gather all the important books together, etc."
But assuming you do find a good-sized number of sensible people who come together and agree to this, then the question is: just how many people will you need, to have groups big enough and specialized enough to handle everyday survival/food needs AND security AND everyday civilization-maintenance needs? And how quickly after such a calamity would people come together and form sufficiently large groups for this?