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The world I'm building would be based on a new planet discovered and colonized by modern humans (us, essentially).

But then some disaster or another happens, and the end result is that all contact with Earth and other humans is lost, and only a few hundreds to a few thousands people remain on the new planet. All or most of the technology is lost, but they're otherwise safe and in good health. After a period of adaptation they start to settle here, have children, and so on.

Now, my thought is that after a few centuries or millennia, descendants of the earth people would have either forgotten altogether about Earth, or only deformed myths and legends would remain.

But is that accurate? Wouldn't the survivors write down accounts of Earth and the modern world, and endeavor to keep the memory alive? Or is it realistic to think that after hundreds of generations and all the sorts of disaster, strife, political changes and warfare that could have occurred, historical records would have been lost or destroyed?

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jan 20 '17 at 4:37

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There's a reason we use archaeology to reconstruct what happened in the past.

Written records are powerful when they exist, but they're also fragile. It takes relatively little damage for a document written on paper to become illegible; stone lasts longer, depending on the environment, but it's so laborious to carve that you'd only keep your most important records engraved in stone.

In a survival situation, you have much more important things to do than record the name and location of your homeworld.

Unless your people maintain an industrial civilisation, and are able to devote extensive resources to recording their past and preserving those records, it's perfectly feasible for knowledge of the past to be lost.

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    $\begingroup$ Sure - it's entirely possible that they would record their history in carved stone tablets that they keep in the centre of the village. It all depends on the story you want to tell. But I understood the question to be about whether it was plausible for all knowledge to be lost - I would say that yes, it's certainly plausible, but not inevitable. $\endgroup$ – Werrf Jan 17 '17 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer, and you're right – I'm not asking for a definite answer on what would happen, but whether it's plausible that it would end this way. $\endgroup$ – Timst Jan 17 '17 at 22:09
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    $\begingroup$ Not to mention languages evolve and die out. Hieroglyphics, anyone? $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jan 18 '17 at 12:31
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    $\begingroup$ @nzaman: don't forget that the heiroglyphs would possibly still be indecipherable today if it weren't for the fortuitous discovery of a trilingual artifact, the Rosetta Stone. The loss or destruction of that stone would probably have set back our understanding of Ancient Egypt by a long way (yes yes, there were the Decrees of Canopus and Memphis, but still - the point is, we're relying on the convenient existence of just a few artifacts, in order to unlock a whole culture: it leaves a lot of scope for failure). $\endgroup$ – flith Jan 18 '17 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ That's one of the plot lines of "dragon riders of pern" $\endgroup$ – Matrim Cauthon Jan 19 '17 at 10:18
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It's possible, but it requires a trip through illiterate barbarity lasting centuries. This means that they cannot forget only about Earth: they need to forget everything, writing, math, engineering, science. For all practical purposes they will be an independent civilization, having to re-invent almost everything from scratch.

The ancient Egyptians wrote all sorts of things on papyrus and carved very many inscriptions on stones, some of which are breath-takingly huge. Nevertheless, by the 8th century (the time of Charlemagne and Harun Al-Rashid), about 1100 years after the Greek conquest of Egypt their descendants had completely forgotten everything about the glory and the power of Ancient Egypt; they could not read the inscriptions, they had no idea who had built the mighty pyramids and the abandoned temples; not one single name of a pharaoh survived.

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    $\begingroup$ But the world had not completely forgotten about ancient Egypt: there were mentions in Greek writings that were preserved by Rome, and Greece & Rome were remembered among the literate. (And not so literate: consider how many of Shakespeare's plays, intended for a common audience, make reference to, or are set in, Greece & Rome.) And Troy: though tales were preserved, they were believed to be mythical until the actual ruins were discovered. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jan 17 '17 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf: Yes, the world had not forgotten, but the Egyptians did. In the terms of the question, there is no doubt that somewhere some people still remember Earth, but it is entirely possible that one civilization will forget. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 17 '17 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ Forgetting individual names or how to read heiroglyphs isn't the same as forgetting everything or a thing's existence... for an obvious counter example, Coptic Christians in Egypt still had many references to ancient Egypt in the Bible throughout the time period you mention. $\endgroup$ – Nathan Jan 18 '17 at 1:42
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf Actually, the world had forgotten by that time. The Arabs were never interested in Greek history, and the Europeans had not gotten a copy of Herodotus or Aristotle by the 8th century. The only people who could read about ancient Egypt (more than the stories of Joseph and Moses) were a few Greek librarians and monks. Yes, the world had effectively forgotten. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Jan 18 '17 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ That is what is meant by forgetting: forgetting the history, the art, the religion, the science. What exactly does the Bible say about Egypt? It is a rich country, the river Nile runs through it, and its ruler is called Pharaoh. Nothing more. Obviously, everybody knew where Egypt was, and everybody knew about the Nile. It is a very large river, hard to miss. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 18 '17 at 1:51
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Ancient records without evidence are treated as myth

Imagine we have ancient records handed down from two thousand years ago stating that humans arrived on Earth from this ancient, beautiful paradise filled with fantastic creatures and places we've never seen. Nowhere can you find any evidence for this place. Would you believe it?

Digital records might last a long time, but digital standards are fleeting

How long will the original records last in a readable format? Not long, I'd think. Some people will try and preserve the old records but, over time, they'll get lost and mixed up with fictional sources. I don't think that you can rely on data getting passed on readable and unaltered for a long time.

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    $\begingroup$ Now, that's a plot - "... we have discovered records of the lost civilization of Eartheans, unfortunately it's written in something called Word 2016. Hence, most scientists reject hypothesis that their home was a fabled planet Earth and instead argue that they lived on the other side of Olympus Mons, as can be seen from references to 'Mount Olympos" and "Olympic games" in oral history...." $\endgroup$ – Edheldil Jan 18 '17 at 15:21
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    $\begingroup$ "Ancient records without evidence are treated as myth" - and on the flip side, lots of ancient myths are treated as fact by vast swaths of the population. $\endgroup$ – Scott Whitlock Jan 18 '17 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ Digital standards aren't THAT fleeting. We've had ASCII since the 60's, pretty much the start of computer history. Most formats in use are backwards compatible (ANSI then UTF-8), so it stands to reason that unless they had to start from scratch they would keep it around in one form or another. Most textual formats are at least partially readable in plain text. HTML, RTF, (maybe old word?) are all just text with markup. Its likely that some description of more complex formats would be written in simpler formats that would be understood with text. $\endgroup$ – Programmdude Jan 19 '17 at 3:59
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    $\begingroup$ ASCII might still be around, sure, now: how are you going to get the data off that platter? $\endgroup$ – Jack Aidley Jan 19 '17 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ Ancient records without evidence are treated as myth, but they would at least have plenty of evidence that they didn't originate on their planet - either the planet had native life which is very different from ours, or they would transplant all life there according to utility, which would be a rather obvious hint for an external origin. Though of course, it doesn't exclude supernatural explanations and myths about how exactly that came about and whence :) "The Ancient Cup'n Smi brought stone peoples on the grand Skyboat and gave them warmth and the seeds of life..." $\endgroup$ – Luaan Jan 19 '17 at 9:11
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We didn't forget about Rome or the Fertile Crescent, but we largely forgot about Africa. The dividing line is essentially when we started having cities to live in and keeping history in some form.

What this tells us is so long as an they live in a city and keep a history of some sort they'll remember Earth in some way. Maybe they won't know it as Earth or think its real after a few generations, but it will turn up as a common myth with a derivitive names that can be tracked back to Earth or Home or Sol... It would be a celestial place or a place across the sea, based on the flair of the person telling the stories.

If civilization breaks down any further Earth might be lost, but it is very unlikely because even then the survivors would always be talking about how Earth is going to save us and it would be passed down as Earth is a god or redeemer or christlike figure that would get passed down without effort. Asteroids might even come to be called "earthships" because so many would look up and ask that question and people would say something like they bring great hope, but leave in sadness.

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    $\begingroup$ Even if modern technology is maintained ... how many people today refuse to believe that men ever walked on the moon? To counter the conspiracy theorists, scientists can shine a laser at the corner-cube reflector we put on the moon and observe the reflection. But Earth, invisible even to scientists, orbiting a star in the night sky, with no starship or other concrete "proof" to point at? Fact to legend to forgotten well inside a couple of milennia, I'd guess. $\endgroup$ – nigel222 Jan 18 '17 at 16:08
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I certainly think this is possible. It entirely depends on how bad things become and the situation of the colony throughout the generations.

There was parallel I was thinking after reading Orwell's 1984 (no spoilers here). One string of events I can imagine:

  • Elites gain control over everything after brutal war. A strict totalitarian regime.
  • People forget how to read/write in whole. Perhaps 10-20% literal, mainly by Elites and their lackies.
  • Science is forsaken for dogma to maintain power over the common man
  • Plague happens and it happens only the common man's genome was diverse enough to remain intact.

This could be the recipe for Earth to be lost to legendary stories and Sol may just be another star in a constellation.

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No. These humans are clever.

When populating a new corner of the universe, one's origins become extremely important.

Firstly, these marooned humans arrived with a full body of knowledge. Chances are, amongst them, lie; scientists, historians, mathematicians, astronomers, etc. One of the first jobs to take care of, post disaster, would be to work out planet Earth's time - relevant to their local. Additionally, what area of the night-sky does planet Earth reside? They'll need to record this.

Let's assume all monitoring equipment was destroyed in the disaster. Perhaps their spaceships, in which they lived, were lost - including all of their technology within. Naturally, these humans would start to build structures from scratch. First homes, next schools - dedicated to passing on crucial information. Frameworks would reinforce peaceful upkeep within society. Many lessons from back home would apply here. Although, they'll need to be wise when it comes to preserving their roots.

Sure, most of their tech was wiped out in the catastrophe. But how about their personal belongings? Were individuals left with; id cards, passports, photos from planet Earth? Perhaps fossilised life within key-rings, unique to Earth and used as a reminder of back home. A central museum would be a great location to store these kinds of items.

Evidence is the most important value these humans hold. They'll decide to apply rationality to their existence wherever they see fit. One of their most crucial segments of evidence can actually be found within them. Their genetic code. There are no signs of human evolution on this strange, yet habitable, planet.

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  • $\begingroup$ I hope you mean astronomers, not astrologists. $\endgroup$ – Paul Johnson Jan 21 '17 at 14:41
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Yes, and it doesn't even take that much of a disaster. Take the best case scenario - a computer virus wipes out all preexisting records, but technology otherwise continues to work. Everybody immediately writes down what they can remember.

The colony has been established for a while, so none of the colonists are former starship crew. Nobody knows how a warp drive works beyond crude analogies like "a chariot pulled across the sky by a captive star". Nobody needs to know the precise location of Earth. Ordinary people might point out a particular star to their kids, but that doesn't happen if it is only visible from the other side of the planet.

None of the colonists have any personal experience of earth, just the very brief overview they got in school, which doesn't go into any depth and probably misrepresents the facts anyway. Maybe Earth was a dystopian hellhole that the colonists were escaping, maybe it was a paradise with a duty to colonize the galaxy. Hardly any of them bothered to look up actual facts. There's probably also a conspiracy theorist or two who believe that Earth never existed despite all evidence to the contrary. But that evidence is gone, and all these people have equal power to record their version of history.

Then a few hundred years down the line someone connects a description of Earth as paradise with a guy in the same set of records talking about the afterlife as paradise, and you have solid evidence that the whole lot is just a religious myth.

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Werrf Makes a valid point that if they lose most technology or it appears that they are struggling to survive rather than living comfortably and just lost their walkie-talkies, they will be less likely to be focused on preserving something like we are from earth and more concerned about how do we live. OP said that the remaining humans survived a disaster of some form. It can be implied that some or maybe even many humans were killed as he states remaining humans AFTER the disaster event, and he stated that it destroyed most of their technology, and killed off communication. That said though, this doesn't mean after a millennia++ of time, the civilization wouldn't have created their own technology and through that dug up their past.

Whether or not paper documents or other stored data would be A) preserved, and B) functional to the new technology is another story. Before I continue, I would like to point out that I am bringing up ideas that have been tossed around and being used for the sake of an applicable argument and may not reflect personal belief. We question whether something like the pyramids were really created by the Egyptians because of the advanced level of thinking or other historical civilizations. There are groups of people that say, these ancient cities are just too advanced for their time, some "outside" influence had to play a factor. What if we on earth might be living the situation you described but lack the technology to really dig deeper into the past yet?

It is entirely possible that even if the stories are recorded, and physical evidence is presented (say a part of a ship with the letters "EARTH" has been found) due to it being discovered thousands of years later, it is possible that the researchers who dug it up attributed the myths and legends of Earth to this sign. They may interpret this finding to someone who saw an ancient sign and wanted to write up a story about where they came from.

So, is it POSSIBLE for them to forget they are from Earth? my answer is yes. Just depends on where you want to take the story and how you present the sequence of events from them losing contact to modern day.

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It is somewhat off topic but just to make a point, in Arabic language the word for human "insaan" comes from the root word meaning "to forget". Human beings over time forget everything. Something can only be preserved if it is passed from one generation to another without being corrupted which is not trivial.

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  • $\begingroup$ to follow that up though without turning this into a religious debate, it was believed for thousands of years about the greek gods which then were changed into roman gods and so on and so forth as their story was told throughout history. For arguments sake, we proved they don't exist due to no evidence of existence outside of the stories passed down. Even if we found hard evidence (say Christianity and religious artifacts found) people are still skeptical of actual existence even though stories have been provided and physical evidence. $\endgroup$ – ggiaquin16 Jan 17 '17 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ These stories have an origin, but there are logical complications e.g a God that created the universe looks like the Greek people and not like the Africans or Chinese. Your argument does not completely compare with the question but I see your point. $\endgroup$ – quantum231 Jan 17 '17 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ @ggiaquin: When were the Greek/Roman gods proved not to exist? It's rather that public expressions of belief in them were, for many centuries, rather violently suppressed. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jan 18 '17 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ There was a time when humans did not exist in Greece. Do you understand what I mean now? These gods are supposed to live on mt Olympus, but once this name also did not exist. $\endgroup$ – quantum231 Jan 18 '17 at 15:27
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Your question implies that the tech level never falls.

WHERE THE COMMUNICATION IS CUT OFF MATTERS

The disaster that cuts off communication can be on Earth, not on Planet X. In fact, I would make that so, because if the disaster happens on Planet X's end, there will be impetus to rebuild those lines of communication. Should it happen on Planet X, you'll have to have a reason for them not to rebuild. On Earth, it might not be a priority-- but for the colonists, it would be--this is where they are from, and for Earthers, it might be a big resource sink when they have enough problems to deal with at home.

It might not even be any kind of disaster on either end, but rather that one of the relays in space needed to communicate had a malfunction or was hit by an asteroid or space debris--and it's too far for either planet to replace or repair.

ALL IT TAKES IS ONE WORLDWIDE REGIME

Lots of answers on here talk about how you'd need a Dark Age in which knowledge is lost, but that's not actually necessary.

Things that happened 2,000 years ago become more lore than fact. They might know their ancestors came from elsewhere, but might not know much about Earth.

Also, lots of this depends on societal structure. Were these people more concerned with building their own history and leaving earth behind? Could there be an age in history where this was true? After all, they were abandoned by Earth. Just one hundred year period of "book burning" could reduce the likelihood of Earth knowledge.

If people are angry about Earth "abandoning" them, that is, no longer communicating, the people on Planet X may, in a generation, want to destroy all remnants of Earth. The regime might see Earth as the source of all societal ills, and want to build a new utopia, which they may believe can only be done by erasing all notions of the Earth that they came from.

Furthermore, because this society could have been founded WITH the idea that they would be building a better world, so there could already be a faction which will eagerly use the communication cut off as an excuse not to look back. There may be some that reverently keep evidence of Earth-That-Was, but the majority can forget.

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I think that through oral tradition, legends and stories about sol and the Earth would still exist.

At some point the legends might be so distorted and far from reality that you might consider that it s equivalent to having forgotten about Earth.

But I m pretty sure that stories about the first group of men and women, coming from the stars will somehow survive.

Some people will say that it s a myth, some people will still believe those legends.

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Yes, they will forget, unless they have a reason to remember. Read: religion.

In their answers, aember and fred touched on this, but I would like to elaborate:

The assumptions in your question are largely correct. The descendants have enough to handle themselves and after a few generations they have no specific reason to maintain memories about Earth.
Look at it this way: who will remember you in 100 years time? (sorry)

However, stories about Earth will last longer than actual memories. They will distort and may turn into legends. And legends persist: they appeal to people for emotional/moral reasons.
Religion is only a small step further, it is after all largely stories with morals. Just look at our own history to see how often religious stories have been used to maintain the power status of an elite.

I'm not saying a religion will develop embedding Earth stories, but it is a possible scenario, assuming 'human nature' does not change substantially.

(BTW This later question How long would it take for a real event to turn into a myth? is a nice follow-up if you follow this train of thought)

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Whether that can happen or not is going depend heavily on what happens after they leave earth. If they in the process cut off all contact with the mother, eventually memories of earth will fade and turn into mythology. If they leave earth under some religious or political pressure to leave, they may well start out thinking of earth as an evil, corrupt, place with everything children are taught being shaped by that vision.

If they maintain contact with earth, diplomatic relations, trade, travel back and forth, memories will be retained much longer and more accurate (though they probably still will turn towards some kind of rose coloured glass image of a far more perfect and desirable place than it really is).

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There's a book by a Spanish author (Jordi Sierra i Fabra) titled "A place called earth" that addresses a similar scenario: during the investigation of the "death" of a robot a human stumbles across the re-discovery of planet Earth which the civilization had long forgotten.

It's actually a trilogy. It doesn't seem to be published in English though.

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  • $\begingroup$ <Spoiler>Anne McCafferey's Dragonriders of Pern series also tells a similar story. $\endgroup$ – Bill Michell Jan 18 '17 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @BillMichell I thought that they went there to live more relaxing lives, avoid the hustle and bustle of modern life, etc. and they don't have any laser weapons, tools, etc. because they don't have anything to export because of relative lack of resources. But then I have only read one of the books. $\endgroup$ – Mark Gardner Jan 21 '17 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkGardner Of course. Silly me. You are definitely correct. $\endgroup$ – Bill Michell Jan 23 '17 at 17:35
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I guess it depends exactly what you mean by "forget". My own family immigrated from Europe to America just 4 generations ago (in the 1870's). I know this from oral and written history, but it is not really relevant to my every-day life. In other words, I'm aware of it, but I don't think about it unless I'm with relatives and the conversation turns toward that topic. Essentially, I've "forgotten" about my family origins in that sense.

However, as a matter of historicity, the written documents will likely stay in my family in perpetuity. Every generation seems to have at least one member who is interested in genealogy. I think it would likely be similar in your fictional group. Most people would get on with their day-to-day lives, not really caring about Earth anymore. But the history buffs in the group would keep the memory alive, and probably ensure that it be taught to children after schools get established. I think comparisons to Earth's ancient history are not really applicable, because we're better at keeping records now than we were thousands of years ago.

In short, people will remember it the same way we remember things like the American Revolution today.

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A lot has been said already. One interesting example from Fiction is missing however.

SPOILER ALERT!

In the later books of Asimov's Foundation Saga, it is rediscovered that Humanity comes from earth, a couple millenia back. In the Series, Earth is nearly completely forgotten - no mention is made before those last books. And that is without any sudden catastrophe, Earth just became uninhabitable. So yes, it can be expected that Earth would be forgotten or just end up as a very arcane Myth.

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Yes they will and it will not take long. Only the first generation would remember earth from their own memories. Everyone that is born after the disaster will have to relay on what they said or whatever information is recorded.

After (or before) the death of the last some from earth. The leaders of the colony will carry on their earth given mission and society. Those not in power but wanting to be will insinuate that the leaders are lying and the data is wrong. If the manage to take power the record will change. Even if they don't they could destroy some recorded data.

Even with modern computer more times information is copied more corrupt it becomes. So record data is not reliable.

Oral history is even worse.

Could we forget about Earth though? Yes why not. Look how quickly children of emigrates change and forget their home country ways.

If their was not communication between UK and us. Would today's USA people speak of coming from UK?

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    $\begingroup$ "Even with modern computer more times information is copied more corrupt it becomes." Not true. Digital data has the advantage that it can be copied an arbitrary number of times, and be verified to confirm that it is an exact copy of the original. If it can be read at all, the data that has been read can be written out to some other location in the same way as if it were brand new. There are even file systems that do this automatically for all data that is accessed; think ZFS, Btrfs, ReFS. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jan 18 '17 at 9:17
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It also depends on whether the remaining humans (after the catastrophe that led to the communication loss) WANT to remember the original Earth.

In Marion Zimmer Bradleys "Darkover" series, the remaining humans decided to destroy the remains of their ship and all information on it, as to not create a "temple" of sorts, where everything that they lost is stored (e.g. information, that is of no use on the new planet).

Since it was obvious, that there was no chance of returning or re-establishing contact within the next generations, they wanted a fresh start with a society, which would not always look back to what they could not have.

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Stories that are retold time and time again evolve, which can be seen even with simple things that are written down, such as prayers.

So Earth wouldn't be exactly forgotten, but over time the story would change so much that it may be hard to recognize it's the same story. For example it may become a myth about a realm of the gods which sent some gods to create humans on the new planet. Which might later change to a single god that created the planet and then the humans.

That is unless a written record is preserved (e.g. bible), knowledge of the written record is culturally relevant (e.g. bible), and people are still able to correctly interpret the language and cultural background from the time the record was written (no example exists, sorry).

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If information about Earth is passed down by word of mouth, it will only be possible to pass on information that is understood by the population. So the basic idea of "we came from a place called Earth that circled another star" might survive, but stories of what Earth was like will doubtless be heavily corrupted into stories that align with the current culture.

An example of this process can be seen in the "cargo cults" in the Pacific. Native islanders saw westerners with seemingly inexhaustible goods ("cargo"), and tried to fit what they saw into their own cultural framework. The result was a complex mix of observed facts and local beliefs, with several common tropes appearing in different cults. These included using western rituals and symbols, such as military parades, crosses, and replicas of technological artefacts made of local materials. Some cults included a belief that westerners had stolen the cargo and hence that the right actions would lead to its return.

So in this scenario we would expect to see Earth become a mythical place of flying wizards who could shoot deadly lightning bolts from their hands and conjour up wealth by incantations. This myth would become incorporated into religious practices, with religious tropes such as millenarianism and judgement of dead souls being cast into this framework. Religious and political leaders will attempt to claim the support of Earth, and promise that the riches and powers of Earth will be available to themselves and their followers. Any surviving artefacts will attain religious relic status, and there will no doubt be a brisk trade in fakes.

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As many have said, a lot depends on your definition of "forgetting".
Since a lot has been said i will focus on a single aspect:

Information without context is meaningless.

Your survivors will have at least a basic understanding about the importance of record-keeping for future generations, so it seems safe to assume that they will write things down. As soon as ever possible, people will start educating children, because they know about the value of education. They will also teach history.

But all this is just information, with a marginal context at best.

We know a lot about ancient egypt, don't we? The guys who built those pointy skyscrapers in the desert? With the funny gods?
What was it like to be egyptian 5000 years ago?

Let's try something simpler. Do you remember what life was like before the internet? There's a bunch of people on here who cannot, because they weren't born then.
What was it like to be a woman 100 years ago? You had basically no rights. First, you were de-facto-property of your father (not your parents, mind you), then you married, and became the de-facto-property of your husband. Rape was not really a crime, especially when you were raped by your husband: he had the right to do that! Voting? Don't be silly! Having a bank account? As a woman? You must be kidding! And don't get me started on contraceptives, family planning or such.
You would give birth to many children, on average one per year, but the majority of them will die after a few weeks. Hygiene was only just being invented, so those women who had very progressive doctors and midwifes had an above average chance to survive childbirth. Antibiotics were only just becoming a thing, but obviously not for the common people.
Oh, and the toilet was most likely a wooden outhouse in the backyard, while water was fetched from the well. By the way, your life expectancy was somewhere between 40 and 50 years, which was a great progress already. Around the year 1600 A.D the average life expectancy was 20 years (but to be fair, since most people didn't live to have their first birthday celebrated, that alters statistics a bit).

To get to the point: Although we have enormous data available about the time 100 years ago, we have no idea what it was like to live at the time. And we cannot even begin to understand what life was like 2000 years ago.

So, if by "forgetting" you mean "not knowing anything about it", i guess the answer is no.
But if you mean having some idea about what living on earth was like, i am sure this will be forgotten. And it would be even without any catastrophe.

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