Jump to content

How Much Knowledge Is Too Much?


Recommended Posts

Thanks for your reply. I don't understand it yet.

 

Are you proposing that MAD will prevent future wars? If this, I would point out that this theory depends on sanity being consistently maintained from now on. Is a species that builds and maintains thousands of nuclear weapons capable of consistent sanity? Where is the evidence of consistent sanity in human history?

 

Or are you proposing that we will mutually destroy each other? Sadly, this seems more plausible, but I don't take it as a given. My proposal is that the world is fundamentally changing, and if we are willing to fundamentally change as well, we've got a shot.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 127
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Based on this comment, I will presume you have no idea how so many countless of the most profound advances we've experienced resulted from accidents. Research focused on specific benefits tends to mi

I'm worried we're not spending enough money in science.

The only way we can make a wise decision about anything is if it is an INFORMED decision. That means we need to understand what actually happens in the universe and the relationships involved.   Wit

Posted Images

A quick summary..

 

1) There's a well documented pattern of 5,000 years of wars fought with ever more powerful weapons.

 

2) There is no credible theory that can demonstrate that this pattern has permanently ended.

 

3) If the pattern of wars fought with ever more powerful weapons has not permanently ended, it's only a matter of time until the accomplishments of science are swept aside, at the hand of the tools that science has given us.

 

In order to defeat this thesis you are going to have to demonstrate why the cycle of sanity/insanity which has existed since the beginning of recorded human history is now over.

 

 

To show this thesis has merit you will have to show how progress can be anything but what it is. How can scientific discovery be metered out by deciding how dangerous it is? Should Einstein's theory of relativity been censored because it showed matter can be turned into energy? Who makes that determination? Should germ theory be banned because of biological weapons? How is the idea that progress should be halted in any area that might be used as weapons even plausible?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you proposing that MAD will prevent future wars? If this, I would point out that this theory depends on sanity being consistently maintained from now on. Is a species that builds and maintains thousands of nuclear weapons capable of consistent sanity? Where is the evidence of consistent sanity in human history?

Individuals may lose their sanity, but I think that large state actors will take the certain knowledge of complete annihilation and realize they had perhaps not press the big red button.

 

I also wonder what would be the societal reaction if some new superweapon came under development. I think the disarmament folks would have a very strong reaction.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your reply Moontanman,

 

To show this thesis has merit you will have to show how progress can be anything but what it is. How can scientific discovery be metered out by deciding how dangerous it is? Should Einstein's theory of relativity been censored because it showed matter can be turned into energy? Who makes that determination? Should germ theory be banned because of biological weapons? How is the idea that progress should be halted in any area that might be used as weapons even plausible?

 

These are all excellent questions, and I assure you I don't have all the excellent answers. What I'm arguing for is a serious and thoughtful culture wide conversation, one that faces the reality squarely.

 

There are places we can start.

 

The fundamental problem is that we are half nuts half of the time. Thus, we can't be trusted with unlimited power.

 

So, as example, one place to start might be to stop spending billions on projects like the Higgs with no clearly defined benefit, and reinvest the money in better understanding our minds.

 

We are the problem, the weak link. If that problem can be resolved, then we are free to proceed with the rest of the projects. Yes, it sounds very ambitious, but then so is the discovery of the Higgs and a thousand other things we're working on.

 

I'm sorry that I don't have a better answer to your question. The best I have is the proposal that our "more is better" relationship with knowledge is outdated. It was a great idea for a very long time, so the group consensus is very understandable. But, thanks to "more is better" things are changing ever more rapidly and we need to adapt, and be quick about it.

 

Individuals may lose their sanity, but I think that large state actors will take the certain knowledge of complete annihilation and realize they had perhaps not press the big red button.

 

Large state actors are individuals. Some of them think they are very clever, and can outwit the other guy, and pull off a savvy scheme. All the people involved on both sides in the Cuban Missile Crisis were very bright, and they came real close to blowing up the whole show. Imagine that Nixon had won that razor thin 1960 election. Would we still be here to have this conversation? There was a strong sentiment even in the Kennedy cabinet that the U.S. should attack the missiles in Cuba.

 

My point is that we can play Russian roulette successfully for 5 chambers, but sooner or later the loaded chamber comes up. Your theory can and will work many times, but it only needs to fail once, and it's game over. No more science for you.

 

I also wonder what would be the societal reaction if some new superweapon came under development. I think the disarmament folks would have a very strong reaction.

 

They have been lulled to sleep by fantasy progress. The number of nukes is substantially down, and that's good, but there's still plenty left to do the job. Pakistan and India could have a huge impact, all on their own, with no help from anybody.

 

The point here is not pointless gloom and doom, but just to face the equation squarely. More is better in the current context equals the end of science sooner or later. If we love science, we should roll up our sleeves and fix that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
They have been lulled to sleep by fantasy progress. The number of nukes is substantially down, and that's good, but there's still plenty left to do the job. Pakistan and India could have a huge impact, all on their own, with no help from anybody.

But the question is about new weapons, not preexisting ones. If some national laboratory were to announce "We've discovered a new principle of physics and intend to spend $10 billion on turning it into a superweapon capable of incinerating half the planet in one shot," don't you think people would object?

 

We have the recent example of flu research, where biologists managed to make a much more contagious version of the avian flu virus. The research was voluntarily suppressed and went through various review committees before it could be released. One would imagine that directly weaponizable research would not see the light of day.

 

You might argue that some insane person or group might try to use science to build a superweapon, but as they are by definition insane, there's not much we can do to stop them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

typist,

 

OK. I see your point. But the other side of the coin during the 5000 years of more and more deadly conflicts, is the stronger and stronger periods of peace and cooperation between the wars.

 

Look at the internet and the European Union, and the way the world is bound together by commerce and mutual interdependency.

Medical advances are shared worldwide. Better crops and processes benefit many. Manufacturing advances in material science and robotics have improved the quality of life, and the wealth of billions.

 

For just a few hundred dollars, that an average person can make in less than a month, a device can be purchased that will connect them to the world's knowledge. Too much knowledge? Perhaps. But which would you rather, that some few of us pursue a doctorate and lay the groundwork for advancement on all fronts, or that everyone should remain ignorant.

 

Look at Wiki. Sharing knowledge. Wonderful contributors. For you and me to learn from. Sure its moving fast. There are books written on topics I didn't even know existed till I read the titles (and even then had little clue what the topic was.)

 

Point being, that there is plenty of evidence of sanity, and consideration of others, and evidence that millions, if not billions are hard at work already, "doing the right thing".

 

We need not feel we each are the only one on Earth that can use good judgement. There are billions who can and do.

 

And we need not fear our own bad judgements will stand for very long. There will be someone, to put us back on course.

 

Not that we don't need to be mindful of dangers and unintended consequences, but that most people are likely to avoid danger and seek to moderate the negative effects of their activities.

 

The fact that there are more people on Earth, living free, contented lives, than there were 5000 years ago, puts a little crimp in your thesis. At each technological advance along the way, your thesis could have been voiced. Each advance could have signaled the demise of our race. Except none of them did. We obviously have something else going for us. And the half the time, that we are sane wins out over the half the time we are not. If this were not true, we would have all been killed by rocks, as soon as we learned how to throw.

 

Regards, TAR2

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys, thanks again for playing along. For the sake of brevity, I'll compress my reply instead of a point by point response. Perhaps this is a quote to work with...

 

The fact that there are more people on Earth, living free, contented lives, than there were 5000 years ago, puts a little crimp in your thesis. At each technological advance along the way, your thesis could have been voiced. Each advance could have signaled the demise of our race. Except none of them did.

 

The developments of early times didn't signal the end of civilization because the advances of those times simply didn't have the ability to do that. We could be as insane as we wanted, and then clean up the mess afterwards.

 

Your optimistic theory assumes there will always be a big untouched reserve component of civilization available to clean up the mess. While it seems unlikely every last human would be killed, it's not hard to imagine civilization being knocked back to the point where the focus was reduced to mere survival, as it is already for approximately a billion people. Consider the poor of today. They have no time for science, as they need to focus on the next meal. That could be the future for centuries to come.

 

Let's hear from an eminent scientist, Stephen Hawking...

 

http://www.dailymail...en-Hawking.html

 

 

'I see great danger for the human race,' he said. 'There have been a number of times in the past when survival has been a question of touch and go.

'The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 is one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future. We shall need great care and judgment to negotiate them all successfully.

 

I saw him interviewed on TV, and he said that while the chance of a catastrophe in any one year is quite low, when you start adding up the years the odds rise to near certainty. I agree with him.

 

Hawking defines the job as surviving for the next two centuries, and then migrating off the planet. Presumably, once we're dispersed throughout the heavens we won't be able to exterminate ourselves totally. This is where I disagree.

 

We are the problem. So why don't we fix the problem? While Hawking claims to be optimistic, he seems to completely dismiss the idea that we have the ability to change ourselves. He seems content to treat symptoms, instead of the source of the problem.

 

What do you think of these choices?

 

1) We find a way to fix ourselves, or...

 

2) We find a way to limit our power, or...

 

3) We make peace with rolling the dice, and eventually losing.

Edited by Typist
Link to post
Share on other sites

Typist,

 

Not sure I agree that we are broken. We are mortal, and frail, sure. But we have been making "human culture" work for quite a while. We probably do not have a way to become immortal and bullet proof. Its a shame, but that appears to be the way it is.

 

Seems better to me, to keep making the good judgements, for those around us, and those that will survive us. Death will come to the individual, but we seem to have taken that into consideration, and seem to have put some of our efforts into a greater good.

 

No reason to stop doing that. And no reason to give up hope.

 

Regards, TAR2

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys, thanks again for playing along. For the sake of brevity, I'll compress my reply instead of a point by point response. Perhaps this is a quote to work with...

 

 

 

The developments of early times didn't signal the end of civilization because the advances of those times simply didn't have the ability to do that. We could be as insane as we wanted, and then clean up the mess afterwards.

 

Your optimistic theory assumes there will always be a big untouched reserve component of civilization available to clean up the mess. While it seems unlikely every last human would be killed, it's not hard to imagine civilization being knocked back to the point where the focus was reduced to mere survival, as it is already for approximately a billion people. Consider the poor of today. They have no time for science, as they need to focus on the next meal. That could be the future for centuries to come.

 

Let's hear from an eminent scientist, Stephen Hawking...

 

http://www.dailymail...en-Hawking.html

 

 

 

 

I saw him interviewed on TV, and he said that while the chance of a catastrophe in any one year is quite low, when you start adding up the years the odds rise to near certainty. I agree with him.

 

Hawking defines the job as surviving for the next two centuries, and then migrating off the planet. Presumably, once we're dispersed throughout the heavens we won't be able to exterminate ourselves totally. This is where I disagree.

 

We are the problem. So why don't we fix the problem? While Hawking claims to be optimistic, he seems to completely dismiss the idea that we have the ability to change ourselves. He seems content to treat symptoms, instead of the source of the problem.

 

What do you think of these choices?

 

1) We find a way to fix ourselves, or...

 

2) We find a way to limit our power, or...

 

3) We make peace with rolling the dice, and eventually losing.

 

We are social animals and war in general is a result of ignorance not an excess of knowledge, so in what way are we the problem? What is it you think needs fixing about ourselves?

 

When, with science, we have found and understood what you think needs fixing, do you intend to force this fix on people?

 

The metaphorical dice you talk of isn’t always ours to roll, previous extinction events had nothing to do with us and without science we are certainly unable to defend ourselves from future such events.

 

Without a working knowledge of the future how can you possibly know we will lose?

 

The only way to unlearn what is known is to undergo the very disaster you seek to avoid and effectively regress to the Stone Age, problem solved.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again,

 

Not sure I agree that we are broken. We are mortal, and frail, sure. But we have been making "human culture" work for quite a while.

 

Yes, not broken, mortal and frail, agreed. I would compare us to teenagers. Most teenagers get through all the mistakes involved with being young, and go on to bigger and better things. But a few don't make it. Even though the odds are in favor of making it, failure still happens.

 

The problem for humanity is that the cost of the occasional failure is enhanced by technology, just as everything else is enhanced. We can now fail on a much larger scale. And history is not going to stop. Einstein didn't intend to create the bomb, but we got it anyway. That process is still unfolding. The bomb isn't the end of the challenge, it's the beginning.

 

If we think we are sensible and will stop before creating even worse weapons, we should ask, why did we create thousands of nukes? That happened over just my lifetime, not long ago and far away.

 

No reason to stop doing that. And no reason to give up hope.

 

I'm not giving up hope. I see critics of this thesis as giving up hope. Like Hawking, they have given up hope on our ability to address the source of the problem, us.

 

You guys realize you are debating Stephen Hawking too, not just some random forum blowhard like me, right?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw him interviewed on TV, and he said that while the chance of a catastrophe in any one year is quite low, when you start adding up the years the odds rise to near certainty. I agree with him.

 

This is true of any probabilistic event. The chance of the Earth being struck by a GRB at any given time is very low, but if you add in enough time to the mix, it is almost guaranteed to occur. Should we therefore cower in fear of the future, or accept that there's not much we can do about pure, dumb luck, and move on with our lives?

 

And I do understand the differnce - in your example, we do have some measure of control over our governance of our species fate - but that means that we need to approach the situation from an ethical standpoint, and not with a knee-jerk reaction that will hamstring the human race's ability to move forward.

 

Hawking defines the job as surviving for the next two centuries, and then migrating off the planet. Presumably, once we're dispersed throughout the heavens we won't be able to exterminate ourselves totally. This is where I disagree.

Nothing is impossible, but it will certainly make the task orders of magnitude higher. On the other hand, it does avoid the "all your eggs in one basket" problem we have now.

 

We are the problem. So why don't we fix the problem? While Hawking claims to be optimistic, he seems to completely dismiss the idea that we have the ability to change ourselves. He seems content to treat symptoms, instead of the source of the problem.

 

What do you think of these choices?

 

1) We find a way to fix ourselves, or...

 

2) We find a way to limit our power, or...

 

3) We make peace with rolling the dice, and eventually losing.

 

Option 3 is really the only choice. Even if we choose one of your other options, we are still also picking option 3 because we are then assuming that whatever comes next will be survivable. If we choose option 1 we're making the assumption that the cure isn't worse than the disease. Option 2 assumes we won't need expanded power in the future to avoid some cataclysmic event (asteroid impact anyone?). Option 3 has worked out fairly well for us so far, I see no real need to change at this point.

Link to post
Share on other sites
And I do understand the differnce - in your example, we do have some measure of control over our governance of our species fate - but that means that we need to approach the situation from an ethical standpoint, and not with a knee-jerk reaction that will hamstring the human race's ability to move forward.

 

I'm not proposing that we not move forward. I'm proposing we move forward in a particular direction, identify the source of the problem and address it.

 

If we insist that we must remain unchanged, the source of the problem is our "more is better" philosophy of knowledge. If we insist that our philosophy of knowledge must remain unchanged, then we are the source of the problem. We could approach it from either direction.

 

My proposal is that we could have either, but not both. If we remain the same, and receive ever more power, sooner or later we'll make a fatal mistake with that power. Remember, it only takes one bad day. Thousands and thousands of days to come, and just one bad one will do the job.

 

If we choose option 1 we're making the assumption that the cure isn't worse than the disease.

 

It's surely possible the cure would be worse than the disease. A serious concern for sure.

 

On the other hand, I would ask us to observe that we are full of confidence when it comes to exploring the very fundamental qualities of nature, or migrating our entire civilization off the planet etc. Why do we usually assume changing ourselves for the better is impossible?

 

Option 3 has worked out fairly well for us so far, I see no real need to change at this point.

 

I apologize for harping on this, but this is not the past. It's 2012, not 1912. Even in 1912 we demonstrated we were capable of erasing an entire generation of European young men.

 

The times they are a-changing.... [insert harmonica solo here]

Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw him interviewed on TV, and he said that while the chance of a catastrophe in any one year is quite low, when you start adding up the years the odds rise to near certainty. I agree with him.

 

Hawking defines the job as surviving for the next two centuries, and then migrating off the planet. Presumably, once we're dispersed throughout the heavens we won't be able to exterminate ourselves totally. This is where I disagree.

 

You disagree before that, apparently. Hawking proposes moving ourselves off the planet, but we don't yet have the technology to do that, and you've killed basic research, remember? How can you be sure that a project like the LHC doesn't also develop some linchpin technology that is necessary for advanced space travel and survival?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not proposing that we not move forward. I'm proposing we move forward in a particular direction, identify the source of the problem and address it.

 

If we insist that we must remain unchanged, the source of the problem is our "more is better" philosophy of knowledge. If we insist that our philosophy of knowledge must remain unchanged, then we are the source of the problem. We could approach it from either direction.

 

My proposal is that we could have either, but not both. If we remain the same, and receive ever more power, sooner or later we'll make a fatal mistake with that power. Remember, it only takes one bad day. Thousands and thousands of days to come, and just one bad one will do the job.

So the question then becomes how do you identify "dangerous science"? And how do you prevent the inevitable "I don't like what evolution teaches so I am going to classify that as dangerous to stop funding and ban it" mentality that WILL erupt, because let's face it, humans are also very self-interested.

 

 

It's surely possible the cure would be worse than the disease. A serious concern for sure.

 

On the other hand, I would ask us to observe that we are full of confidence when it comes to exploring the very fundamental qualities of nature, or migrating our entire civilization off the planet etc. Why do we usually assume changing ourselves for the better is impossible?

I never said it was impossible. People change themselves for better and worse all the time. Changing the nature of the human species, however, is not quite the same as deciding to be more eco-friendly in your consumer choices.

 

I apologize for harping on this, but this is not the past. It's 2012, not 1912. Even in 1912 we demonstrated we were capable of erasing an entire generation of European young men.

 

The times they are a-changing.... [insert harmonica solo here]

 

How is that different from the Crusades exactly? As was pointed out to you before, the year really doesn't matter. Humans have been capable of massive destruction on a widespread scale since we figured out how to bash each other in the head with a club.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You disagree before that, apparently. Hawking proposes moving ourselves off the planet, but we don't yet have the technology to do that, and you've killed basic research, remember? How can you be sure that a project like the LHC doesn't also develop some linchpin technology that is necessary for advanced space travel and survival?

 

Redirect all research that isn't immediately pressing in to research of the human mind.

 

Some current research is pressing, global warming comes to mind. Discovering the Higgs and going to Mars etc can wait. They'll both still be there when we're ready.

 

My thesis is that if we don't do first things first, we'll never be ready, as we'll be dead or scrounging for bugs in the forest.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I apologize for harping on this, but this is not the past. It's 2012, not 1912. Even in 1912 we demonstrated we were capable of erasing an entire generation of European young men.

 

The times they are a-changing.... [insert harmonica solo here]

 

 

Do you really think that "we" as a society go to war as easily as we did 100 years ago? I grew up during the cold war era, I saw the political TV ads that showed a nuclear weapon explosion as the end result of voting for the "other" guy. Yes we have had some close calls but the idea that we are doomed to use those weapons or that their use would inevitably result in the destruction of our civilization.

 

The very research you deride is more likely to result in the preserving of our civilization than it's destruction. I think we have made vast improvements in our conflict resolution tactics. Perfect? No of course not but I no longer wake up in a sweat with the nuclear sword hanging over my head either...

 

If we are to survive it will take all the knowledge we can muster, suppression of knowledge is far more likely to result in our going out with a whimper than going out with a bang...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Changing the nature of the human species, however, is not quite the same as deciding to be more eco-friendly in your consumer choices.

 

I agree. Scientists thrive on big ambitious challenges, and I've offered them one, changing the nature of human beings.

 

The first problem we face is that instead of welcoming the challenge, every available argument will be offered as to why we shouldn't welcome the challenge. The heart of the problem is philosophical and political, not scientific.

 

Do you really think that "we" as a society go to war as easily as we did 100 years ago?

 

My thesis requires only one bad day. Just one.

 

I agree we are making progress of a sort. Progress isn't enough. In order to prevent that one bad day we need a permanent and perfect record of avoiding the one bad day.

 

Or, we need to be in a position where the one bad day can't bring down everything, as has been the case for a very long time.....

 

Up until the 1950s.

Edited by Typist
Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. Scientists thrive on big ambitious challenges, and I've offered them one, changing the nature of human beings.

 

Eugenics anyone?

 

The first problem we face is that instead of welcoming the challenge, every available argument will be offered as to why we shouldn't welcome the challenge. The heart of the problem is philosophical and political, not scientific.

 

No it is not, you are talking about changing the very nature of human beings, that is not philosophical or political and using science to do it smacks of eugenics..

 

My thesis requires only one bad day. Just one.

 

Horse feathers, we are no longer in danger of a massive world wide nuclear strike, you are strawmanning the problem.

 

I agree we are making progress of a sort. Progress isn't enough. In order to prevent that one bad day we need a permanent and perfect record of avoiding the one bad day.

 

We require knowledge to change the world more than we need to change the fundamental nature of humans...

 

Or, we need to be in a position where the one bad day can't bring down everything, as has been the case for a very long time.....

 

Up until the 1950s.

 

 

Again a strawman, that is not the case, the idea that one bomb used would unleash a world wide Holocaust is no longer valid, I see no chance of this happening and the idea that "one side" or another will unleash such a strike for some unknown reason is laughable...

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an important subject, and you guys are making good points. Let's not let the thread dissolve in to personal stuff, ok?

 

No it is not, you are talking about changing the very nature of human beings, that is not philosophical or political and using science to do it smacks of eugenics..

 

We attempt to change the nature of human beings all the time via law, drugs, religion, public dialogue etc.

 

Legal drugs are a massive technical attempt to alter psychology. Billions have been spent developing these drugs. All with the support of the public and scientific community.

 

Horse feathers, we are no longer in danger of a massive world wide nuclear strike, you are strawmanning the problem.

 

Please research how many nukes Pakistan and India have, and what the result of their use would be. That's a very realistic possibility, as Pakistan is usually careening along on the edge of chaos.

 

Again a strawman, that is not the case, the idea that one bomb used would unleash a world wide Holocaust is no longer valid, I see no chance of this happening and the idea that "one side" or another will unleash such a strike for some unknown reason is laughable...

 

This is an entirely reasonable and understandable thing to feel, but it depends on people using reason. If people always use reason, why did we have the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Redirect all research that isn't immediately pressing in to research of the human mind.

 

 

Not to be offensive, but this is patently ridiculous. Why would you have physicists, for example, researching the human mind? And you're not even discussing the physical brain, you're discussing the ephemeral consciousness - that's more the realm of psychologists and neurologists than physicists.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an important subject, and you guys are making good points. Let's not let the thread dissolve in to personal stuff, ok?

 

Personal stuff?

 

 

 

We attempt to change the nature of human beings all the time via law, drugs, religion, public dialogue etc.

 

Yes but these things do not change the very nature of humans and you can if you wish reject them...

 

Legal drugs are a massive technical attempt to alter psychology. Billions have been spent developing these drugs. All with the support of the public and scientific community.

 

Again they can be rejected

 

 

Please research how many nukes Pakistan and India have, and what the result of their use would be. That's a very realistic possibility, as Pakistan is usually careening along on the edge of chaos.

 

I will admit to this fly in the ointment but the fact they have not done so gives you some hope they do understand the consequences and not as blind to the reality as you or we fear.

 

 

This is an entirely reasonable and understandable thing to feel, but it depends on people using reason. If people always use reason, why did we have the Cuban Missile Crisis?

 

No one has claimed that we always use reason but even in that case we stared at the abyss and we blinked, we chose not to fight it out with nukes, mainly because even then there was a basic understanding of just how bad it would be for both sides and no clear winner would or could emerge..

Link to post
Share on other sites
Not to be offensive, but this is patently ridiculous.

 

You have 10 seconds to withdraw that comment or I will launch a full scale nuclear strike upon your home base. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6.... :)

 

See guys, it's happening already, right here on this little forum. Soon we'll be calling each other names, and then the mod will nuke us all. What's the logic of making characterizations of each other's remarks? There is none. But we, including me, are human. Yep, me too, I've been banned a number of times. Given that evidence, do you want me to have a nuke?

 

Imagine that all of us had a digital nuke that could blow up this entire forum. Very few of us would consider using it. But sooner or later, somebody would. Some poster, maybe even a quite intelligent one, would lose their cool, and push the button.

 

Why would you have physicists, for example, researching the human mind?

 

I wouldn't, and didn't propose that. I would take their funding and give it to the brain guys.

 

No one has claimed that we always use reason but even in that case we stared at the abyss and we blinked, we chose not to fight it out with nukes, mainly because even then there was a basic understanding of just how bad it would be for both sides and no clear winner would or could emerge..

 

A number of people in the Kennedy cabinet argued for an attack on the Cuban missile silos. Change a few chairs in that meeting, and you would not be here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You have 10 seconds to withdraw that comment or I will launch a full scale nuclear strike upon your home base. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6.... :)

 

i say go pound sand, are you going to launch a nuclear strike that dooms us both over an insult?

 

See guys, it's happening already, right here on this little forum. Soon we'll be calling each other names, and then the mod will nuke us all. What's the logic of making characterizations of each other's remarks? There is none. But we, including me, are human. Yep, me too, I've been banned a number of times. Given that evidence, do you want me to have a nuke?

 

Again, a false comparison, verbal barbs against an argument are not personal insults and anyone who would react to such innocent remarks with violence is not likely to be in control of nuclear weapons... Well there are the conservatives... ;)

 

Imagine that all of us had a digital nuke that could blow up this entire forum. Very few of us would consider using it. But sooner or later, somebody would. Some poster, maybe even a quite intelligent one, would lose their cool, and push the button.

 

No I disagree, not if it meant his own destruction in a significant way. Nuclear weapons are not child's toys to be used in any confrontation, it took a long time for those in power to realize how serious the idea of MAD was but I really don't see it now...

 

 

I wouldn't, and didn't propose that. I would take their funding and give it to the brain guys.

 

Oh boy a physicist making burgers, how wonderful the very person who might discover a new source of clean energy or a realistic space drive is making burgers while some guys try to change the very nature of humans... sounds like a good reason to nuke the world.

 

A number of people in the Kennedy cabinet argued for an attack on the Cuban missile silos. Change a few chairs in that meeting, and you would not be here.

 

So your argument rests on what could have happened but gives no credit for it not happening?

Link to post
Share on other sites

You have 10 seconds to withdraw that comment or I will launch a full scale nuclear strike upon your home base. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6.... :)

LOL. Nice try, my friend, but I know you don't have nukes. My spies have confirmed that your WMDs are really nothing more than a crack pipe and a slingshot.

 

And not to derail the thread, but what is a Weapon of Mass Destructions (WMDs) Isn't one mass destruction bad enough? Or, more appropriately, shouldn't they be called Multiple Weapons of Mass Destruction (MWMD)? Sorry, on with the thread.

 

See guys, it's happening already, right here on this little forum. Soon we'll be calling each other names, and then the mod will nuke us all. What's the logic of making characterizations of each other's remarks? There is none. But we, including me, are human. Yep, me too, I've been banned a number of times. Given that evidence, do you want me to have a nuke?

 

Imagine that all of us had a digital nuke that could blow up this entire forum. Very few of us would consider using it. But sooner or later, somebody would. Some poster, maybe even a quite intelligent one, would lose their cool, and push the button.

Humans are competitive, selfish outside of our acknowledged social groups (and sometimes within them), and driven to discover and succeed. This is why we developed the field of ethics - to help us over these hurdles in our relationships with each other. You can't evolve those traits out of us, because it's a fundamental part of why we have reached the point we have. We can certainly evolve our ethics, but that's a societal change, not a physiological one.

 

I wouldn't, and didn't propose that. I would take their funding and give it to the brain guys.

Ok, that's less patently ridiculous, but it still leaves the problem of what all the physicists, geologists, archaeologists, computer scientists, astronomers, cosmologists, biologists (who aren't doing brain research), chemists, etc etc, are going to do with their time.

 

The point I am trying to make is that we are solving this problem, slowly, but surely, by improving our understanding of the human family, and resolving our differences in some way that doesn't involve bashing each other in the head. But there will always be fundamentalists who resist change that slow this process down. We need to let our society evolve naturally, not force it to change to match our expectations.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
i say go pound sand, are you going to launch a nuclear strike that dooms us both over an insult?

 

Have you heard of religious fundamentalists? Have you heard that the government and armed forces of Pakistan and Iran have a number of them?

 

anyone who would react to such innocent remarks with violence is not likely to be in control of nuclear weapons... Well there are the conservatives... wink.gif

 

There you go, now you're catching on. :)

 

It took a long time for those in power to realize how serious the idea of MAD was but I really don't see it now...

 

Osama bin Laden punched the U.S. in the nose, knowing it would bring the largest military force in history right down on his head.

 

So your argument rests on what could have happened but gives no credit for it not happening?

 

You're of course entirely 100% right that it didn't happen. You have to continually be right in every such circumstance from now on. No room for error, if you're wrong just once, game over.

 

Ok, that's less patently ridiculous, but it still leaves the problem of what all the physicists, geologists, archaeologists, computer scientists, astronomers, cosmologists, biologists (who aren't doing brain research), chemists, etc etc, are going to do with their time.

 

Teach the next generation of brain scientists.

 

The point I am trying to make is that we are solving this problem, slowly, but surely, by improving our understanding of the human family, and resolving our differences in some way that doesn't involve bashing each other in the head.

 

Very sensible indeed. Really, it is. For the early 20th century.

 

We no longer have time for slow and sure. Knowledge isn't just developing, it's accelerating.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.