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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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dirac_10 - 09:42pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1756 of 1763)

eurocore - 09:13pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1755 of 1755)

"since no axiomatic system is complete."

- Gödel

It's a hobby. And Turing, let's give him credit too. Seems this Chaitin guy has the last word with this here Algorighmic Information Theory.

What it says is that we can no make any fixed rules to prevent a Big Brother or destroying ourselves, or preventing accidental missle launch or whatever for certain. There will always be exceptions that our rules don't cover. Our axiomatic systems are incomplete.

What he proposes to solve the problem in math, to make progress, is to start accepting theorms based on experiments and probability. (Sounds like what the engineers have been doing all along.)

What it means for us in this case is that there is no Ultimate Truth as far as a plan to proceed is. We will always have to play it by ear. Always need to change the plan. Always be aware that there will always be the possibility of things showing up that our rules, our system, can't deal with.

In this case, I was referring to the choice between destruction and abandoning much of our civil liberties. As the loss of civil liberties increases, the problems caused by the exceptions to our rules, our incomplete axiomatic system, increasingly risks kicking off some runaway positive feedback Big Brother.

(Not that we're there now.)

Strangely enough, this is identical to George Soros's "No one is in possession of the Ultimate Truth" thing. Which apparantly came from Physics, not math/logic. Proposes the same solution.

almarst-2001 - 10:44pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1757 of 1763)

I wonder what could work against warheads released from a satelites having some aerodinamic shape which allowes manuvering in the atmosfere for guidance.

This approach will eliminate the easily detectable boosting stage and significantly shorten the time-to-target.

dirac_10 - 02:35am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1758 of 1763)

almarst-2001 - 10:44pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1757 of 1757)

This approach will eliminate the easily detectable boosting stage and significantly shorten the time-to-target.

I'm not so sure about the time to target. At least with aerodynamics. At any rate, it would be shot down immediately if possible, assuming it made it to orbit. And **** would hit the fan. I'm talking about the Saddams. Russia/US wouldn't do it. Hopefully.

rshowalter - 06:22am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1759 of 1763) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

almarst-2001 3/29/01 10:44pm

The answer is simple. The aerodynamic guidance means now exist, or could be made to exist rapidly. Accuracy would probably not be as good as with state of the art ICBM's -- but cities could definitely be hit with enough accuracy to be devastating.

As for the rest of your question -- a satellite system could not be defended against, if the satellites were in place. Because of a ill advised - anti-missile system proposal, that seems to be essentially without noncoerced support outside of the United States, the US is pushing technical logic toward a new arms race, with the same ugly MAD, but with tougher systems to control, and less decision making time for either side.

And at a ridiculous cost, that cannot be in the real interest of any but a small and very unpatriotic group of individuals.

The logic for de-escalation of threat, reduction of nuclear weapons on all sides so that, at least, the world survives, and work to eliminate nuclear weapons is very strong.

It is only a dream to think there is a technical way to protect the US, or any other country, from delivery of nuclear weapons. There are too many ways that delivery can happen.

It is only a dream to think that there is a technical way to protect the US, or any other advanced sociotechnical country, from serious harm. There are too many ways that this harm can be inflicted - to many ways by millions or billions of times, to make a defense of even a small fraction of the ways possible.

We need de-escalation of theat, much more openness, so that agressive war is less likely to be rewarded, and military balances that make human and technical sense.

rshowalter - 06:25am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1760 of 1763) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

One thing that requires is checking.

The writer of "eurocore" and "dirac" and I have a longstanding, now well documented disagreement. I believe, for reasons I think compelling, that checking on key facts, in fields that matter enough, must be morally forcing.

Lunarchick and I have made that argument, very carefully, in the Paradigm Shift thread on the guardian, and the writer of euocore and dirac, under other pseudonyms, has participated in that thread.

He believes that checking,whenever it violates some established notion of "comity" is unacceptable. He is, in a deep sense, an enemy of the notion of truth -- a supporter of the notion that nothing can really be checked, or established - that we can and should talk forever, whatever the human stakes.

I believe that, for the safety of the world, the notion that checking is morally forcing is going to have to gain much ground.

Unless things can be checked, any logic can be defended, or deflected.

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