# 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?

(1760 previous messages)

rshowalter - 07:21am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1761 of 1766)
Robert Showalter showalte@macc.wisc.edu

Dirac makes a point about axiomatic systems -- that is, systems based on assumptions dirac_10 3/29/01 9:42pm

The point is that no axiomatic system of a complexity useful to humans is provably either complete or consistent.

The word "axiom" has a high status tone, but all it really means is

" assumption - clearly stated, and held to be self evident."

I recall being taught that.

Also more down-to-earth advice. I was taught that Godel's proof was a fundamental statement of the principle, well known to soldiers, that

" You cannot pull yourself out of your own a**hole.

" How on earth would you do so? You can't even think about it -- you have no "tools" -- the notion just doesn't make sense.

For similar reasons, because there are no "solid connections" an axiomatic system can't be self checking.

rshowalter - 07:22am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1762 of 1766)
Robert Showalter showalte@macc.wisc.edu

At the same time, also in the course of being taught to use Godel's proof, I learned this memory aid about the word "assumption."

assume -- makes an ASS out of YOU and ME

an axiom is an assumption.

• ****

The objections to proof by axiom do not apply at all to the process of CHECKING, by a matching process, against data - FOR CONSISTENCY.

Checking can never show "absolute consistency, with no other possible interpretation" to a complete philosophical certainty. But it CAN show inconsistency and that is disproof, by any reasonable standard I've ever heard expressed.

Checking for facts and logic, by a matching process, with witnesses able to see, is essential, when arguments matter. In the United States, and elsewhere, that kind of checking is often barred from the game, whenever anybody in power objects.

rshowalter - 07:24am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1763 of 1766)
Robert Showalter showalte@macc.wisc.edu

lunarchick - 08:01am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1764 of 1766)
lunarchick@www.com

A point re satellites having missiles:

There'd be a high chance of them blowing up on lauchpad - 1 in four is it?

The Satellites could be knocked off in orbit .. and as for communications, conventional ones are being re-visited.

lunarchick - 08:07am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1765 of 1766)
lunarchick@www.com

Forget the fancy stuff:

Land mines - every 20 minutes a land mine blows .. a left over from an old conflict .. and an innocent person, child, civillian is subjected to the LOSS of their leg. This is tragedy. An unnecessary tragedy. In part it is fixable -- by REMOVING the mines. There are two types, metal and plastic. James Cooke Uni, up the track, have spent 8 years working on a detector to remove the new plastic mines. It's pretty much ready for action for relief in Cambodia, Angola, a former iron curtain war zone of old.

Science can help humanity!

rshowalter - 08:33am Mar 30, 2001 EST (#1766 of 1766)
Robert Showalter showalte@macc.wisc.edu

Science DOES help humanity!

And if we could talk together better, and cooperate better, we'd be able to USE what science already knows, and learn new stuff, in ways that would make the horrors of the world much less.

FACTS - like the facts about landmines - can motivate action once they are believed.

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