New York Times on the Web Forums Science
Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's
war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars"
defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make
the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an
application of science be successful? Is a militarized space
inevitable, necessary or impossible?
Read Debates, a
new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every
(1181 previous messages)
- 02:54pm Apr 8, 2002 EST (#1182
Showalter - sorry to hear you were denied hard copy of NYT
Sunday. It retails at $au30 an issue hereabouts - with a $au10 post
- 02:56pm Apr 8, 2002 EST (#1183
Sharon is deaf to Bush, blind to the world ... makes him a war
criminal - again! Yes/No ?!
- 02:58pm Apr 8, 2002 EST (#1184
The newly born child is suckled then socialised - much of the
early years are about both learning and learning to live with
others. When does the i-logic of war-thinking step-in to deviate it
from the regular projectile ?
- 03:47pm Apr 8, 2002 EST (#1185
The newly born child is suckled then socialised -
much of the early years are about both learning and learning to
live with others. When does the i-logic of war-thinking step-in to
deviate it from the regular projectile ?
Maybe when the sperm hits the egg, there are the beginnings of
"war thinking" -- built into our logic, and some of its limits.
Communication is hard - - when you think about it -- near
miraculous. Sometimes, under special circumstances, still not
completely understood -- communication is stunningly effective.
Complex cooperation within groups is also sometimes near-miraculous
and stunningly effective. People are complicated - and much of the
best of us involves a lot of unconscious stuff. We all share the
meanings of some 50,000 words -- and it is astonishing, even with
mistakes considered, how often we agree, and about how many
different, complicated things. How many words can you
remember learning, or inferring? When children are asked, they can
remember few if any.
Sometimes things go well - - for reasons we don't
Still, breakdowns of communication happen often.
Fights have something to do with this basic fact about human
beings. When someone tries to "impose" an idea that someone else is
uneasy with -- people can get angry, emotional - and ready to fight
-- pretty easily.
Trust is hard to build up, and complicated. Ways to break
trust -- ways to get aversive responses are many. Far too many to
count. It is always easy to cut off communication -- to set up
And aversion can go very far, and seem very natural -- it is easy
to get people to hate, and to fight. (A six month old child hates,
in some ways, and fights in some ways - and if the rationality is
not advanced - the emotions that are there are intense.)
Here's a fact. When, in terms of the logic in their heads, people
can think of no alternative -- they fight. When groups can think of
no alternative - they fight. Both individuals and groups are
willing, often enough, to fight to the death. And also willing to
tolerate injury and death to people they "love." Military training
"mass produces" organized groups of people willing to kill on
command, and fight to the death.
To keep fights to the death from happening, there have to be
alternatives to the fighting, at the level of practicalities
and ideas - and they have to be real alternatives, to the
people actually involved.
It is easy to get groups into self-reinforcing "fight" sequences
that are horrific from the point of view of most people involved.
Peace takes more wisdom, can be more complicated - and often
enough takes both an external placement for communication - and some
We face problems of this kind in the Middle East - and people are
struggling with them. Who knows? The worst happens often enough, but
the worst doesn't always happen.
- 04:32pm Apr 8, 2002 EST (#1186
If the ovum had a missile defense system, maybe the sperm could
BTW lchic: you might want to read "Lord of the Flies"
- 05:07pm Apr 8, 2002 EST (#1187
Fertilization isn't a good bet for any given sperm - but when you
look at the odds from the species point of view -- it works.
Missile defense may be a "natural" idea - but when you
look at it in detail - the proposals made so far in public cannot
And maybe we have to learn to do better than the behavior
described in "Lord of the Flies." But we ought to be able to do so.
Did you see the Pulitzers ?! :)
New York Times on the Web Forums Science