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    Missile Defense

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?

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rshow55 - 10:09am Apr 30, 2002 EST (#1895 of 1901) Delete Message

Superb piece:

Odds Are Stacked When Science Tries to Debate Pseudoscience By LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS

Odds of success depend crucially on format, and with the formats currently available and in use, closure simply isn't possible.

There are many, many problems in the world that can't be adressed unless this is fixed. And there are no simple answers. But, with currently available forms, there can be good answers.

If closure really matters, and if persuasion in a central issue, cutting off contact isn't a fully satisfactory answer, to say the least.

For persuasion, status arguments only go so far, because there are crucial differences of opionion about status. When it matter enough (for instance, in jury trials) ways have to be found to say "here -- look for yourself."

The rules of evidence, and challenges of presentation, involved in saying "here - - - look for yourself" are large -- but for some purposes, there is no choice, if answers matter enough.

Krauss's piece ends:

"Of course, as has once happened to me, you might find yourself debating a U.F.O.-believing creationist. But you can't win them all."

What happens when one is dealing with "missile defense boondoggle believing" people - or anyone else with a stake in a system of fictions - under the formats of a radio show? Format counts. Means of checking to closure count.

To win when it counts, patterns of persuasion better than those now in existence have to be found. I suspect that some of the best experts about practical persuasion anywhere work for the New York Times.

Sometimes questions are simple -- but sufficient answers are not. For any specific missile defense program, these basic questions apply.

Can it see the target?

Can it hit the target?

Can it hurt the target?

The answers are not simple.

And as of now, patterns of checking are nothing like sufficient. Even at the New York Times.

rshow55 - 10:10am Apr 30, 2002 EST (#1896 of 1901) Delete Message

MD1575 rshow55 4/20/02 5:51pm asks more detailed questions connected to the simple ones above, and continues:

These missile defense programs need to be evaluated in a reasonable tactical context, subject to the countermeasures that can reasonably be expected and specified.

For action, there would have to be "fights" about these questions -- contractors, and the military, would have to be forced to contest these issues. - Or accept anwers on a clear nolo contenre basis. If world leaders wanted to bring this force to bear -- one way or another -- it could be done -- and pretty gracefully. . . . .

Mechanisms for actually getting the questions above answered, in ways that would be required for practical decision, have been discussed on this thread for nearly a year, and in some detail recently.

Challenge, questions, and invokation of the need for force:
MD728 rshow55 3/20/02 8:58pm ... ... MD729 rshow55 3/20/02 9:32pm
MD730 rshow55 3/20/02 9:37pm ...

MD764 gisterme 3/22/02 1:34pm

Comment and response:
MD780 manjumicha2001 3/23/02 2:28am ... MD783-784 rshow55 3/23/02 11:15am
Key technical background MD84 rshow55 3/2/02 11:52am

I raised some related questions in MD1240 rshow55 4/10/02 6:45pm and there was some discussion in MD1242-1243 gisterme 4/11/02 1:55am . . . .MD1255- 1268 rshow55 4/11/02 7:32am , MD1281-1282 gisterme 4/12/02 3:00am , and in MD1290 rshow55 4/12/02 9:45am "gisterme" , MD thread's "Condoleezza Rice stand-in" said

"These "questions" that you've pronounced to be so important seem to have little substance when exposed to the harsh glare of reality."

Well then, why not subject them to a "harsh glare of reality" sufficient to actually establish the key facts and relations? It is in the national interest to do so. But there are very strong military-industrial intersts, and usages, that are set up to suppress discussion of the most key questions about system feasibility.

How do these things get to closure ? That is a technical question, and to a very large extent, a question about formats, and rules. Current rules are falling short. Often, I'm falling short, as well, but I've been working to get these points across.

rshow55 - 10:14am Apr 30, 2002 EST (#1897 of 1901) Delete Message

MD1885 rshow55 4/29/02 4:45pm . . . raises interesting points.

In the end, when it matters enough, people have to make decisions for themselves, that THEY are comfortable with -- and it involves "connecting the dots."

How those dots are connected matters a great deal.

Unless we find ways to get closure on facts and relations that matter, more effectively than we do now, most of the most ugly problems in the world will remain unsolved.

When people get their facts and relations straight, they do quite well already. It is when they do not that things go terribly wrong.

lchic - 10:19am Apr 30, 2002 EST (#1898 of 1901)

The engineer says 'explain your problem' and looks for a solution

Perhaps too few now realise that there IS still a NUKE problem

The practical take-down is an engineering problem - the decision political ... and that takes LEADERSHIP!

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