Flutterby™! : A few observations

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A few observations

2008-06-27 22:36:24.495993+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

A few observations for the afternoon.

Justice can only occur in situations of power imbalance at the discretion of the entity with the most potential for violence. Among peers, justice exists in the détente between parties with equal capacities for violence.

Seen in my daily reads, but I can't find it again right now: Futurists have been looking forward to the singularity/age research payoff/whatever, and people living for hundreds of years. Politicians tend to be older, and often retire by dying. A 500 year lifespan would mean that many of our current politicians would have been alive during the Protestant Reformation.

[ related topics: Sociology Law ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-06-28 03:12:18.07567+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

You really should read some Asimov. He explores some of the implications of humans with lifespans measured in centuries, especially the impact on scientific investigation.

As for the Futurists... What I've read recently in Wired makes me Ray Kurzweil is full of shit. He seems to think that we are a few decades away from being able to replicate human organs through nanabots. I counter this with the recent "discovery" that the appendix has a purpose. I mean, if medicine is still at the stage of "gee, we can't seem to figure out what is this internal organ does. maybe we should just chop it out", I think the general mindset is way far behind where they think the technology is.

Same goes for the current issue lambasting of science. The claim is that data mining techniques, like those used by Google for language translation, will replace the scientific method and scientific models. Of course, Google can't really answer "why" their engine actually works and it's susceptible to translation errors that no human would make. All because it doesn't understand meaning, just information.

I mean, Logical Postivism is bad enough...

#Comment Re: made: 2008-06-28 14:25:36.730647+00 by: Dan Lyke

It's been a looong while, I'll have to track down the Foundation series again.

I generally agree with your assessment of Ray Kurzweil, they guy writes appealing science fiction. But then, anyone who rights of "nanobots" rather than, say, engineered bacteria and viruses, triggers my bullshit detector.

On the "scientific method", as I do a bit of searching about to look at the validity or lack thereof of hair analysis, you can say all you want about aspects of the way that the scientific method is currently practiced, but "make a hypothesis, design a test to validate or disprove it, do the test, publish your methods and results for other people to duplicate" doesn't seem like it's going to be thrown away just because people manage to find what appear to be signals in their data.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-06-28 18:37:08.931768+00 by: crasch

While it's true that politicians will be old, the citizenry will be old too. I wonder how political decisions would be different if the majority of voters had lived through the Reformation, the American Revolution, the Napoleonic wars, the Civil War, Stalin, WWI, WWII, and Vietnam?

#Comment Re: made: 2008-06-29 00:50:56.305821+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think we'd have a high enough birth rate to support at least a similar level of wars, if not more, and I think the prejudices of the past would be strongly supported, so that many of those battles would be coming around again and again.

But I'm a pessimist that way.