Re: Sagan

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Sat Nov 18 2000 - 15:44:19 MST

On Saturday, November 18, 2000 9:52 AM wrote:
> Big Deal versus Bigtime: When Billy or Gore bogarted, and W'ya snorted;
> were YOUNG MEN. Then needs to be a sort of largesse' when one is young and
> foolish.

I agree here. I know many Boomers now who look at my generation and the one
after it as irresponsible because of high drug use -- even when their teen
drug use was much higher and probably much less well-informed.:)

> Regards defeating a Soviet Missile attack using 1980 technology, you jump
> conclusion, I feel. Let us define the goal and then define the technology.
> The main avenue of attack was to defeat the Communist Party CCCP--that is
> "unacceptable damage" that military experts have judged.

True. One reason the Soviets fell appears to be their inability to compete
in the high tech realm. In 1980s, does anyone here think the Soviets had
better predictive capabilities? Does anyone think that one thing that might
have been eating at their minds was the possibility that the SDI program
might work and basically annull their nuclear threat? If I had been one of
their strategists, I definitely would've thought hard on the possibility --
instead of just ignoring it.

> Now there were a few methods we might have tried and did not, to defeat an
> attack--even given the technology of the time. It's probably better to
> had no successful missile defense system, as things happened, but to say
> was unworkable because Sagan demurred or Kostia Tsipis, found it
> disagreeable; is no reason to propagandize against it. Hence, one could
> such democratic-socialist like Dyson, give a different spin on things.

The lack of a missle defense system worked most likely because the two
sides -- Soviets and Americans -- did not want a nuclear war on any scale.
If it had been the Americans versus the Red Chinese, history might have been
different, since on many accounts, the latter have limited nuclear war as
part of their doctrine. (Whether this is to scare other nations is a matter
we can debate, but current intelligence seems to support my claim.)

> For a variety of reasons, 90% because the Politics changed we do not have
> Balistic Missile Defense system. Not because the technology was inherently
> wrong. Will you also now say that we do not drive around on fuel cells or
> have a lunar colony "because the technology didn't work"? No, these are
> decisions, wise or unwise; and its all the road not taken. Sagan had his
> biases, as do I, as do you.

Good point! History -- heck, life! -- is full of contigencies. One can't
argue that what happened had to necessarily happen. Plus to grab one
prediction that came true -- evne if only provisionally so -- and use it as
if the predictor is [nearly] always right is a fallacy often made in these
areas. If I make enough predictions, especially if they aren't all off the
wall, one is eventually going to come true...

My two cents!

Daniel Ust

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:29 MDT