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The Human Miracle

  1. Sep 4, 2003 #1
    I think the term "miracle" may be a bit misleading, but it is rather accurate to describe the fact that we have survived the discovery of nuclear power.

    Michio Kaku, in his lecture, "Journey Through the Tenth Dimension", was talking about the possibility of discovering intelligent extra-terrestrials. He mentioned how the Drake euations (at least I think it was the Drake equations) indicate that life shoud abundant in the Universe (perhaps millions in just our galaxy alone). However, a severe limiting factor is the fact that the probability of self-annihalation dramatically increases, following the discovery and harnessing of nuclear power.

    So, the fact that humans have continued to exist this long is something of a spectacle (or "miracle"), and I think that's something that the world should be reminded of when they even consider using nuclear weapons in war.

    Why, after having survived it for this long, should we give in and become "just another extinct sentient race"?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2003 #2


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    Why indeed? Then look at the negotiations between the US and North Korea. Knowledge is ours, but never wisdom.
  4. Sep 5, 2003 #3


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    That's one way to look at it.
    Another way is to say that the fact that the discovery of nuclear power
    had and still has such a close relation to the survival of mankind and
    many other spiecies on Earth is just indicative of our pathetic stupidity. :wink:

    In fact, I think that's a more productive and efficient approach when
    dealing with survival... :wink:

    Peace and long life.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2003
  5. Sep 5, 2003 #4
    Re: Re: The Human Miracle

    Sure, but that just means that - if we want to continue existing, as I suspect most of us do - we need to learn to handle that which we have discovered with the utmost care (instead of treating it like a kid with a squirt-gun who says "if you spray me, I'll spray you back").
  6. Sep 5, 2003 #5


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    Re: Re: Re: The Human Miracle

    Greetings Mentat !
    Not exactly. In your case that would be the primary conclusion.
    The way I put it means that the primary conclusion is to watch
    out for the people who use nuclear power rather than try to educate
    them (because people are stupid and some won't listen anyway
    so we can't risk that). And force them into disarming or not enitialy
    having it if they are potentialy dangerous(crazy). This also means that
    having these weapons is not neccessarily bad if they are in the right
    hands and can be used (in a crisis) as tool to maintain the balance
    of terror.
    (It's like the difference between - "always keep the peace" or
    "do not wage war unless forced to" when translated to this
    approach towards handling nuclear power - "do not make nukes"
    or "make sure the nukes are not in the hands of loons and keep
    them in case a loon does acquire them(or we get attacked by aliens )".)

    Peace and long life.
  7. Sep 5, 2003 #6
    Miracle or nightmare? Certainly nuclear weapons are nothing ordinary.

    What they are indicative of for me is the degree to which humanity is pushing the boundaries of suvival and our impact on the global ecology. Within twenty years the oceans are estimated to no longer be commercially fishable, there just won't be enough fish. Within fifty years every wild land animal larger than a dog is expected to become extinct. Will humanity go out with a bang or a whimper?

    That all good things must end is inevitable.
  8. Sep 6, 2003 #7
    Unless human nature (which is probably very much like the nature of the rest of the intelligent species that have evolved on other planets) can be combated by reasoning, you are right.
  9. Sep 6, 2003 #8
    Human nature is perhaps the least of our worries, it is the nature of societies that concerns me more. Individually people are incredibly predicatable and managable. Collectively, all hell can break loose and all bets are off. Who watches the watchers?

    Daring to walk out on the limb of Social Darwinism, it is clear human societies are still rushing to fill the voids in the ecological niches our greater intellect has made available to us. In the last hundred and fifty years we have gone from six million world wide to six billion. Not even the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms, call it a microsecond instead. This was only made possible by a slow accumulation of knowledge and a the ability to organize flexibly on unprecidentedly massive scales. Individually humans have proven incredibly flexible, but not nearly as much as social organizations. So far societies have been flexible enough to avoid extinction of the species, but the there is no way to say this will always be the case.
  10. Sep 6, 2003 #9
    I do have to say that I believe that human societies have become more flexible due to mass communication. Popular opinion can be easily swayed these days, but it's harder to do in countries where there is cencorship, etc. Aren't those the countries that we have to worry about anyway?

    I also have to disagree with drag because if you can sway the popular opinion, then it will fascilitate things in such countries, though I do agree that we still need to watch out for those people, but educating them isn't entirely pointless!
  11. Sep 6, 2003 #10


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    I do not think that education is entirely pointless I'm just saying
    that some people won't listen anyway and that's not the type of
    primary solution you should count on when your (and many others')
    survival is on the line.

    Live long and prosper.
  12. Sep 7, 2003 #11
    That's just half the equation, the other half is the inequitable distribution of wealth. The more capitalistic and classist the country, the more inflexibly fundamentalist and contentious.
  13. Sep 7, 2003 #12


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    I don't think that agrees with recent history. The US is about the most capitalist nation on Earth and India is about the most classist. Both have nuclear weapons. Both have recently been involved in emotional combats with other countries. Neither has come even close to using their nuclear arsenal.

    On the other hand the nation which is making the most egregrious nuclear threats is that dictatorial worker's paradise, North Korea.
  14. Sep 7, 2003 #13
  15. Sep 7, 2003 #14
    Sorry, I did not mean to imply religious fundamentalists and capitalists alone. As far as I am concerned North Korea is a fundamentalist communist state, a kind of secular fundamentalism which is particularly contentious by nature.

    However, the US is by far both the most religiously fundamentalist and capitalistic nation in the developed world. It has also come very close to launching its nuclear arsenal several times. As a result, new safeguards have been implimented each time, such as the instilation of the hotline a few months after the Bay of Pigs incident.

    Exactly what India has or hasn't done I have no clue. All I know for sure is they have a long standing contention with Pakistan, only recently become dedicated capitalists, expanded their nuclear weapons program, and have the largest known weapons program aimed squarely at countering american weapons.

    For all the wonderful things that can be said about the US, being even tempered and staunch supporters of human rights are not on the list. The US has consistently refused to sign any of the UN human rights charters with the single exception of the one guaranteeing the right to vote. This is because the US has the worst human rights record in the developed world and is actively being campained against by both Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch.

    What the world requires to maintain the peace is in my opinion to give up extremes in fundamentalism and the distribution of wealth. The two just go hand in hand. Either it is severe communist or capitalistic fundamentalism, from the secular to the religious.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2003
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