X-Message-Number: 20182
From: "John de Rivaz" <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: The non-inevitability of progress
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 12:07:37 +0100

Mark Plus may well be correct that social disruption can end progress, or at
least slow it substantially. In the UK, Prince Charles is starting a
controversy along similar lines, blaming "red tape" and "political
correctness" and the "blame culture".
He sent to legislators letters containing criticisms of the growth of
regulations, bureaucracy and the rise of litigation. "I and countless others
dread the very real and growing prospect of an American-style personal
injury 'culture' becoming ever more prevalent in this country," the prince
was said to have written.

However the comment attributed to Sir Arthur C Clarke about manned space
flight is unlikely to be correct.

If you consider the technical problems with manned space flight, especially
in the 1970s, they couldn't have done much more than run a regular "service"
to the moon, and sooner or later there would have been a serious accident
with that. Even now, going to the nearest planet, Mars, is fraught with
serious difficulties at the present state of technology. Is it really worth
risking lives and spending resources on such an endeavour now when in say
100 years it would be so much easier (assuming technological progress)?
Those who won't be alive to witness it in 100 years time will certainly
think it is worth it, but on a grander scale, there must be some - indeed a
lot of - doubt.

However instead of repeated visits to the moon,  NASA has spent its money on
unmanned projects, and have now got images and data from every planet in the
solar system except Pluto.

Sincerely, John de Rivaz:      http://www.deRivaz.com :
http://www.longevity-report.com : http://www.autopsychoice.com :

> Message #20178
> From: "Mark Plus" <>
> Subject: The non-inevitability of progress
> Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 19:32:20 -0700
> Refer to:
> http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/space/1587265
> Arthur C. Clarke is disappointed that progress in manned space travel has
> stagnated. Just goes to show that "Progress" isn't some kind of cosmic
> force, but rather is a socially constructed process that requires
> considerable initiative & investment to sustain. So don't be disappointed
> we don't experience a technological "Singularity" in 30 years or so. A
> global depression combined with the spread of social chaos around the
> could postpone a lot of technologically doable projects indefinitely.

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