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quote:Originally posted by DoctorBeaverInteresting question. How's this for a theory...I would imagine scientific & religious orthodoxy had quite a lot to do with it. Scientists were discouraged - to put it politely - from pursuing theories that contradicted that orthodoxy. If I may mix my metaphors, barking up the wrong tree is like a red herring leading one up the garden path to a dead end Once those shackles were loosened, scientists and inventors were able to explore further afield and determine the truth about scientific matters. This in its turn would have allowed more & faster developments.
quote:Education was also a factor. Access to schooling was very limited, hence not that many people had the basic knowledge to conduct experiments. Indeed, the poorly-educated probably didn't even realise there were problems to be solved. Of what interest would the composition of an atom be to a farmhand from Rutland? Would he even have been aware that something such as an atom even existed? These days, just about everyone knows what an atom is.
quote:Originally posted by another_someoneBear in mind that the first steam engine was actually built by Hero of Alexandria in the first century AD. True, the delay in making practical use of steam (as with so much) lay in the inadequacies of material science, but it does show that ideas were coming forth, just not fast enough to solve the intervening problems for almost another two millenia....So what do people think were the limiting factors?
quote:Originally posted by NewBillThe reference to the steam engine of antiquity reminded me of something that I had always taken for granted when first presented with this fact, but seems to surprise some people.The steam engine of antiquity could only be a curiosity since labour was by definition performed by slaves, or by the labour class.
quote:"I have people for that." is still a declaration of the those who would be members of a ruling class. Those same people would not think to labour a week or two to do their own roof as an example, but would work 60 hours a week to run a roofing company bearing up under slim margins and an uncertain future just to have people for that.
quote:Virtual technology, something I think computing has become since the actual hardware has little to do with what the technology is used to do, is a good case in point. Anyone who has been around this technology for any time knows that people still rule over the perpetuation of mysteries long ago solved, and perform regular functions (paid handsomely) that once were, and could certainly be again, replaced by the very technology they husband. While I recognize that none of us wants to be obsolete before the end of a working career, I am stunned by the lengths people/companies will go to obfuscate their function to perpetuate their rule.IMO science can be no exception. For the most part would be scientists are selected from those who would rule in a different forum. And once certified they are for the most part, funded by those who would wish to capture a certain market rather than some altruistic good for it's own sake, more uncertain one. This reality of academic life seems more likely to be embraced than resisted in modern times.
quote:Far be it from me to hold the USA as an example of a forward looking altruistic society especially in these days of resisting Kyoto and the global crisis upon us and our children. But when John F Kennedy said that America would put a man on the moon and bring him back to the Earth safely again before the end of this decade (60's), the US demonstrated just how fast science could be manipulated towards a goal. To this day we are still exploiting the science of that decade. The hydrogen fuel cell for instance. One technological innovation among hundreds that could have addressed the tired old global warming alternative fuels issue that was there in the 60's and is still there largely un- addressed today.
quote:So in the half century that I have been paying attention, and with the historical precedence told to me, I am led to conclude that the reason why science and technology do not advance is that "We have people for that." and we would rather die than be one of them.
quote:Originally posted by neilepBut, is it also that today we benefit from a heightened imagination and creativity because of the fact we have more knoweldge to be imaginative with ? we have more tools to exercise experimentationa and study. And as mentioned also, surely culture has a lot to do with it also as well as the method of thinking that a society has..
quote:I can see another someone asking the same question in the 23rd century of us in the 21st century !
quote:Originally posted by another_someoneI think it would be wholly wrong to underestimate our forefathers.It would be totally wrong to suggest our forebears lacked imagination, but the did lack the means by which they could separate those products of their imagination that pertained to reality from those that were contrary to reality.
quote:Originally posted by another_someoneThis is partly true, but labour saving devices have continually been invented throughout the ages....
quote:Originally posted by NewBillFor the most part you missed my point but you make interesting and positive arguments.
quote:Hydrogen technology ... primary fuel: I am not sure what a primary fuel would be, but digging it out of the ground would surely disqualify it. Where I am from, there is a surplus of hydro out of reach of the consumer. Creating hydrogen and shipping it to the consumer is one mechanism to overcome this imbalance. It is a small thing but it takes my interest at the moment.
quote:Nor would I wish to suggest that a single technology could solve our energy balance problem.
quote:I was taken by the irony that many of the technical spin offs of the space race languished because the original objective had been met.
quote:It is my belief, persuaded by what I have read and experienced, that we cannot now solve our global heating problem without all the technologies at our disposal, the will to use them, luck and one or two new technologies in the bargain.
quote:As a child in school we would drill crouching under our desks, while being told tales of the holocaust that could come, struggling to believe that we were far enough from a primary target. In the next decade we learned that no one was far enough away. There was serious discussion couched in terms like total kill radius, and acceptable casualties. This dialogue continued even while the expression nuclear winter was added.
And you still haven't learnt to take the stories of man-made impending disaster with a grain of salt?I am not saying that we do not have the capacity to destroy ourselves, all things have within themselves the seeds of their own destruction; but when it does come, I would strongly suspect it will not be the thing we most fear, but will come from a direction in which we had not even thought to look.