[ExI] nobel prize and other premature notions

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon May 7 20:34:17 UTC 2012


I had an idea I have been playing withwardly.  Alfred Nobel invented
dynamite and thought that he had ended warfare, since the new explosive made
the whole notion of armed conflict just too dangerous to be any fun.  He was
tragically wrong of course: warfare just became more dangerous, as
demonstrated in two major European conflicts.  But in a way he was right:
eventually we went thru another round of invention of still bigger
explosives when we built nukes, and in that way, warfare really is too
dangerous now for nuke-enable societies to play.  So Al Nobel was premature,
but not exactly wrong.


Today we look at Mr. and Mrs. Ehrlich's notion of the population bomb and
their predictions, and oh, were they silly, so wrong, etc.  But in
retrospect, it isn't entirely clear to me they were wrong exactly, but
rather just too pessimistic on the timeframe of their predictions.  Perhaps
they really had the right idea to some extent, just didn't really model it
correctly.  Perhaps in the very long run, Malthusian population dynamics
really do apply to this overcrowded planet, but the model is far more
complex than a jar of fruit flies.


What other examples can we think of where the initially presented model is
too simple but perhaps contains some truth?



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