[ExI] high quality minds

SR Ballard sen.otaku at gmail.com
Mon Sep 10 13:45:37 UTC 2018

In a certain way, I subscribe to both theories, but I don't hear it talked
about much more.

I think that the basic foundations of our modern science might have
required geniuses. Not because non-geniuses would be incapable of
discovering those things, but that non-geniuses require a modern-like
education system and scientific apparatus in order to make the types of
contributions that they do today. Without that framework, I'm not sure many
non-geniuses would have the education or mindset to properly consider
questions, and even less to formulate usable *scientific* answers.

After an initial foundation of education and scientific methodology is
established, I believe most of scientific progress is inevitable. I do,
however think that the 90/100 view is too rosy. Genius is really not all
that uncommon, I don't think, and it is concentrated in scientific and
similar fields. If we take the easy way out and just define a "genius" as
someone with an IQ over 145, then that's about 1 in every 1000 people, or
7M geniuses alive right now. Of course, depending on how we define genius
there might be more, or less.

But I also think that scientific progress is only inevitable as far as
people looking in the same direction. For example, as long as people are
trying to scientifically determine the origin of the species, then I think
it is inevitable to end up with a theory somewhere near what we have today.
But I'm not sure that the idea to look there is actually inevitable.

And another issue, of course, would be that sometimes we lose knowledge.
For example, how many brilliant minds were cut short by poverty, disease,
alcoholism, and prisons? For example, we know that we have lost knowledge,
sometimes quite significant knowledge, before. Some of it we have
re-discovered (Roman Concrete) and some of it we have not (Damascus Steel).
Even though I believe it is possible for us to rediscover Damascus Steel, I
don't know if we actually will. Not because it is impossible, but because
the focus of modern science is not on forging "magical" swords to slay our
enemies. Weapons technology has moved in a completely different direction.

On Sun, Sep 9, 2018 at 11:48 AM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com>

> OK, got your attention, since all of us, (ahem), in this group have them.
> My question:
> Do you subscribe to the genius view of scientific progress, or the
> inevitable finding view?
> Was it inevitable that someone would 'discover' zero and negative numbers
> if Brahmagupta hadn't done it?  (that's my answer).  Ditto evolution,
> Newton's laws, relativity, etc.
> Or am I just out of date (likely) and this is no longer a controversy?
> As someone said (I think it was me): without geniuses, 100 years of
> history has only 90 years of happenings (progress, inventions, etc).
> bill w
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