Re: Rate of change (was Re: 'a process of non-thinking called faith')

From: Philip Goetz (
Date: Thu Feb 16 2006 - 08:04:59 MST

On 2/16/06, micah glasser <> wrote:
> I have to agree with Kevin here. I grant you that 1934 to 1970 saw
> monumental changes but 1970 to 2006 saw unprecedented changes. I say this as
> an obsessive history buff who knows a great deal about the history of the
> 20th century. I wont even waste my time making the argument - I'm shocked
> that any intelligent and educated person doesn't recognize the obvious
> exponential advancement of technology. Put it this way - if a person from
> 1934 were to travel to 1970 they would probably experience far less future
> shock then a person from 1970 travelling to 2006.

Just try it. As an exercise. "Waste" your time making the argument.
Make a list of advances & changes since 1970. Then make a list of advances
& changes from 1934 to 1970. Or, make the list for 1898 to 1934,
a period of even greater change.

Don't just re-assert your intuitive feelings, which is all that you
people are responding with. Make the lists. You'll be surprised.

Here's a list for 1970-present:

Transportation: airline deregulation, Space Shuttle

Medicine: PCR, human genome (incompletely) sequenced, gene therapy,
Prozac, Viagra, CAT scans, MRI imaging, functional brain imaging,
cochlear implant, other brain implants, Lasix, cosmetic surgery

Theory: QED, nanotechnology, global warming

Discovered: Galactic Great Wall, ozone hole, planets around other
stars, life on Mars? - not!, Yucatan crater

Invented: high-temperature superconductors, smart materials, quantum wells

Adopted: personal computers, VCRs, digital media, fiber optics,
communications satellites, cell phones, Internet, video games, PDAs,
artificial sweeteners

Society: Iraq wars, Watergate, gay rights, end of cold war, globalization, AIDS

Here's a list for 1934-1970:

Transportation: highways, automobiles for common people, jets
invented, affordable air travel, supersonic flight, Mount Everest
climbed, moon landing

Medicine: DNA, sulfa drugs, antibiotics, IV anaesthetics, use of
X-rays in medicine, polio vaccine, birth control, interferon, first 3D
structure of a protein found, neuron theory posited, first
antidepressants, first antipsychotics, dialysis, amniocentesis,
open-heart surgery, artificial heart, cloning, protein structures,
NMR, ultrasound, heart transplant, angioplasty, designer bacteria,
Ritalin, isolation of a gene, first man-made bacteria,
neutransmitters, cell receptors, telomere hypothesis of aging,
synthesis of HGH, all of the basic constituents of the cell

Theory: much of quantum theory, game theory, expanding
universe,Gödel's theories, Turing machine, behaviorism, cognitivism,
chaos theory, sociobiology, Big Bang, violation of CP, punctuated
equilibrium, plate techtonics, string theory, QCD

Tech: electronic computer, electron microscope, atomic bomb, radar,
laser, transistor, TV, microwave ovens, LP records, transistor radios,
carbon dating, holography, QED, Xerox machine, H-bomb, weather
satellites, IC, CPU, AI begun, fiber optics

Society: Great Depression, social security, welfare, labor unions,
World's Fair 1939, World War II, jazz, modernism, relativism, talking
color movies, air conditioning, King Tut, fast food, civil rights
amendment, environmentalism, Korean war, McCarthyism, cold war,
Vietnam war, rock and roll, suburbs, sexual revolution, feminism,
postmodernism, psychoanalysis, Dead Sea Scrolls, Turing test,
australopithecines, consumer protection, Washoe (non-human taught

- Phil

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