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Thread: How quickly could an intelligent race go from their neolithic to the space age?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    We also developed some from calendar and sky calculations, but constructing things needs a different mathematical and physical skillset. We developed by a multitude of intersecting pathways, and ubiquitous pyramid calculations were part of that. Look at Egypt and the Americas, the most prolific pyramid builders also had the most advanced mathematical systems among their peers.

    It's all interrelated, you cannot isolate one element and say "we could have skipped that".
    yes, it takes advances in maths and engineering to build a lot of religious buildings, but pretty soon engineering advances would be needed for practical projects like the Romans with their aqueducts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    yes, it takes advances in maths and engineering to build a lot of religious buildings, but pretty soon engineering advances would be needed for practical projects like the Romans with their aqueducts.
    But the Romans built on already existing methods and math to do so. They could not have achieved what they did without standing on the shoulders of many previous giants. In fact Rome was kind of famous for assimilating and expanding on what others had created.
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  3. #33
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    Just an FYI - John Brunner's "The Crucible of Time," deals with this exact idea. It has been a long time since I read the book but it has to do with very different type of "person," which, IIRC, start out as undersea dwellers. However, their planet is moving through a very rough part of the galaxy and they eventually use this impetus to figure out how to get off their planet so that their species will survive. Extremely well written, I remember not being able to put it down. It took a vast amount of time but they eventually succeeded and, although they are not human (or even close,) this could be looked at as a fictional guess at the shortest time a species could realistically hope to "get off their home planet," but only as it applies to their situation.

    Unfortunately, anyone would have to come up with a specific situation and use that to answer the OP's original question.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    If there were no wars, no competing etc, just pure co-operation?
    If they (somehow) developed a sophisticated Scientific Method in an early stage of civilization, they'd advance faster than we did, but not necessarily with similar results. Recall, without wars and weapons we'd have no rocketry to begin with.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    If they (somehow) developed a sophisticated Scientific Method in an early stage of civilization, they'd advance faster than we did, but not necessarily with similar results. Recall, without wars and weapons we'd have no rocketry to begin with.
    IIRC, the first rockets, which were made in China well before Europeans were passed along the recipe for black powder, were used to loft fireworks into the sky. They were used for fun, not death. Of course the death came fairly soon after, when the rockets were used to make rocket arrows and such.

    Black powder itself was discovered by alchemists who were looking to create an immortality elixir. Nothing nefarious there. It wasn't used as a weapon immediately either, but in fireworks. Again, fun.

    One could imagine a species that develops technologies for the fun of it, to see what's possible.
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  6. #36
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    Copernicus and Newton weren't, as far as I know, developing mathematical models for the solar system and gravity for any military purpose...as well.
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  7. #37
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    the trouble with military research is it has specific aims, and targets(no pun intended), whereas a lot of science has come about through following paths based just upon curiosity
    Formerly Frog march.

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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    the trouble with military research is it has specific aims, and targets(no pun intended), whereas a lot of science has come about through following paths based just upon curiosity
    But science is analysis, technology is application. There's plenty of unapplied knowledge even today.

    Curiosity is a strong driver of science, competition is a strong driver of technology, cooperative communication puts them together. We humans are fortunate to have all 3. It's hard to imagine how a species without that balance would achieve space travel.
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  9. #39
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    Military advances have rarely found new paths; they've pretty much exclusively been the result of intensive spending on existing science and technology.

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  10. #40
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    Competition doesn't necessarily have to entail war, where people kill one another to steal their stuff.

    Competition can be fairly peaceful, like in sports and capitalism moderated by liberal democracy.
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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    Competition doesn't necessarily have to entail war, where people kill one another to steal their stuff.

    Competition can be fairly peaceful, like in sports and capitalism moderated by liberal democracy.
    I wasn't trying to talk up war, I was referring to the OP phrasing.
    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Military advances have rarely found new paths; they've pretty much exclusively been the result of intensive spending on existing science and technology.
    But they can turn theoretical knowledge into application, he says on the evolved ARPANET.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But they can turn theoretical knowledge into application, he says on the evolved ARPANET.
    GPS came from the military, too.

    Interestingly, even chemical weapons research (talk about a boogeyman) has resulted in the saving of many, many lives. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5325736/
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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    Copernicus and Newton weren't, as far as I know, developing mathematical models for the solar system and gravity for any military purpose...as well.
    I think Galileo's theory of ballistics was probably inspired by military observation and practice, and ballistics is at the core of Newton's orbital theories.

  14. #44
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    Suggested viewing: James Burke's Connections


    As I said, no one part of tech development is ignorable, it all intermingles. It's not linear. A small difference in one area might have led us down an entirely different path.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  15. #45
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    According to '2001: A Space Odyssey' just a few seconds; right after the apes learn to kill each other with bones that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomar View Post
    According to '2001: A Space Odyssey' just a few seconds; right after the apes learn to kill each other with bones that is.
    Still holds as the longest time duration dissolve in cinematic history.

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    Here you are, sir.

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