View Full Version : Priorities Priorities Priorities

2002-Jan-10, 04:07 PM

To sum it up, although the Apollo efforts were rated in the top 25 achievements of the last 50 years, future investment in space rated near the bottom of the list for the next 50 years.

I would prefer to see this a number 1-10 priority, not specifically for the scientific value that would come from further exploration of the cosmos, but because the discovery of life elsewhere, be it intelligent or not, will change literally everything about what we think "priorities" ought to be. We continue to see ourselves operating in a vacuum of life in the universe, and as such have an individual-centric and human-centric orientation that has continued to plague objective movement of the species going forward.

I can imagine a world where we no longer worry about our skin color, religious preference, or business acumen as an identity. Instead, as "The Species" of Earth, we could represent all of humanity with a more common set of values. But this enlightenment, which is so obvious to me, cannot seem to reach the masses yet.

Then, and only then, will humans truly be in control of destiny, and evolution. Perhaps the weakness of the species is that without something to rate itself against, the species has no purpose or direction at all. Except perhaps to maim and kill and starve each other.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: DJ on 2002-01-10 11:09 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: DJ on 2002-01-10 11:10 ]</font>

2002-Jan-10, 05:16 PM
Frankly, it's a rather politically biased list. I daresay the Cato Institute (a similar thinktank but with the opposite political orientation) would come up with a very different one.

In any case (to stay on-board-topic), I agree that space exploration should be a much higher priority.

2002-Jan-10, 05:25 PM
From the article

The assessment -- Government's 50 Greatest Priorities of the Next Half-Century -- is based on a survey of 550 historians, political scientists, sociologists, and economists carried out from July through October 2001.

Historians, political scientists, sociologists and economists?! I can't think of a group of professions that would be more likely to carry an agenda, and that is only MORE obvious when you look at what the top 10 of that list was.

Also, this is a group that would be least likely to understand how advances in space exploration in the upcoming century will affect what role our species will play (if any) in the history of cosmos, much less the history of our tiny planet. The only top 10 priority that I agree with is better K-12 education, because without that, we'll have no qualified engineers who can take humanity to the planets and beyond.

Sadly, it's not just that the list is biased to the left. The conservative movement in the United States is not much more friendly to space exploration, either. NASA does battle every year with both Republicans and Democrats to get funded at all. Short-sightedness doesn't have a political affiliation.

Also, it is not likely that the first non-human intelligent species that we encounter will be extra-solar in origin. Unless we happen to find an intelligent signal from space in the next few decades, we will likely find ourselves dealing with intelligent machines that we have built ourselves. How we deal with them and cope with that reality as a species will no doubt say alot about how we would deal with extra-terrestrial intelligence if and when we find it.

I hate to be a pessimist, but I have little doubt that we will react the same way that we always have historically to anything radically new: with fear, hatred and ultimately violence. I hope I'm wrong.
Lobster sticks to magnet. (http://www.solarisdx.net/features/1lm.html)
That is all.

--Azpod... Formerly known as James Justin

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Azpod on 2002-01-10 12:37 ]</font>

2002-Jan-10, 07:57 PM
I especially liked how Improving Govt. performanace also ranked low. Heavens (pun intended) forbid we try to become more efficient and save taxpayer dollars by eliminating worthless studies like that one.

2005-Oct-30, 04:31 PM
Of course Space should be ranked a lot higher than anything that a list created by those in question would have us believe, but its always worthwhile knowing the priorities of those opposed to what you seek to do, because once you understand where they're coming from and where they're looking to go it makes it easier to try and create the conditions for where you want to go. ie more funding (whether public or private) and interest involved in getting into Space.

I especially liked how Improving Govt. performanace also ranked low. Heavens (pun intended) forbid we try to become more efficient and save taxpayer dollars by eliminating worthless studies like that one.

Indeed, I also liked this part of it, in terms of what should be low priorities for Government.

On the federal government's ten least important priorities for the future, promoting space exploration was listed along with:

Strengthen the Nation's Highway System


Help Victims of Disaster

Makes one think again about that $200m dollar bridge being built in Alaska for a few hundred people. Good Investment?!?

And, according to these people, its a waste of time helping victims of disasters. Please note, this was published closely after 9/11, and I wonder what it is these people would say to folks in New Orleans


I find attitudes like that completely unbelievable really.

2005-Nov-01, 08:33 AM
The only way space is going to appeal to the general population is if they have a reasonable chance to live out there. Seriously.

Lots of people do not like the way the world is heading; for political, environmental or religious reasons. Such people might be willing to endure the incredible hardships of space travel, and raise large amounts of cash, in order to make a fresh start on a new world.