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Technology superstitions

David Ignatius quotes Elizabeth Kolbert from her New Yorker piece: "It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing."

The fact (and I think it is a fact) that most people believe technological sophistication somehow leads us to make wise decisions ought to make us wonder: why do people think that?

What connection is there between technological know-how and wisdom, or even basic prudence? Answer: none at all.


Nonsense. With technological know-how, you can get in out of the cold. People do lots of dumb things when their ears are frozen.

Except your technological know-how that enables you to make a small, very warm room might be making it easier to ignore all the people outside the room as you couldn't when you didn't have the know-how, just the ability to rub the sticks and make a fire to which they could add their sticks.

Reminds me of an oft-quoted remark by a WWII general: "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the sermon on the mount."

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