and then by contrast good science sense
JANUARY 2nd 2011

An international group of scientists are aiming to create a simulator that can replicate everything happening on Earth - from global weather patterns and the spread of diseases to international financial transactions or congestion on Milton Keynes' roads.

Better read the report first. Overlooking, apparently, the appropriate function of the human brain, singular, plural, associated in interest groups and at the same time freed to interact world-wide, and our means of dialogue and debate, polling, persuading, correcting and verifying in order to make progress in (a) understanding the origins and mechanisms of creation and (b) decide which roads to take out of many possible, some computer specialists believe it would be better to try to model  the entire world in a huge program that could handle the data and integrate it.

I could be wrong, but I think little would come of such a project except confusion,

The mechanism for deciding the future course of the planet is the planet itself and its systems including its human brains in interaction. We don't have to build another. We ARE the mechanism, along with all of the rest of nature. The mistakes we make are part of the program working through. There is more information than we could ever properly evaluate so as to enter into an inanimate computer other than as a conglomerations of text and maths, much of which is disputed, even if we could get an approximate model to absorbe it.

By all means let us use models to help us improve the models in our minds, and to calculate the times and quantities that we can consider in a limited way before the unknowns make certain mathematical predictions worthless; but we already have enough information at our disposal to realise that it is not what we do but the way that we do it, who decides and how we choose who decides, how to discriminate and how not to, how freedoms and obligations are defined, allocated and guaranteed, that constitutes the heart of the matter.

Every choice is conditional. Any course of collective action that is not dictatorially imposed has to be supported by a mix of instinct, reason and emotion.  The absurd anomalies that cause most human suffering  at the present time are the result of human actions to supposedly produce the very reverse. Their removal would require actions that many of the most confused yet morally outspoken would no doubt find unacceptable.

Presumably the scientists in question are hoping that options provided by a computer model of our global situation would be perceived as free from bias. This is unlikely.

One Pete Warden (who he?) says in the:BBC report:
"It's not that we don't know enough about a lot of the problems the world faces, from climate change to extreme poverty, it's that we don't take any action on the information we do have,"

That makes me wish I had read the news report properly before cracking on about it, as it seems half of my argument is already obvious to some. The other half is simply that human brains are not only where all evaluation and decisions on future courses of actions have to be taken but they already have more computing power in them than can be artificilally manipulated in an intelligent way in an attempt to relieve us of responsibility. We are going to argue about the future and on occasions, fight no doubt.

One reason we 'don't take action on the information we do have' is that we disagree, if not about the causes of the problem, then on how to solve them. A great many people seem to think that the way to reduce what they call poverty is to help a lot more poor people, living in an unproductive environment, to survive in larger numbers than ever before and reduce their child mortality, before tackling either birth control, water and soil and other vital resources, housing, security and financial self-support. Poverty in financial terms may be far from the worst problem they face if these things are tackled in the wrong order.


FEBRUARY 7th 2011
Here, by contrast, is some proper thinking at last.