History Headscratchers / Foundation

3rd May '18 5:32:58 PM psionycx
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* The way Galactic civilization declines outside the Foundation seems implausible, as every time knowledge of atomics is lost, the people for whom it's become LostTechnology seem to switch over to chemical fuels without much trouble. But these same declining societies are alleged to have forgotten pretty much everything about practical science and engineering of ''their'' time, let alone of technologies that became obsolete before recorded history. So who's figuring out how to power ground-cars and spaceships with chemical fuels, if there aren't any competent mechanics or physicists to reverse-engineer them? Sure, fossil fuels may be "primitive" by Galactic standards, but they're ''far'' from entry-level technologies that just anyone could whip up on the fly.

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* The way Galactic civilization declines outside the Foundation seems implausible, as every time knowledge of atomics is lost, the people for whom it's become LostTechnology seem to switch over to chemical fuels without much trouble. But these same declining societies are alleged to have forgotten pretty much everything about practical science and engineering of ''their'' time, let alone of technologies that became obsolete before recorded history. So who's figuring out how to power ground-cars and spaceships with chemical fuels, if there aren't any competent mechanics or physicists to reverse-engineer them? Sure, fossil fuels may be "primitive" by Galactic standards, but they're ''far'' from entry-level technologies that just anyone could whip up on the fly.fly.
** Who is to say that the Galactic Empire ever banned the use of chemical fuels? In all likelihood people on many planets still used such things in cases where atomics were impractical. Remember that the Foundation's most significant technological achievement was ''miniaturization''. It was stated openly in the books that Imperial technology tended to be very large because they had enough resources that making things smaller was not necessary. However, when scientific knowledge began to decline, people probably reverse-engineered simpler technologies first. Which means that chemically-fueled devices would have been easier to figure out than more complex atomic or nuclear technology.
25th Apr '18 10:45:51 PM psionycx
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*** Seldon could not predict the Mule because the Mule was a ''mutant'', which is to say a statistical anomaly. Whenever one of Seldon's holographic messages was played he cited ''probabilities'' that certain events had or had not occurred. There were never any absolutes or 100% certainties. This is why he created the Second Foundation to covertly correct for when the Plan drifted off track. Also, it was the Mule's specific powers that were the problem. He could compel large numbers of people to do what he wanted. Thus, what would normally be events decided by social trends instead became the decisions of ''one'' person -- and Psychohistory cannot predict individual actions. If, for example, the Mule merely had something like super strength he would not have had such an impact on galactic events or the Plan.
11th Feb '18 1:01:36 PM thorgold
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*** Ultimately, "free will" is ''not'' free. The decisions people make are products of their environment; while an everyday Joe might have the "free will" to spontaneously commit murder in broad daylight, the odds of someone actually doing that are infinitesimally small. Furthermore, the actions of individuals are meaningless in the face of macro-scale human social dynamics. Even people in power are limited in their options and thought patterns due to social and political inertia, as demonstrated by General Riose. And, all that aside, psychoshitory is fundamentally a ''probabilistic'' science - it only determines the likelihood of events, not perfect prediction. The primary focus of the Seldon Plan, especially early on, is setting the starting conditions such that the odds get stacked towards people "choosing" the right courses of action.
1st Nov '17 7:50:30 AM Mr.Phorcys
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*** And yet, even if someone's accomplishments are the product of social movements, those social movements should be able to be anticipated by psychohistory -- thus the Mule should have been anticipated. As the Empire in ''Foundation'' is roughly the Roman Empire during its collapse, mighty conquerors should be expected -- see Attila the Hun, Odoacer, etc. Additionally, the Crisis of the Third Century saw the apparently-imminent collapse of the Roman Empire averted, though many of the same reasons would cause the collapse of the Western Roman Empire centuries later.

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*** And yet, even if someone's accomplishments are the product of social movements, those social movements should be able to be anticipated by psychohistory -- thus the Mule should have been anticipated. As the Empire in ''Foundation'' is roughly the Roman Empire during its collapse, mighty conquerors should be expected -- see Attila the Hun, Odoacer, etc. Additionally, the Crisis of the Third Century saw the apparently-imminent collapse of the Roman Empire averted, though many of the same external reasons would cause the collapse of the Western Roman Empire centuries later.later. In that case, reform should have been a possibility for the Empire. Furthermore, there has never been a case where the entirety of civilization has fallen into a dark age (even in the Bronze Age Collapse, it didn't apply to China), so the outcome of psychohistory lacks historical precedent.
1st Nov '17 7:44:50 AM Mr.Phorcys
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*** And yet, even if someone's accomplishments are the product of social movements, those social movements should be able to be anticipated by psychohistory -- thus the Mule should have been anticipated. As the Empire in ''Foundation'' is roughly the Roman Empire during its collapse, mighty conquerors should be expected -- see Attila the Hun, Odoacer, etc.

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*** And yet, even if someone's accomplishments are the product of social movements, those social movements should be able to be anticipated by psychohistory -- thus the Mule should have been anticipated. As the Empire in ''Foundation'' is roughly the Roman Empire during its collapse, mighty conquerors should be expected -- see Attila the Hun, Odoacer, etc. Additionally, the Crisis of the Third Century saw the apparently-imminent collapse of the Roman Empire averted, though many of the same reasons would cause the collapse of the Western Roman Empire centuries later.
1st Nov '17 7:02:39 AM Mr.Phorcys
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*** And yet, even if someone's accomplishments are the product of social movements, those social movements should be able to be anticipated by psychohistory -- thus the Mule should have been anticipated. As the Empire in ''Foundation'' is roughly the Roman Empire during its collapse, mighty conquerors should be expected -- see Attila the Hun, Odoacer, etc.
9th Apr '17 9:58:04 PM Sharlee
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** Dogs, at least, had definitely evolved into something very different from what you or I would call a "dog". In ''Foundation and Earth'', the explorer who encountered the feral dog pack underestimated them because he couldn't even ''conceive'' of a dog being aggressive or dangerous, suggesting that they've been selectively bred (or discretely culled by human-protective robots) to be completely submissive and perhaps toothless.

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** Dogs, at least, had definitely evolved into something very different from what you or I would call a "dog". In ''Foundation and Earth'', the explorer who encountered the feral dog pack underestimated them because he couldn't even ''conceive'' of a dog being aggressive or dangerous, suggesting that they've been selectively bred (or discretely culled by human-protective robots) to be completely submissive and perhaps toothless.toothless.
* The way Galactic civilization declines outside the Foundation seems implausible, as every time knowledge of atomics is lost, the people for whom it's become LostTechnology seem to switch over to chemical fuels without much trouble. But these same declining societies are alleged to have forgotten pretty much everything about practical science and engineering of ''their'' time, let alone of technologies that became obsolete before recorded history. So who's figuring out how to power ground-cars and spaceships with chemical fuels, if there aren't any competent mechanics or physicists to reverse-engineer them? Sure, fossil fuels may be "primitive" by Galactic standards, but they're ''far'' from entry-level technologies that just anyone could whip up on the fly.
1st Oct '16 9:11:13 PM Sharlee
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*** Not exactly evolution, mind you. As to the original post, FasterThanLightTravel has existed since the end of the 20th/beginning of the 21st century in this 'verse.

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*** Not exactly evolution, mind you. As to the original post, FasterThanLightTravel has existed since the end of the 20th/beginning of the 21st century in this 'verse.'verse.
** Dogs, at least, had definitely evolved into something very different from what you or I would call a "dog". In ''Foundation and Earth'', the explorer who encountered the feral dog pack underestimated them because he couldn't even ''conceive'' of a dog being aggressive or dangerous, suggesting that they've been selectively bred (or discretely culled by human-protective robots) to be completely submissive and perhaps toothless.
29th Aug '16 8:57:27 AM Milarqui
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*** Simply, Seldon calculated that the external crisis would boil up to a point where one of the Four Kingdoms would think they had a chance to get away with toppling the Foundation, which would survive thanks to the religion of science, or rather, its hold in the minds of the people. The fact that it seemed to be timed with the prince's coming of age is just random chance - and, in fact, Hardin mentions that he believes the external crisis was accelerated when the Foundation found the Imperial cruiser. Plus, it is not just a few days passing between the crisis happening and Seldon's appearance, as it is obvious that, at least, a couple of weeks have gone by - Hardin has had to travel to the other Four Kingdoms to argue for the signing of the new treaties that give the Foundation greater power.



** Who says they haven't evolved? Granted, 20,000 or so years is not enough time for a massive evolutionary change to occur naturally. But, for example, Daneel managed to introduce telepathy into the ''entire'' Gaian population, rather than just a genetically-gifted minority! The Solarians re-engineered themselves into hermaphroditic psychokinetics who reproduce via parthenogenesis!

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** Who says they haven't evolved? Granted, 20,000 or so years is not enough time for a massive evolutionary change to occur naturally. But, for example, Daneel managed to introduce telepathy into the ''entire'' Gaian population, rather than just a genetically-gifted minority! The Solarians re-engineered themselves into hermaphroditic psychokinetics who reproduce via parthenogenesis!parthenogenesis!
*** Not exactly evolution, mind you. As to the original post, FasterThanLightTravel has existed since the end of the 20th/beginning of the 21st century in this 'verse.
11th Feb '16 10:46:17 AM OddHack
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** Even if you accept that psychohistory could (at least for story purposes) predict what crisis would arise and how it would be resolved, the idea that it could be timed well enough to correspond to Seldon's pre-scheduled appearances seems too precise. Anacreon's attack was timed to coincide with the prince's coming of age -- how could that be aligned (within a few days) to Seldon's appearance on a anniversary of the Foundation? Even if the Second Foundation was manipulating things behind the scenes, it seems hard to believe.
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