The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
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25-09-2011, 07:59 PM
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(25-09-2011 07:32 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  I hope you will give us a hint after your mulling it over. Your insight would be very valuable to this discussion.

Nothing's gelled yet. Still reflecting on it. To be honest I've just kinda avoided this particular train of thought for all of the obvious reasons. As far as basic research in the USA goes, the relationship between government, industry and academia is, well rather complicated.

(25-09-2011 07:32 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  We can do what Oppenheimer did at the end and say: "it is too sweet not try"

and then realize later, much to our dismay, that our love of delicious tasty treats has made us destroyers of worlds.

(25-09-2011 07:32 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  As Obi Wan Kenobi said: "Beware of the Dark Side!"

Shields up!

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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25-09-2011, 08:04 PM
 
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(25-09-2011 07:59 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  and then realize later, much to our dismay, that our love of delicious tasty treats has made us destroyers of worlds.

“We waited until the blast had passed, walked out of the shelter and then it was extremely solemn. We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, Bhagavad-Gita: Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him he takes on his multi-armed form and say, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. I suppose we all thought that, one way or another." -- Robert Oppenheimer (Richard Rodes: “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” pg 676)"

As if it wasn't fucking predictable from the start?!

Huh
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25-09-2011, 08:32 PM
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(25-09-2011 08:04 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  As if it wasn't fucking predictable from the start?!

Huh

Sure, but the delicious tasty treats still proved irresistible.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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25-09-2011, 08:37 PM
 
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(25-09-2011 08:32 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(25-09-2011 08:04 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  As if it wasn't fucking predictable from the start?!

Huh

Sure, but the delicious tasty treats still proved irresistible.

If genius-caliber scientists are such little children, among the rest of us adults, maybe society should put them into maximum-security kindergartens, with 600 pounds Super Nannies watching them ALL THE TIME!!!
Undecided

...and that leads us back to all those questions I asked before.
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25-09-2011, 09:25 PM (This post was last modified: 25-09-2011 09:29 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
You have something there.
Maybe geniuses - in science and art and music and architecture and philosophy - are little children. Maybe we keep them immature the same way that we keep dogs immature: by isolating them from others of their species, giving them special tasks and subjecting them to different rules of behaviour. Maybe the ivory tower is a playpen and the precocious, very powerful children in it are incapable of telling right from wrong, because they have a different standard, a different morality, a different set of judges from the rest of us.
Maybe we need, not to make scientists more special, more independent, but to integrate them with the community they're meant to serve.
Obviously, i don't know how to do that, since i've only just begun to consider the problem from this angle. Yet, the more i do think of it, the more sense it makes.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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25-09-2011, 10:02 PM (This post was last modified: 25-09-2011 10:22 PM by mysticjbyrd.)
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(25-09-2011 04:49 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  Why?
I've heard this assertion before, usually without a shred of supporting data. Once in a while, some apologist will offer the "potentially" "unlimited" energy, without going very far into what that energy is to be used for. At the time, it ended a war that was already over - at a huge cost in every measure possible. Later on, the tests, proliferation, cold war, spying and assorted paranoia caused further incalculable damage to everything.
We know the down-side. Millions of people have already experienced it, and millions more are waiting for the symptoms to appear.
So, what's good about it?
The war was essentially over, but the Japanese were amazingly stubborn. The US had to fight for every single inch, and the fanatical Japanese fought to the last man. The US would likely have had to land troops onto mainland Japan, before they would have surrendered. Which could have led to even greater casualties on both sides. You have no idea how much longer it would have taken.

Mutual Assured Destruction, MAD, has been an amazingly good detriment to war, and brought numerous countries to the negotiating table.

Without said research there could be no Nuclear Physicist, and our understanding of the atomic world would be drastically less, thus altering our understanding of various other scientific fields.

There would be no research in Nuclear fission, and Nuclear Fusion. (Research which has the potential to create an infinite energy resource)

C02 in the atmosphere would be drastically higher, as there are no more nuclear reactors. Coal would be the only cheap energy source, and far more scarce, and lowering the amount of time to find a solution to climate change. And again, we lose possibly our best chance to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, and hopefully slow the accelerated climate change.

There are countless of things we gained from said research. It is easy to just list the negatives and claim we would be better off, but without a direct connection to jesus, its all mere speculation.

Maybe next we should crucify Alfred Noble for creating Dynamite.
Or better yet, the Chinese for inventing Black Powder.

There are countless inventions/research, possibly the majority, which were developed for the benefit of war. Are we to speculate on how much better off we would be without those?

Quote:An unanswerable argument for doing something dangerous, possibly something that will terminate all life on the planet: other stuff might be bad too.

Sociologist say that if we look back in history, no one person is significant. So even if we did not develop Nuclear Bombs during WWII, they still would have been developed, and almost certainly used. How can you say that scenario would have played out any better?

Science is merely knowledge, and information is neither good nor evil. There is no dark side to science, only dark intentions for what it finds.
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26-09-2011, 05:40 AM
 
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(25-09-2011 10:02 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  Science is merely knowledge, and information is neither good nor evil. There is no dark side to science, only dark intentions for what it finds.

mysticjbyrd, everything can be justified. Often very convincingly. This doesn’t mean that you did not make valid points. However, we are talking about the dark side of science and you are saying: “without darkness, there is no light”.

The question, as usual, is: which side wins? Is it possible that we win many battles but lose the war at the end (talking metaphorically, of course )? Will pragmatism end in a very pragmatic self-destruction?

These are all hypothetical questions, asked half in jest, not really expecting an answer, because there is no answer. We are the species we are and nothing will change that. The thread I started was not intended to save the world, it was intended to raise question marks in some young minds who still may not have made a decision on fundamental ethical issues.

Most of the threads I start here are like that: attempting to clarify issues, looking at the big picture, often in historical perspective, trying to clear up basic concepts, definitions, cause-and-effect chains, try to suggest basic principles that can help guide our lives. They are intended for individual minds, for self use.

Only 'god' can tell if I am even remotely successful! Tongue

PS. Take a look at the "Have we lost more than we gained?" thread (Post #3).
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26-09-2011, 09:26 AM
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(25-09-2011 10:02 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  The war was essentially over, but the Japanese were amazingly stubborn. The US had to fight for every single inch and the fanatical Japanese fought to the last man. The US would likely have had to land troops onto mainland Japan, before they would have surrendered.

Had to? Again, why? Japan was surrounded. If no American troops landed, whom would the Japanese fanatically fight?
The bombing was not a tactical decision but a political one: to "punish the bastards" for Pearl Harbor and to show the world who's boss.
Afterward, as winner, you can write history your own way.

Quote:Mutual Assured Destruction, MAD, has been an amazingly good detriment to war

Amazingly! That's why there have only been - what? 60, 70 wars since then?

Quote: and brought numerous countries to the negotiating table.

Which negotiating table? Had no peace had ever been negotiated without the threat of total annihilation?

Quote: Without said research there could be no Nuclear Physicist, and our understanding of the atomic world would be drastically less, thus altering our understanding of various other scientific fields.

Assertion. Based on what? Where is evidence that peaceful research can't yield results without military research going before?
Plus, we have the marvelous prospect of rogue nations letting the missiles fly, terrorists with suitcase nukes, dirty bombs, the debris left behind by testing... and a whole lot of cancer.

Quote: There would be no research in Nuclear fission, and Nuclear Fusion. (Research which has the potential to create an infinite energy resource)

Exactly! Putting Chernobyl and Fukushima on the map; setting solar, saline, methane and wind-power back a century; creating nuclear dumps nobody can approach for 50,000 years; locking energy policy into the hideously inefficient continental network mode... and more cancer.

Quote:C02 in the atmosphere would be drastically higher, as there are no more nuclear reactors. Coal would be the only cheap energy source....

And this kind of short-sighted belief system. Lots of assumptions; little imagination to consider alternatives. Like, maybe we have too much energy already and don't make the best possible use of it; more might not be good for us. A child may desire unlimited candy, but an adult will limit his access.

Quote: It is easy to just list the negatives and claim we would be better off, but without a direct connection to jesus, its all mere speculation.

Speculation is the name of the game here. It's the bad side that will kill us all, unless we are aware of the danger and do something about it, while it's only too late for the several million people it's already killed and maimed, not for the whole s/he-bang! Jesus doesn't care how we get to his house - only whether we've prayed enough beforehand.

Quote:Maybe next we should crucify Alfred Noble for creating Dynamite.
Or better yet, the Chinese for inventing Black Powder.

Crucifying people is an approach that probably wouldn't work nearly as well as thinking clearly about the down-side of whatever we contemplate doing on a large scale and putting a few safeguards in place. Like hanging people who drive out into the highway and cause accidents probably wouldn't work as well as putting Stop signs at the intersection.

"An unanswerable argument for doing something dangerous, possibly something that will terminate all life on the planet: other stuff might be bad too."
And the other one:

Quote:... even if we did not develop Nuclear Bombs during WWII, they still would have been developed, and almost certainly used. How can you say that scenario would have played out any better?

Someone else would do it
and

Quote: Science is merely knowledge, and information is neither good nor evil. There is no dark side to science, only dark intentions for what it finds.

The question wasn't about science being evil, but about science being potentially dangerous. About possible ways to control, mitigate, neutralize or minimize "the dark intentions". Awareness is better than denial.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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26-09-2011, 12:55 PM (This post was last modified: 26-09-2011 01:03 PM by mysticjbyrd.)
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(26-09-2011 05:40 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(25-09-2011 10:02 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  Science is merely knowledge, and information is neither good nor evil. There is no dark side to science, only dark intentions for what it finds.

mysticjbyrd, everything can be justified. Often very convincingly. This doesn’t mean that you did not make valid points. However, we are talking about the dark side of science and you are saying: “without darkness, there is no light”.

No, I am saying there simply is no dark side of anything,
Good and Evil is solely a human invention, and does not actually exist. We label things as good and evil based on cultural and social decisions.

Lots of things are labeled evil, but it is completely arbitrary.

Homosexuals are labeled as evil by some.
Technology is considered evil.
Human sacrifice is evil.
Science is evil.

You could go on and on. We use our cultural understanding and label various other cultural behaviors as evil. But to that culture, such beliefs/actions are quite normal.

Lol, Peterkin why is every time I say something it is mere speculation, and when you whip arguments from your ass its facts?
Every response you wrote was hogwash.

Oh ok, so "science being potentially dangerous".
You are right, we would be much better off adopting the Amish lifestyle. Billions would starve, but the planet is kind of overpopulated anyways.
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26-09-2011, 01:09 PM
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
Well, I have to agree mysticjbyrd. Bad/Good is no physical value, it depends from very various factors that you may use to describe these adj's.
USAmericans may say Hiroshima was, after all, good. Japanese, on the other side, gonna say it was bad.
FreeThinker may say, to forbid condoms is bad, Popes gonna like it.
etc.
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