Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
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27-01-2012, 03:53 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(27-01-2012 03:49 PM)germanyt Wrote:  today the mere presense of nuclear weapons is what stops people from using them.

You mean that if we did NOT have nuclear weapons, people would want to use them?
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27-01-2012, 03:56 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(27-01-2012 03:53 PM)Zat Wrote:  
(27-01-2012 03:49 PM)germanyt Wrote:  today the mere presense of nuclear weapons is what stops people from using them.

You mean that if we did NOT have nuclear weapons, people would want to use them?

Of course! We don't have transporters or tractor beams and we want to use them.Angel

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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27-01-2012, 03:57 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(27-01-2012 03:51 PM)Zat Wrote:  
(27-01-2012 03:43 PM)germanyt Wrote:  What about the person who makes the butter knife that someone else uses to stab someone?

A butter knife has a sane purpose: spread butter.

A nuclear bomb has only an insane purpose: destroy cities and the planet.

You can't destroy the planet with a butter knife.


Both can exist without hurting anyone. As for guns, they served multiple purposes. Protection, hunting, recreation, etc. Guns are not built to kill people. No gun manufacturer hope that their guns ever have to be used to kill someone.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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27-01-2012, 03:57 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
I have no choice but to quote more from my book:

Nothing highlights the issue of “Ethics of Science” as well as the dilemma confronting scientists in the Manhattan Project was. The justification for developing nuclear weapons was almost overwhelming. None of those great scientists contributing to it were evil or greedy monsters.

What they were is unbelievably naïve as we can see from their writings after the atomic bomb became a reality and they felt horrified by what they had done and scrambled to influence national policy in a positive direction.

After the Nagasaki bombing, members of the Scientific Panel – Lawrence, Oppenheimer, Compton, Fermi -- wrote a letter to the authorities in Washington, saying, among other things:

Quote:“The development, in the years to come, of more effective atomic weapons, would appear to be most natural element in any national policy of maintaining our military forces at great strength; nevertheless we have grave doubts that this further development can contribute essentially or permanently to the prevention of war. We believe that the safety of this nation – as opposed to its ability to inflict damage on an enemy power – cannot lie wholly or even primarily in its scientific or technical prowess. It can be based only on making future wars impossible. It is our unanimous and urgent recommendation to you that, despite the present incomplete exploitation of technical possibilities in this field, all steps be taken, all necessary international arrangements be made, to this one end.” (Richard Rodes: “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” pg 751)

Robert Oppenheimer expressed his fears more forcefully on his last day as director of the Manhattan Project:

Quote:“If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of a warring world, or to the arsenals of nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the name of Los Alamos and Hiroshima. The people of the world must unite, or they will perish. This war, that has ravaged so much of the earth, has written these words. The atomic bomb has spelled them out for all men to understand.” (Richard Rodes: “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” pg 758)

Some of the scientists disagreed. Edward Teller (who later lead the effort to develop the hydrogen bomb) wrote:

Quote:“The reason they gave just made me mad…The important thing in any science is to do the things that can be done. Scientists naturally have a right and a duty to have opinions. But their science gives them no special insight into public affairs. There is a time for scientists and movie stars …to restrain their opinions lest they be taken more seriously than they should be.” (Richard Rodes: “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” pg 770)

This opinion was expressed, much more forcefully, by Nikita Khrushchev to Andrei Sakharov (father of the Russian hydrogen bomb, who later became a prominent dissident) when Sakharov suggested suspension of further tests:

Quote:“Sakharov writes that we don’t need tests…He’s moved beyond science into politics. Here he’s poking his nose where it doesn’t belong. You can be good scientist without understanding a thing about politics…Leave politics to us – we are the specialists. You make your bombs and test them, and we won’t interfere with you; we’ll help you. … Sakharov, don’t try to tell us what to do or how to behave. We understand politics. I’d be a jellyfish and not the Chairman of the Council of Ministers if I listened to people like Sakharov” (Andrei Sakharov: “Memoirs” page 216)

Translation: “give us the weapons we want and shut up about what to do with them”. What the naïve scientists did not realize was the unfortunate fact that they were talking to madmen intent on exploiting the terror they had created and maximize the profit they could make from this terror.

Oppenheimer wrote about his feelings after the successful first test:

Quote: “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.” (Richard Rodes: “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” pg 676)

There are many reasons why scientists decide to participate in weapons development. Here are a few of them:

· We need it to defend our nation
· These weapons will prevent war
· The enemy won’t stop, so we can’t either
· If I don’t do it, someone else will
· It is a great challenge and “super physics”
· Nobody else would fund my research
· It’s the only job I could find
· It’s a living
· It is fun!

A few of these arguments sound convincing and did convince superb minds back in the 1940-s to develop nuclear weapons for the first time in human history. What many scientists don’t realize is the simple fact that arguments are dime a dozen. Anything can be justified by clever demagogues if they pick their facts and reasons carefully, omitting anything that contradicts their pre-conceived conclusions.

And this is precisely what scientists should never forget: the arbiter of any theory is experiment. Arguments aside, the world did not face total destruction before nuclear weapons were developed. Now it does.

As Richard Rodes writes in “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” (pg 784):

Quote:“…the death machine that we have installed in our midst will destroy the nation-state, ours and our rival’s along with most of the rest of the human world. The weapons with which the superpowers have armed themselves – collectively the equivalent of more than one million Hiroshimas – are linked together through their warning systems into a hair-trigger, feedback-looped contrivance, and no human contrivance has ever worked perfectly nor ever will. Each side is hostage to the other side’s errors. The clock ticks. Accidents happen.”

Nothing will change this fact!

Yes, the war may have lasted longer without it (historians seriously doubt it), yes, there may have been another world war or two without nuclear deterrent, instead of the many, many small wars all over the world that killed millions since WWII.

But humanity would not face the possibility of extinction today, if scientists refused to participate in that ‘superb and magnificent’ project of evil and insanity.

The ethics of science that should be taught to science students all over the world should be the same as the Hippocratic Oath taught to medical students: “First, do no harm!”. Say no to weapons research, say no to projects that could harm the environment, that would cause pain and suffering to life on this planet.

Nothing can be simpler than that.
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27-01-2012, 03:59 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(27-01-2012 03:53 PM)Zat Wrote:  
(27-01-2012 03:49 PM)germanyt Wrote:  today the mere presense of nuclear weapons is what stops people from using them.

You mean that if we did NOT have nuclear weapons, people would want to use them?

No. I mean the threat of nuclear retaliation prevents anyone from using one offensively. Look at Iran and Israel. Neither of them will ever launch a nuke at anyone. Because they know that if they do their entire nation will be decimated by a defensive nuke.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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27-01-2012, 04:07 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
Anyway, in my previous post I have said all I wanted to say on justifying my #1 rank in the OP. Yous do not have to agree with me.

Let's see how others play the blame-game? Big Grin
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27-01-2012, 04:42 PM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2012 06:33 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
Chas is correct, in my opinion. The principles of nuclear physics would have been discovered sooner or later, and are simply a small part of mankind's upward slope of knowledge of the way the universe exists. Einstein realized what they had done at the beginning of the Manhattan Project, and tried to intervene with Rooseveldt to put it to an end..or at least get him to think about it.

I disagree with the premise.

(It's "forest for the trees").

1. Why do you feel the need to "blame" any...(one) THING. The question of how we arrived at our present "situation" is far more complex than any ONE factor.

2. Who says we are in a "mess" anyway ? What "mess" ?

You wouldn't be here, most likely to experience the "mess" without science. More than likely, without science, (antibiotics), you would be dead from septic shock, secondary to one of the multitude of bacterial infections you have had over your lifetime, without antibiotcs, and for example, dentistry, and surgery. We take our knowledge base for granted, and fail to "appreciate" it.

We forget that in infintessimally short time ago, we thought the earth was the center (of a very tiny) universe, (we thought). An even shorter time span ago, we did not know we were in an arm of a boring galaxy. A tiny, tiny span of time ago, we did not know there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. 25 years ago we did not know the universe was expanding. 20 years ago they were debating Dark Energy and Dark Matter. Computing power doubles every year, and is about to become "implatable" into human nervous, (computing), systems. You carry it around now in your pocket, 10-20 years from now it will be implanted into your head, and in your contact lenses.

What is the pattern ? The pattern is a parabolic, geometrically upsloping, increasing knowledge base, which could give one great optimism.

One of the great leaps forward, will be the recognition of the implications resulting from "first contact". All the old paradigms, (nationalism, "salvation", isolationism), will fall apart, instantly crumbling.

Read Ray Kurzweils's "The Singularity is Near", and CHEER UP !!!
Want some popcorn ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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27-01-2012, 05:33 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(27-01-2012 04:42 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Want some popcorn ?

No, thank you.

As I said, I used my arguments, carefully researched and considered. If they don't convince you, nothing further I could possible say will.

But thanks, anyway! Big Grin
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27-01-2012, 05:53 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(27-01-2012 05:33 PM)Zat Wrote:  
(27-01-2012 04:42 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Want some popcorn ?

No, thank you.

As I said, I used my arguments, carefully researched and considered. If they don't convince you, nothing further I could possible say will.

But thanks, anyway! Big Grin

Bucky makes a good point. You haven't actually defined 'mess'.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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27-01-2012, 06:07 PM
RE: Whom do you blame for the mess we are in and why?
(27-01-2012 05:53 PM)Chas Wrote:  Bucky makes a good point. You haven't actually defined 'mess'.

If you read my posts carefully, Chas, 'mess' will leap out at you in vivid colours! Smile
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