Ralph D, particle physics, and BS

Jorge.E.Pedraza at williams.edu Jorge.E.Pedraza at williams.edu
Tue Jun 20 06:42:30 MDT 1995

I hate to get involved in this fray, but I can't he*lp it....

Rahul says:

>Now that you raise the subject, well, I wouldn't say anything
>categorically, but, in fact, we see in history that changes in moral
>knowledge (i.e., slavery is wrong, women and men are equal, etc.) often
>coming about because of technological changes that depend on changes in
>scientific knowledge. One could make a reasonable, if not quite fully
>convincing, case for technological change's being the main agent of social
>change. It's interesting in this context to note Marx's remark to the
>effect that the _real_ revolution going on was the one in technology
>(c.1860? does anyone remember the exact quote?)

I think it's interesting how physicists asserting the primacy and value of
science and its vaunted method of ignoring "the big picture" in order to
procede rarely talk about the most concrete contribution physics has made
to our 20th century...nuclear bombs.  It hasn't even come up once in this
whole string.  The hand-maidens of science indeed.  Science has a most
ignoble history of 400 years (much longer than that if you think of warfare
in general) of collaboration with the technology of wafare and oppression.
I often hear physicists talking about a "brain strike" were something like
the final stages of the development of the atom bomb at the threshold of
WWII to occur.  Yeah, right.  I can just hear the specious argument in just
such a circumstance..."but this reasoning is just not scientific!!!"

If you have integrity Rahul, you will treat this question seriously.  Think
before you shoot.


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