Ralph D, particle physics, and BS

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Tue Jun 20 08:47:41 MDT 1995

Jorge, I'm not sure I understand. No doubt science has been used to do
dreadful things. But do you mean to say that, e.g., E=mc2 is false or
doubtful because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? I would have thought that the
atom bombings are horriofic confirmations of the theory.

--Justin Schwartz

On Tue, 20 Jun 1995 Jorge.E.Pedraza at williams.edu wrote:

> 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.
> Jorge
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