Monday, 20 January 2014

Science and Modern Warfare

Science and Education Essay

Science and Modern Warfare

  Science and war are intimately connected with each other the first instance that we have in history when science became the handmaid of war was in 212 B.C. when Archimedes the great scientist helped his cousin the tyrant of Syracuse to defend the city against the Romans. Plutarch the famous historian giving an account of the engines of the destruction invented by Archimedes writes to make him some engines both the assault and defend in all manners of sieges and assaults so Archimedes made him many engines but King heroin never occupied any of them because he reigned the most part of his time in peace without wars. But this provisions and munitions of engines served the Syracuse's marvelously at that time (when Syracuse was besieged). When Archimedes fell to handle his engines and to set them at liberty these flew in the air infinite kinds of shot and marvelous great stones with an incredible great noise and force on the sudden upon the foot men that came to assault the city by land bearing down and tearing in pieces all those which came against them or in what place never they lighted no earthly body being able to resist the violence of so heavy a weight so that all their ranks were marvelously disordered. And so for the galleys that gave assault by seen some were sunk with long pieces of timber which were suddenly blown over the walls with force of their engines into their  galleys and so sunk them by their great weight. Others being hoist up by their prows with hands of iron and books made like crane's bills plunged with hoops into the sea. Others being taken up with certain engineers fastened with in one contrary to another made them turn in the air like a whirling and so cast them the rocks by the tour walls and splitted them all to fitters to the great spoil and murder and persons that were within them. And sometimes the hips and galleys were lift clean out of the water tht it was a fearful thing to see the hang turn in the air as they did until that casting their men within them over the hatches some here some there by this terrible turning they came in the end to be empty and break against the walls or else to fall into the sea again when their engine left their hold.''
Since then science has continued to play a decisive part in the war. The Greeks could keep the Byzantine empire in existence on the strength of their fire arms invented by their scientists. During the Renaissance in Europe scientists who possessed skill in scientific warfare were given high honour. Galileo get employment under Grand Duke of Tuscany mainly on account of his calculations of the trajectories of his cannon balls. During the French Revolution only those scientists who had made significant contribution to the war escaped the guillotine.
  In modern warfare the role that science plays is much more prominent than ever. In fact modern warfare may be termed as entirely a scientific warfare. The gallant officers and brave soldiers who die heroically in the battlefield do not count of much. One nuclear physicist can cause more destruction among the enemy ranks than many division of infantry. Moreover apart from such dangerous weapons discovered by science what secures success in war is not the heroic armies but heavy industries which are also products of science. During the World War II, no nation showed such feats of bravery and sacrifice as the Japanese, but they went before the Americans, because of their superiority in industrial productivity. Modern victory does not depend on material ardour but on production of steel oil, uranium, etc.
On account of the increasing role that science has begun to play in war modern warfare is highly destructive. After the French Revolution France was continuously at war with the various nation of Europe for more than twenty years but the loss of human life was nothing as compared to the loss that Europe suffered during the six years of World War II. A modern nation at war is more organized more disciplined and more completely concentrated on the effort to secure victory than was possible in pre-industrial times with the result that the defeat is more serious more disorganizing and more demoralizing to the general population than it was in the days of Napoleon.
The latest scientific inventions of the atom bomb and hydrogen bomb have caused new fears among the people and it is for the first time in the history of science that the layman has begun to look at science with extreme horror. August 6, 1945 the day the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima brought home to all mankind in a dramatic fashion the significance of science in human life. The impact of that bomb has left the people of the world stunned and confused and the laymen are frightened by science as never before. The scientists are also bewildered by the power which science has suddenly placed in the hands bewildered and humbled by their realization of how unequipped they are in terms of ethics law and government to know how to use it.
That is the first reaction of a layman to the stupendous repercussion of that bomb on Hiroshima. And the first question that comes to his mind is this. What use are radios and automobiles and penicillin and all other gifts of science if at the same time this same science hands us the means by which we can blow over selves and our civilization into drifting dust. We have always been inclined to think of research and technology as being consciously related to human welfare. Now frankly, we are not so sure, and we are troubled deeply troubled by the realization that man's brain can create things which his will may not be able to control.
One of the scientists who played a leading role in the development of the atomic bomb said to the newspapermen.'' A scientist cannot hold back progress because of fear of what the world will do with his discoveries.'' What he apparently implied was that science has no responsibility in the matter and that it plunges ahead in the pursuit of truth even if the process leave the world in dust and ashes. To ask the scientist to foresee the use the good or evil of the used to which his results may be put is doubtless beyond the realm of the attainable. Almost any discovery can be used for either social or anti-social purposes. The German dye industry was not created to deal with either medicine or weapons of war and yet out of that industry came our sulphur drugs and mustard gas. When Einstein wrote his famous transformation equation in 1950 he was not thinking of the atomic bomb but out of the equation came on of the principles upon which the bomb was based. Willard Gibbs was a gentle spirit whose life was spent in his laboratory at Yale University and who never dreamed that his work is mathematical physics might have even a remote relationship to war and yet it is safe to say that his ideas gave added power to armaments of all nations in both World War I and World War II.
The real difficulty lies in the fact that the good and evil that flow from scientific research are more often than not indistinguishable at the point of origin. Generally speaking they are by products or they represent distortions of original purpose none of which could have been foreseen when the initial discovery was made. We are thus driven back to a question of human motives and desires. Science has recently given us radar jet propulsion and power sources of unprecedented magnitude.
What does society want to do with them? It can use them constructively to increase the happiness of mankind o it can employ them to tear the world to pieces. There is scarcely a scientific formula or a process or a commodity which cannot be used for war purposes if that is what we elect to do with it. In brief the gift of science can be used by evil men to do evil even more obviously and dramatically than they can be used by men of good will to do good.
The scientists cannot of course be hold responsible for the dilemma facing mankind when there is a positive danger of the extinction of life on this planet by means of the latest scientific inventions. A considerable number of scientists who were connected with the atomic bomb project have openly expressed their apprehension of the consequences of their own creation. ''All of use who worked on the atomic bomb. said Allison of the university of Chicago had a momentary feeling of election when our experiment met with success but that feeling rapidly changed to a feeling of horror and a fervent desire that no more bombs would be dropped.'' But speaking truly we cannot absolve the scientists from some measure of responsibility for they are men of superior training and insight and we are entitled to look to them for help and leadership more help and leadership than have thus far been given. They should follow the example of the great scientist. Farady who when consulted as to the use of poison gas in the German War replied that it was entirely feasible but was to be condemned on grounds of humanity and his opinion prevailed.
In order to save mankind from extinction which result from use of scientific inventions for the purpose of war somehow or other the society must assume that responsibility. The towering enemy of mankind is not science but war. Science merely reflects the social forces by which it is surrounded. When there is peace science is constructive. When there is war science is perverted to destructive ends. The weapons which science gives us do not necessarily create war they make war increasingly more terrible until now it has brought us to the doorstep of doom.
Our main problem therefore is not to curb science but to stop war to substitute law for force and international government for anarchy in the relation of on nation with one another. That is a job in which everybody must participate including the scientists. But the bomb on Hiroshima suddenly woke us up to the fact that we have very little time. Now we are face to face with this urgent question. Can education and toleration and understanding and creative intelligence run fast enough to keep us abreast with our own mounting capacity to destroy.
Bertrand Russell one of the greatest of modern philosophers referring to the dilemma that faces mankind today on account of the scientific inventions of the atom bomb and hydrogen bomb has painted a gloomy picture of the future. The atom bomb and still more the hydrogen bomb have caused new fears involving new doubts as to the effects of science on human life. Some eminent authorities including Einstein have pointed out that there is a danger of the extinction of life on this planet. I do not myself think that this will happen in the next war but I think that it may well happen in the next but one if that is allowed to occur. If this expectation is correct we have to choose within the next fifty years or so between two alternatives. Either we must allow the human race to exterminate itself or we must forgo certain liberties which are very dear to us more especially the liberty to kill foreigners whenever we feel so disposed. I think it probable that mankind will choose its own extermination as he preferable alternative. The choice will be made of course by persuading ourselves that it is not being made since (so militarists on both sides will say) the victory of the right is certain without risk of universal if so it is to science that we will own its extinction.
''If however the human race decides to let itself go on living it will have to make very drastic changes in its way of thinking feeling and behaving. We must learn not to say never better death than dishonor. We must learn to submit to law even when imposed by aliens whom we hate and despise and whom we believe to be blind to all considerations of righteousness.
''If human life is to continue in spite of science mankind will have to learn a discipline of the passions which in the past has not been necessary. Men will have to submit to the law even when they think the law unjust and iniquitous. Nations which are persuaded that they are only demanding the barest will have to acquiesce when this demand is denied them by neutral authority. I do not say that this is easy. I do not prophesy that it will happen. I only say that if it dos not happen the human race will perish and will perish as a result of science.''

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