Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weapons of Mass Destruction

This week we had a fantastic double feature on our hands dealing with World War II era warfare and the introduction of weapons of mass destruction.  The first film,"Fat Man and Little Boy" dealt with the Americans behind the first two atomic bombs and what it was like for a team to be working on such a weapon.  The film began to focus on the moral dilemma of having a weapon that could wipe out hundreds of thousands or even millions of people at a time.  The scientists working on the project began questioning their actions and what they were working on  while the military leaders were mostly pushing for the weapon to be completed, even though Germany had surrendered by this time.  This brings up the moral question, is it right to have a weapon of mass destruction or weapons at the disposal of one man or one country?  "Gojira" attempts to answer this question with a single scientist and his own weapon.  In this film, Godzilla is destroying Japan and taking thousands of lives, a single scientist has created a weapon that can kill the monster while doing research on oxygen but is reluctant to use it because he knows that after he does the leaders of the world will want to use it against other humans.  You can see that the plot from both films begins to converge on this moral dilemma.  On one hand you could let more people die while trying to stop the monster or country slowly.  On the other hand you can destroy the monster in one or two foul swoops but wipe out countless lives in the process.

If I were a scientist doing research that may go into weapons of mass destruction I would most likely stop, contributing to the creation or advancement of such weapons just seems inhumane.  There is no reason to build a weapon that could wipe out millions of human beings, the majority of which are not even combatants but citizens.  I would not be OK with this kind of research but if for some reason I did contribute I would embrace it.  A scientist should never have regrets or doubt themselves in what they do, even if it has terrible outcomes.  A scientist should always live up to their mistakes and either learn from them or suffer the consequences of such actions.  In light of this, if there is a way to avoid the damage or at least reverse it, I would personally try to do one of those things in order to make amends for the possible mistakes to be made.  If working on weapons was the only position for a scientist to take then I would most likely switch fields, I would not mind working on weapons if they were for combat use only and could lead to easier victories but if they are weapons of mass destruction intended on wiping out civilians then I would be forced to decline.  Thankfully, even though weapons have advanced greatly since WWII there have not been anymore nuclear attacks on any nations or aggressors and there does not seem to be any immediate danger regarding such attacks. If such weapons were to fall into the hands of the morally corrupt then concern would be well established but what would be the proper retaliation in this situation?  Dropping more bombs would only lead to more loss of life and the possible end of the world but if nothing is done to stop this kind of aggressor then they would continue to take lives as well.  Here we have a grey area that should not exist, the creation of atomic bombs is a great mistake in human history, I believe that without them the world would feel much safer.  

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to think that nuclear weapons would not have been developed eventually. Shortly before WWII, scientists were beginning to understand the inner workings of atoms and their nuclei. Einstein had already discovered his equation E = m c^2. Robert Oppenheimer and other astrophysicists were working on understanding how stars produced their tremendous energy. The promise of nuclear fission and fusion were staring scientists in the face at that point. Any number of them could have foreseen the weapons potential; it's hard to think none of them would have pursued it.