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But Aren't The Results About The Same?

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on July 10, 2002 22:54:05 UTC

Hi Mike,

Aren't we trapped in Prometheus' dilemma? If we don't try to versteh what is going on, we are no different than the cattle that are munching in the pasture. I guess that's okay because that's the way life has operated in this world for billions of years up until the brief recent instant when people began making an attempt at understanding what is going on.

But as soon as you discover fire, you burn a few people along with keeping others warm and safe.

This morning on NPR I was introduced to Fritz Haber. He discovered a way of fixing nitrogen from the air in large quantities and at resonable cost. Now, was that a good thing to discover and start doing? Well, the application of his discovery has, so far, fed about 2 billion people (mostly in China I think) who would otherwise have starved to death. But on the other hand, his discovery was used to make chemical weapons that were used in WWI and still threaten us today. So was Fritz a good guy or a bad guy? How do you think he would be "looked upon...by saints, angels, ancestors, and decendents"?

Personally, I think science, and the attempt to understand what is going on, is good. But I also think that scientists need to step up to much more responsibility to predict and publicize the potential of their discoveries for evil and to do the hard work of making our laws make sense in the face of the new information.

Warm regards,

Paul

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