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Re: Don't Fear Atheism.

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on February 17, 2001 19:37:26 UTC

During my career as a scientist- I am now retired from it- I was involved with big government science. My experience there taught me that science can restrict freedom of thight just as much if not more than religion, for the government has more control over our lives than religion usually has.

Let me give you an example. In 1980 my research indicated that high powered lasers would not be effective because of the diffraction effects of atmospheric turbulence heated by the laser. I communicated this to DARPA in a coded private letter to the person in charge of all laser projects supported by the govt in this country.
The result of this communication was that I was fired for my position as a private contractor.

Here is another. While working at MIT, I found out that the re-entry discriminant that BMD was counting on would not work. I was in charge of theproject at that time. I gave an in-house private briefing of my results. The result of my conveying the truth was no pay raise and a shift in my duties.

Here is another. While still a student, actually a Raytheon Fellow, I was given the task to analyze the power requirements for a radar put in the back end of an RV to scatter from the plasma wake during re-entry and thereby measure its electron density. Using the Hankel transform and the assumption of a parabolic electron density dist. I could solve the problem exactly. My results indicated that the radar would atmost get one range gate of measurements as the beam wuld be rapidly defocussed out of the wake.

MY memo of this analysis was surpressed and I was removed from that project as Raytheon was trying to sell the govt the radar to do that job. They succeeded and the experiments flew. Out of 6, one range gate was seen 4 times and 2 range gates once. In the final report Raytheon referenced my memo saying that they knew it all along.

There are a few more instances, but you get the idea by now. My experience indicates that science can suppress freedom of thought just as readily as religion. We really do need checks and balances. And if one side or the other gets complete control, the consequences are dire.

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