Date: Fri Nov 5 10:38:36 1999
Posted By: Dan Berger, MadSci Admin
Area of science: Other
This is not a question to which "science" per se can give an
There are many examples of slavery in both human and nonhuman nature.
It is a lie to say that slavery is immoral because it is
economically inefficient; a number of instances from both human and
non-human history show that slavery works pretty well (at least for
the slaveowners). Beyond that, science can say nothing.
Science is unable to make any sort of moral pronouncement
(unless "moral" is rather radically re-defined). Individual scientists are
moral or immoral, but they bring their morality (or lack of it) to science
from elsewhere, they do not get it from science.
As an example, consider
All were excellent nuclear physicists; all were offered the
chance to work on the atom bomb.
- Meitner refused because she considered war immoral.
- Oppenheimer consented because he considered it a greater evil for
Germany to get the Bomb first, but was horrified by the results.
consented because he thought it important for the democracies to be as
militarily strong as possible, and not only considered the use of the Bomb
to be morally correct but also thought that the development and threatened
use of the hydrogen bomb was moral because of the results: use of the A-bomb
"ended the Second World War" (this is disputed by some historians)
and the power
of the H-bomb prevented all-out war between the Soviet Union and the United
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