In The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes talks about Neils Bohr and his ideas regarding harnessing atomic energy. Specifically Niels Bohr argued the advent of nuclear bombs would force nations around the world to be honest and cooperate. Consequently the faults in politics would be exposed and social progress would be made:

Bohr talked to George Marshall after the war[…]. “What it would mean,” he told him, “if the whole picture of social conditions in every country were open for judgment and comparison, need hardly be enlarged upon.” The great and deep difficulty that contained within itself its own solution was not, finally, the bomb. It was the inequality of men and nations. The bomb in its ultimate manifestation, nuclear holocaust, would eliminate that inequality by destroying rich and poor, democratic and totalitarian alike in one final apocalypse. It followed complementarily that the opening up of the world necessary to prevent (or reverse) an arms race would also progressively expose and alleviate inequality but in the direction of life, not death.

Whether or not the armament of atomic bombs provoked these changes in the world can be argued, regardless, this is a story and there is a moral to find here. As we become more proficient in manipulating science to our use and become more and more powerful, we are forced to take a step back. We are forced to realize the drastic consequences that can occur misusing our science discoveries. On the other hand if we implement them and use them wisely, our science discoveries can provoke social changes. To put it succinctly the pursuit of science leads us down a path of social progress that would be unattainable otherwise.

In The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes talks about Neils Bohr and his ideas regarding harnessing atomic energy. Specifically Niels Bohr argued the advent of nuclear bombs would force nations around the world to be honest and cooperate. Consequently the faults in politics would be exposed and social progress would be made:

Bohr talked to George Marshall after the war[…]. “What it would mean,” he told him, “if the whole picture of social conditions in every country were open for judgment and comparison, need hardly be enlarged upon.” The great and deep difficulty that contained within itself its own solution was not, finally, the bomb. It was the inequality of men and nations. The bomb in its ultimate manifestation, nuclear holocaust, would eliminate that inequality by destroying rich and poor, democratic and totalitarian alike in one final apocalypse. It followed complementarily that the opening up of the world necessary to prevent (or reverse) an arms race would also progressively expose and alleviate inequality but in the direction of life, not death.

Whether or not the armament of atomic bombs provoked these changes in the world can be argued, regardless, this is a story and there is a moral to find here. As we become more proficient in manipulating science to our use and become more and more powerful, we are forced to take a step back. We are forced to realize the drastic consequences that can occur misusing our science discoveries. On the other hand if we implement them and use them wisely, our science discoveries can provoke social changes. To put it succinctly the pursuit of science leads us down a path of social progress that would be unattainable otherwise.

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