Short Paper about Group Darwinism in the Manhatten Project Era college
topic: History of Science in the 20th Century
During WWII, while there was still a global threat by the Stalin and Hitler, the scientists who could, flocked to the United States and worked on the Bomb Project. Science could not exist in an atmosphere that exists under an oppressive dictatorship.
formats: Adobe PDF (30.2kB), PostScript (54.4kB), TeX (2.8kB) 1995-12-06 quality 4

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\rightline {Zak Smith}
\rightline {December 6, 1995}
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During WWII, while there was still a global threat by the Stalin
and Hitler, the scientists who could, flocked to the United
States and worked on the Bomb Project.  Science could not exist
in an atmosphere that exists under an oppressive dictatorship.

Since it was in the vital interest of each of these scientists that
science not be destroyed by the world domination of Hitler, and they
were many times feeling direct pressure in the form of 
purges such as the one at G\"ottingen.  They thought Atomic
weapons were possibly and that if Hitler had one, he would surely
overtake the world.

From another standpoint, viewing the entire scientific community
as a single entity following a certain ``group Darwinism,'' it
seems only proper that they rallied behind the US Bomb Project
so that their {it if there was to be a bomb\ } a country
that fostered an attitude more conducive to Science would control it.

Once this direct threat was shown to be false, that Germany
would not have a bomb and that the US would not need such a weapon
to win the war, many scientists disagreed with the decision
to continue to build the weapon, and then go ahead and use it.  The
scientists saw no need to use the weapon, or even finish building
it, if the possibility of another power creating one was small.

The mistake they made was assuming that the military and government
had the moral sense and vision that they did.  It is easy to see
the folly of the government.  They assumed that it was some
``American Secret,'' how to build the bomb, instead of just applied
physics.  They got too big for their britches and assumed that
no one else {\it could\ } build such a weapon in less than 10 -- 15
years.

This assumption, and the general hailing McCarthyism in the postwar
period helped the decisive, and in hindsight blind, conviction of
the Rosenbergs.

The arms race, in which the super-powers created increasing amounts
of more and more destructive and evil weapons is another example
of their folly.  Surely the use of even one of these weapons in
a populated area would be do destructive that in the best case,
a couple million people would be killed and a city destroyed, and in
the worst case there would be retaliation and hundreds of millions
would die in just a few hours, while the impact on the 
environment would probably end up killing billions more in the future.

The dismissal of Oppenheimer is characteristic of this reactionary
McCarthyist atmosphere.  He gave his work everything during the
Bomb Project, and then was later fired because it was fashionable.

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[Zak Smith] [zak@computer.org] [/~zak/documents/college/hsci-group-darwinism/tex]
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