Jul 27, 2017

do you think that Nuclear weapons should be abolished? Why or why not?

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Nuclear Bomb


For this essay you must reply to this post and provide answers to the questions below. A discussion of nuclear chemistry can easily lead into a discussion on weapons and war. In turn, the availability of weapons technology raises many ethical issues. For example most people would accept the need for armed forces for national defense, but might question their use in aggressive military operations elsewhere in the world. The existence of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction also suggests more fundamental ethical questions. Nuclear bombs use the force that holds the nucleus of an atom together. They use the energy released when the particles of the nucleus are; a) Split apart (nuclear fission) or b) Fused together (nuclear fusion). Nuclear Fission is used in an Atom Bomb and Nuclear Fusion is used in a Hydrogen Bomb. The explosion of a nuclear bomb can have particularly devastating effects in terms of immediate casualties and longer term health effects. Albert Einstein developed his famous equation E=mc2 in 1905. This equation explains how a vast amount of energy E could be released from a small amount of matter m (c = speed of light). Einstein did not build the atomic bomb, and the detailed engineering needed for its development during the Second World War did not require the existence of his equation. However, by 1939 Einstein (now living in the US as Nazi Germany had become unsafe for Jews) and other physicists were convinced that the Nazis were on the verge of building their own nuclear bomb. They wrote a letter to President Roosevelt urging him to build the bomb as a deterrent to possible Nazi nuclear aggression. Einstein himself was convinced that the bomb would never be used – especially never three months after the surrender of Germany. QUESTIONS/ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS: What ethical questions should scientists consider when their research could be used to develop such horribly destructive weapons? Many of the scientists who worked on the development of the atomic bomb were swayed by the argument of “proportionate means”. This is the idea that the benefits of using the bomb must outweigh its costs – it must prevent more human suffering than it causes. Spend some time looking at some of the historical documents (found at http://www.dannen.com/decision/) which describe how the decision was made to drop the bombs. Are you convinced that the benefits outweighed the costs? Since Nuclear Weapons were first developed in the 1940’s strong views have been expressed by supporters and opponents (look at http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_details.php?topicID=47 to see some of the arguments for and against the abolition of nuclear weapons). Having read some of the arguments for and against, do you think that Nuclear weapons should be abolished? Why or why not?


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