We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The noble six

Forty-two US Nobel Prize winners have signed a declaration denouncing any unilateral, pre-emptive strike by the US against Iraq:

“The undersigned oppose a preventive war against Iraq without broad international support. Military operations against Iraq may indeed lead to a relatively swift victory in the short term. But war is characterized by surprise, human loss, and unintended consequences. Even with a victory, we believe that the medical, economic, environmental, moral, spiritual, political, and legal consequences of an American preventive attack on Iraq would undermine, not protect, U.S. security and standing in the world”.

The Nobel laureate who wrote and circulated the declaration is chemist Walter Kohn of the University of California at Santa Barbara, a former adviser to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Other signatories include physicists behind the nuclear research that ended the Second World War. Hans Bethe was an atom bomb designer and Norman Ramsey was part of the Manhattan project to build an atom bomb.

“We are a group of bright people who have had very relevant experiences. We hope to contribute to the sharpness of the discussion.”

Yeah, right, we wish. However, all is not lost. Apparently, six Nobel laureates refused to sign the declaration. According to Kohn their reasons were a lack of faith in the UN, a desire to avoid mixing science with politics and a fear of appeasing Iraq. Seems like a sound bunch of scientists to me (I am, of course, only assuming that they are scientists). Unfortunately, I could not find their names anywhere as the only source of the report seems to be New Scientist. If anyone knows who they are and what they said, I would be interested to read their comments in full.

In any case, it looks like the well-meaning Nobel-prize-winning professors have struck a bonanza in signatures. Last time I looked their support form had about 1360 signed and counting in just a couple of days! Well done. Only, it seems that most of the ‘signatories’ appear to be Raelians adding their own garbled and emotionally incontinent messages…

They are all stark raving mad. Bloody marvellous!

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14 comments to The noble six

  • Felonious Punk

    I fail to see how great knowledge in chemistry or physics lends authority to political analysis. Maybe it’s the celebrity? Works for the actors I suppose.

  • The people who worked on the atomic bomb have probably given a great deal of thought to politics in the last fifty-odd years. Perhaps it’s not much, but I’m much more willing to listen to them than Sean Penn.

  • Jay N

    Some poor work from scientists here. Proposing a hypothesis with no supporting evidence, no theoretical framework and involving such intangibles as ‘surprise’ and ‘spiritual’.

    The only thing predicted here with any confidence is a swift victory!

    Utter pointless nonsense.

  • Sandy P.

    “We are a group of bright people.”

    Ah, the ivory-towered elitists. We know so much more than you, therefore you must listen to us, we know best.

    But can they balance their checkbooks?

    And I’d be interested in knowing their “relevant experiences.” They’ve worn burquas? They’re muslim?

  • “The undersigned oppose a preventive war against Iraq without broad international support.”

    Thus implying that they do support war with Iraq if there is broad international support. I’ve also seen that kind of language from various socialists who are anti-war when there’s a Republican president (but don’t care when it’s a Democrat).

    Personally I find that kind of talk rather disgusting, along with the blather about UN resolutions and inspections. The question of whether or not the US should attack another country is a US matter, and the UN should certainly not be encouraged to stick their noses in.

  • The people working on the Manhattan project also signed a petition. It’s a good thing Truman didn’t listen to it.

  • Felonious Punk

    “The people who worked on the atomic bomb have probably given a great deal of thought to politics in the last fifty-odd years. ”

    I know, they thought out loud all throughout the Cold War, too. And pretty much all of those ideas were wrong, as history bore out.

  • Yeah, it’s a great thing that hundreds of thousands of people died a horribly painful death from U.S. nukes.

  • Felonious Punk

    You’re right, Lucas. Bombarding Japan with kindness instead would have undoubtedly led to a better conclusion of the war and oh how much better we would have gotten on the with Soviets afterwards.

  • War holds so much less surprise when the Germans and the French have given their permission for it. The human loss is so much less, as well. And those pesky unintended consequences go clean out the window!

  • Fred Karno

    Does anyone else find it ironic that a declaration by scientists (self confessed “bright people”) seems to have attracted support mostly from nut-case Raelians? Maybe they could stop the war by cloning so many Saddams the Americans couldn’t bomb them all….. it’s at least as logical as some of their comments…..

  • One of their students

    As a former student of more than one signer, I signed their petition thus:

    “Does yesterday’s declaration of support from 8 (now make that 11) European leaders constitute ‘broad international support?’

    Appeasement failed in 1939 and it will fail today. You’re smart guys — I know, I worked with you — but you’re dangerously wrong on this issue.”

    One Of Your Students

    Just another “bright person” trying to do my part.

  • Yeah, it’s a great thing that hundreds of thousands of people died a horribly painful death from U.S. nukes.

    As opposed to the hundreds of thousands who would have died on both sides? Yes, it is a great thing.

  • molly

    yeah, just another example of the reason why we must never leave to running of our lives to self-described “experts”. well done the six!