Can Science End War? (New Human Frontiers)
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Free-roaming killer drones stalk the battlespace looking for organic targets. Human combatants are programmed to feel no pain. Highpower microwave beams detonate munitions, jam communications, and cook internal organs.
Is this vision of future war possible, or even inevitable? In this timely new book, Everett Carl Dolman examines the relationship between science and war. Historically, science has played an important role in ending wars – think of the part played by tanks in breaching trench warfare in the First World War, or atom bombs in hastening the Japanese surrender in the Second World War – but to date this has only increased the danger and destructiveness of future conflicts. Could science ever create the con-ditions of a permanent peace, either by making wars impossible to win, or so horrific that no one would ever fight? Ultimately, Dolman argues that science cannot, on its own, end war without also ending what it means to be human.
secure for over 200 years. The French cannon, with a different kind of fill, might give Charles the advantage he had so long sought. Charles’ army of experts replaced stone ammunition with giant iron balls that could smash mortar and stone 34 Is War Good for Science? battlements with ease. Finally ready, Charles led an army of 50,000 men accompanied by 36 cannons down the spine of Italy (Volkman 2002: 63–4). Having just comfortably outlasted a seven-year siege, it is likely the defenders of
likely, when investigating phenomena of interest, to adapt successful methods and techniques from other scientific disciplines. One of the sciences most benefited from the cruelties of war, if beneficial is the appropriate term, has been medicine. The concentrated mass of 78 Can Science Limit War? casualties from battle gives surgical experience to doctors and the desperate need for saving combatants’ lives and returning them to the front lines opens up new realms of experimentation and
avoid crashing into something or someone, a possibly undesirable intent of such an action. With more powerful lasers – and these are available commercially as well as in restricted defense laboratories – the victim could be permanently blinded. From a harsh military perspective, permanently incapacitating the enemy’s troops may put a heavier burden on them than simply killing them, and could be justified as militarily expedient. The enemy must still care for its wounded, with no hope they will
four seconds of exposure can cause blistering on the skin. Longer and more powerful beams could be fatal. Fortunately, ADS has other very desirable military capabilities. Very strong microwaves can be used to 100 Can Science Limit War? detonate improvised explosives and even minefields, and so ADS at the front of a column of trucks providing military supplies or humanitarian relief could reduce the likelihood of a roadside bomb interfering with the operation. Of course, the microwave beam
2006: 45; Landes 1983: 78–9). The formula for gunpowder had been revealed, and technology developed for an entirely unrelated purpose was eminently adaptable to war, but one more ingredient was necessary to complete the transition. The famous battle of Agincourt (1415) had rattled all of European nobility by placing yeomen armed with the unique English longbow at King Henry V’s service. As many as 18,000 Frenchmen, including more than 1,200 mounted knights, arranged themselves in preparation for