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Heisenberg, genius and idiot at the same time

  1. Jul 29, 2012 #1
    I knew that Heisenberg did not emigrate when the Nazis took power, but I was shocked to learn that he tried to help the Nazis get the atom bomb. This is textbook irrationality. Here's one example of irrational behavior.

    1. You want A
    2. B prevents the acquisition of A
    3. You do B
    4. Therefore you can't have A

    That's what Heisenberg did. If Hitler actually obtained the bomb via Heisenberg then Heisenberg's more important goals, notably staying alive, would have become impossible.
     
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  3. Jul 29, 2012 #2

    phinds

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    I think you are CONSIDERABLY oversimplifying a complicated situation. Very easy for us to armchair moralize after the fact.

    Also, I do not at all follow your logic in saying that if Hitler has gotten the A-bomb via Heisenberg, then Heisenberg would have found it impossible to stay alive. What's that all about?
     
  4. Jul 29, 2012 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Perhaps the OP is presuming a name like Heisenberg must be Jewish?
     
  5. Jul 29, 2012 #4
    No, No
     
  6. Jul 29, 2012 #5

    DaveC426913

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    OK, well phinds' challenge still stands. How would Hitler's victory have prevented Heisenberg from staying alive?
     
  7. Jul 29, 2012 #6
    Moralizing before the fact is not all that hard. I opposed the war on Iraq and Afghanistan because I know that dropping bombs on innocent civilians is not moral. In the same way, Heisenberg, just as Sophie Scholl knew, should have known that when your own government starts putting innocent civilians into concentration camps, and it started after Kristalnacht, then something is wrong.
    I'm guessing H wanted A which would be study QM, live a reasonably comfortable life and be viewed as a decent person. Anyone who could think their way out of a paper bag could have seen the writing on the wall that when you declare war on the UK and the US and Russia and their allies, countries with roughly 4 times the manpower of your own, that you're doomed for failure. This is B, helping the Nazis try to win the war. B makes A impossible because you can't live a comfortable life when armies are invading your country, nor can you be viewed as a decent person for helping such monsters.

    It should also be pointed out that he H served six months in jail for his behavior. I can't believe you guys are coming to the defense of H.
     
  8. Jul 29, 2012 #7

    phinds

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    So now you've changed your tune and are no longer saying it would make it impossible for him to stay alive, just that it would make it hard for him to live a comfortable life or be viewed as a decent person. All of THAT I would agree with but it has nothing to do with your statement that it would be impossible for him to stay alive. Try to stick to one argument at a time.
     
  9. Jul 29, 2012 #8

    DaveC426913

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    You take it as a foregone conclusion that no sane person in the late 30's/early 40's could have seen Hitler as a man leading their country out of ruin.

    No, Hilter did not hynotize tens of thousands of germans into following him.

    Perhaps you should ask them for their side of the story before you assume everyone must have thought the way we do with a half century of retrospection.
     
  10. Jul 29, 2012 #9
    No intelligent person supported Hitler. You can't be intelligent and support Hitler at the same time. You can be intelligent and believe that opposing him might get you thrown in jail but you can't think that supporting Hitler is an intelligent thing to do.


    Phinds, poor choice of words on my part. When I said "notably his life," I meant "most notably" which means his life among other things. Plenty of people died for their support of Hitler, including about 120,000 citizens of Dresden.
     
  11. Jul 29, 2012 #10

    DaveC426913

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    Prove it.
    I have corrected your statement.
     
  12. Jul 29, 2012 #11

    phinds

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    Utter nonsense. You're using 20/20 hindsight. Germany was a terrible mess in the 20's and into the 30's and most Germans saw Hitler as a savior at first.

    Of COURSE he was one of the most despicable men in history, but that's what we know NOW, not at all what Germans knew for some time into his reign.
     
  13. Jul 29, 2012 #12

    Give me a break. Did you support Glen Beck? Take a look at how easy it is to not support Glen Beck. Hitler was much further to the right given the mainstream of his day than Glen Beck is to us. All of Hitler's nonsense was written down right in Mein Kampf, and I've read a few chapters of that book, he made no attempt to hide his intentions. I speak German and if you listen to his speeches, he doesn't say anything other than a bunch of slogans and clichés which is what US politicians do pretty much now. Anyone who could think the incredibly obvious thought: if a politician writes a book, then maybe I should read it in order to find out what they really think, could have easily deduced that Hitler was a madman. Hitler openly declared a whole other race subhuman. It doesn't take much intelligence to determine that such a concept is far from sensible.

    I'm out of this debate, I've got better things to do.
     
  14. Jul 29, 2012 #13

    Evo

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    You can be intelligent and insane. You can be intelligent and evil. You can be intelligent and afraid. You can be intelligent and caught up in a movement.

    Many intelligent people supported Hitler for different reasons. Many intelligent people did not support Hitler, but felt they had no choice.

    You have to understand the times. The poverty. The need of many to feel good about themselves again. And with the growing appeal, recognizing the danger in opposing.

    When Aushwitz was freed, the local German population was made to go through the camp, they had no idea of the horrors that went on there. Surely they had some idea, the trains full of people.

    But propaganda was huge.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
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