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News There is research and then there is military research.

  1. Jul 14, 2004 #1
    Who here thinks NASA should be given more money and the US military a whole lot less?

    I know I do seeing how I'm a pacifist and don't believe in war. I know most people would never completely drain the military of funding. But really its got way to much funding, I mean its not like people are waking up in their sleep worring if America is going to be invaded by North Korea. I think people will be suprised by how little trouble there is and how much bad guys will leave you along if you're neutral.

    Besides couldn't you save more lives if you spent 100 billion dollars fighting cancer which could save millions than created a new stealth fighter that might save 30 pilolts' lives?

    What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2004 #2


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    The technology developed by the military is quite frequently adapted to civilian purposes. As long as the bulk of their funding is devoted to research and development, I have no major problem with it in principle, though I don't approve of the deficit spending necessary to maintain the budget they currently have.
  4. Jul 14, 2004 #3
    I think we gain more from military research. It isn't just about ICBM missiles.

    Besides, wasn't the origin of the whole rocket industry based on military applications? I would bet we gained more in ten years of WWII military research than any other ten year stretch in history.

    The success of military research is staggering. War induces progress. It's a sad fact, but it's still a fact.

    What is there to believe? That war doesn't exist? That war wouldn't exist if only we stopped participating?

    I think your view is very naive. The United States in 1941 was relatively pacifist, yet we ended up fighting for the next four years regardless.

    War is like a disease. You can say "I don't believe in disease" all you want, but the disease is there regardless.

    The same was said about Japan in the 1930s. In fact, the America First campaign read just like your statement.

    In truth, we cannot live in a vacuum. And the world would not want the US to look away when the bad guys begin pillaging.

    For one, Serbia would have wiped out the Muslim population in the Balkans. Kuwait would now be a province of Iraq (and the Kuwaitis slaughtered).

    By definition, you are an Isolationist. I think we have proven many times over that withdrawing into our own border ultimately bites us in the end.

    This assumes that a cure exists and that we could find it. But look at how much money we threw at finding an AIDS cure. Today, no such cure exists.

    I don't believe there is a cure for cancer. I think we can stop it once it starts, but cancer will always be a huge killer of the world's population because the disease's origin is based on the very nature of human cells. In this way, cancer is unlike AIDS. You can cure AIDS once people change their behavior.

    My motto is to keep the powder dry. Every time we have lapsed on military spending we have paid for it in the end. WWI caught us completely unprepared, as we couldn't envision fighting overseas for foreign countries. After WWI we disarmed, thinking that the Great War ended all wars. Surely countries had learned their lessons. Besides, we had the League of Nations, right? So we got caught with our pants down at Pearl Harbor. After WWII we disarmed once again, and dearly paid for it in South Korea.
  5. Jul 14, 2004 #4
    Umm... YEAH! If everyone stopped participating then yes there would be no war. Look don't act smart and I won't give you smart remarks back. Its blindly obvious thats not what I ment. It means I don't believe in particapating in warfare. Not that it doesn't exist.

    Really now? Didn't they just get done fighting WWI? I think the word you're looking for is "passive," not "pacifist," there is a difference.

    First off it wouldn't have "bitten" us at all seeing how Kuwait and the Balkans aren't in American

    Look if they want to slaughter themselves I won't stop them by force. You wonder why these poor defenseless countries sometimes get threatened with slaughter? Because usually they've done something to initate it. The reason Serbia started genocide was because the Muslims fought back with the same violence the Serbs showed to them!

    Read up on Mahatma Gandhi. He was a pacifist and he liberated India from the British that murdered thousands of Indians.

    Noticed I never said "cure" I said "fight." There have been major break throughs in cancer treatment and AIDS treatment in the last 20 years. Are you saying we will never ever in a thousand years find anything that could help some with cancer live a lot longer by fighting/removing cancer through newly invented methods?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2004
  6. Jul 14, 2004 #5
    Gandhi did no such thing. India gained independence because of British losses in Asia during WWII. (The British gave up Burma the same year as India, 1947. I suppose Gandhi liberated Burma as well.)

    In fact, the British pretty much gave up all of their colonies after WWII, India included.

    Well, I draw a distinction between saving lives (your quote) and extending lives. If the person dies from cancer and you helped him live five years longer, I don't think you can be credited with saving his life. So that is why I substituted the word "cure," because that is the word we typically associate with saving lives.
  7. Jul 14, 2004 #6
    So doctors don't save lives? I disagree.
  8. Jul 14, 2004 #7
    Doctors save lives all the time, just not when they postpone the inevitable.
  9. Jul 24, 2004 #8
    there are a lot fewer people dieing of cancer now then there were 50 years ago because of research. people who have had cancer have been rid of it because of research. whats the point in doing any medical research of we only extend life? the point is the extra years a person has to live.
  10. Jul 24, 2004 #9
    That wasn't the point of our discussion, which centered around the term "saves." In short, if you find you have cancer and the doctor allows you to live (say) two years longer than you would have normally, then I don't consider that a case where the doctor saved your life.

    This thread has grown into a debate over semantics, that's all.
  11. Jul 24, 2004 #10
    how many years must a life be extended to be saved? untill the person dies of another cause?

    military research is good for scientific development but there are better ways to spend money if the issue is making life better for people
  12. Jul 24, 2004 #11


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    No offense, but the clarification (he knew what you meant) is just as bad as the blunt statement. Good luck trying to convince everyone to stop participating in war. Sorry, but like it or not, war exists and is going to exist for a long time. We need to be prepared for it. Even Clinton eventually realized he needed the military - and he was one of the most ant-military presidents we have ever had.
    The US isn't 1940s Switzerland and no amount of wishful thinking will make us 1940s Switzerland. Neutrality didn't work in 1939 or the US, now that we have international air travel, its not going to get any easier.

    Having the biggest economy in the world means we trade with virtually everyone. If we don't like a country, we can certainly choose not to trade with them (Cuba), but since we have so much money, just not trading is considered a hostile act. Also, trading means giving countries money to do the things those countries will do. If those countries massacre civilians while using an American trade surplus to keep their economy from collapsing (China), or make clothes in sweat-shops (pretty much all of SE Asia), that matters to me. But thats not all:

    I believe in the Moral Imperative. We have a moral obligation to help countries such as Yugoslavia, Somalia, and Rwanda. Why? Because we can. To sit by and watch a genocide, famine, and another genocide when we have the power to stop it is morally wrong.
    And I think that's horribly, horribly naive. Beyond the difficulty in simply being neutral (who are we going to buy oil from if not Kuait?), its not possible to remain neutral when dealing with an enemy who's primary beef with you is that you exist.
  13. Jul 25, 2004 #12
    Essentially, yes. Now if the disease relapses, and then later comes back and claims the victim, well... okay.

    Suppose you pull a drowning victim out of the pool, but he later dies on the way to the hospital. Did you save his life? No, but your tried to save his life. That alone is noble.

    Depends on what you mean by "better."
  14. Jul 25, 2004 #13
    Hello Entropy,

    Umm, if you didn't realize it those astronuats who fly those missions are the elite of the US Airforce & US Navy. Although the scientists are mostly civilians, besides some of those research labs may be of the military or government likewise. (not all are civilian or academic labs/contractors)

    I myself would like to see a government entity like NASA, but for the Oceans. Yes there are numerous smaller research outfits, and oil / natural gas energy companies. But, nothing of a similar magnitude of NASA for the seas.
  15. Jul 25, 2004 #14
    I don't expect everyone to stop fighting as I said in my very first post.

    I don't see your point.

    I though I already explained this. Here it is again:

    Look I'd never kill someone else (I mean anyone) even if were to lose trade, luxuries, freedom, money, family and just about anything else. I know I couldn't kill for my family because I know they share the same beliefs as me. Trying to stop people from doing evil things is good and all, but sinking down to their level and killing for what you think is righteous only encourages other people to kill for what they think is righteous.
  16. Jul 25, 2004 #15
    this same reasoning could be used for explaining that a person who had a heart transplant durring childhood and died of heart complications at the age of 85 didnt have their life saved at all and that mearly extending life is not good enough. although the nobility of the effort was commendable
  17. Jul 25, 2004 #16


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    The same level? How can you compare killing a murderer who is in the process of murdering to the mass slaughter of innocents?
  18. Jul 25, 2004 #17
    We would still be British if we followed your example.
  19. Jul 25, 2004 #18
    When did I say that merely extending life was not good enough? Extending people's lives is very much a good thing.
  20. Jul 25, 2004 #19


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    And the French would speak German.

    Entropy, it nice that you live in a place and time when that kind of thought works for you, but it hasn't always worked for anyone and won't ever work for everyone.
  21. Jul 26, 2004 #20


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    I usually stay out of political discussions, but I couldn't resist on this one. Are you aware that the Department of Defense also funds civilian research? Much like NASA, the DOD funds a variety of research programs. I don't think I would say it's an either/or situation between funding military or NASA, and if military funding were cut, I think there are better places to put that money than NASA anyway. If you want to see funding for cancer research, NASA sure isn't where you want the money to go. Get them to increase the NIH budget if that's what you want.

    It's my selfish interest to see more spending on research, but my less selfish side recognizes there are other places where I'd rather see money go, such as for secondary education, or just pay down the national debt so we aren't spending so much in interest payments!
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