“Fat Man and Little Boy” and “Gojira”

Thematically, this week’s double feature deals with the morality of having scientists design and build weapons of mass destruction. Many scientists who do this hide behind one of the moral shields presented in “Fat Man and Little Boy”: the scientists are only responsible for developing the weapons, not using them. Other scientists openly embrace their role. Edward Teller was one prominent Manhattan Project scientist who felt that the only way to keep the world safe was for the United States to have weapons of such terror that no other nation would dare step too far out of line. Even after WWII ended, Teller advocated further development of atomic and then nuclear weapons. In a very real sense, he was the architect of America’s modern nuclear arsenal. Still other scientists have felt that there is no way to divorce the results of such weapons’ use from their development, and therefore have refused to work on weapons-related research. (Sadly, that right to refuse to work on weapons research is not afforded to scientists of all countries.)  Clearly, “Gojira” takes the position that the scientists of the Manhattan Project are just as morally culpable for the bombing of Japan as the politicians and military generals who conceived of and planned the actual bombing.

Assignment: You have a two-part assignment again this week, with a blog post and a written assignment. For the blog post, you have a choice:

Option 1: Compare and contrast the moral positions of the scientists in “Fat Man and Little Boy” and “Gojira.” I want you to go into some detail of the various positions and discuss their moral defensibility.

Option 2: Discuss the science of the Godzilla monster. Before embarking on this option, you should first read Ch. 4 of ISMP.

Please post your blog by Sunday, 29 Oct.

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