Andy Foster wrote:
"Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day. The Hiroshima prefecture health department estimated that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness."
That is a very very effective killing machine. The fact that it may have ironically stopped wars because everyone is so frightened of it is accidental (though fortuitous).
Whilst bearing in mind that the atomic bomb was not available until the end of the war, it was only responsible for about 250,000 deaths of a total of 75 million or so during the second world war. Tens more millions of people have died in conflict since them, all killed by conventional and not atomic weapons. Of course, every single death - let a lone a quarter of a million - is a tragedy, but it seems clear to me that atomic weapons have nothing to do with conflicts starting and tens of millions of people can be killed over relatively short periods of time by conventional means. Had the Americans not forced the Japanese surrender by dropping the bombs, the conflict would have gone on longer with land invasions and inevitably thousands of deaths [perhaps more than were killed by the bombs]. The underlying problem is not the posession of atomic weapons, but the conflict itself.
To claim that atomic weapons prevented war by accident is simply counter-factual given that mutually assured destruction was official policy throughout most of the cold war and drove the development of atomic weapons.
Andy Foster wrote:
You seem deliberately to misunderstand arguments. Why? My simple point was that the postwar generations had less trust for scientists than their predecessors, because science had produced this monstrous method of death. The fifties, in many ways a happy era, were destabilised by the fear of the bomb. And I think that fear has lessened because of our distance from 1945, so the sometimes rather naive progressive faith in science has reasserted itself. That was all.
Perhaps you believe this nonsense, but you apply it in a very convenient manner. I imagine you have a modern refrigerator, washing machine, radio and possibly colour television. You obviously have a computer and internet access and use electricity from a power grid in part fed by nuclear power stations. You have written about having a car and having undergone an operation, which would have involved a number of technologies developed since 1945. In other words - you seem to trust scientists enough to accept any and all technology that makes your life easier and more pleasant. Conveniently your alleged distrust is aimed at rather obscure targets whose removal is unlikely to affect you personally [the removal of one mobile phone mast is unlikely to make a vast difference]. I suppose you draw some sort of parallels between the radiation from nuclear weapons and mobile phone masts - even though these are completely different types of radiation. The radiation associated with mobile phones is likely to be as "dangerous" as the radiation in radio signals or indeed visible light. Your microwave is certainly more dangerous.
Derog, this is pointless, and I'm stopping here. I'll make two points only.
1. This started with a mobile phone past proposal and Brigid's reaction. I'm not saying she was wrong. I'm not saying I think they're dangerous. I just mentioned that I'd offered political advice: that even if you think people are wrong, they're your constituents and you need to help them.
2. I've tried to give you a history lesson about postwar attitudes. I was there. I was brought up in a very political house. I can remember the endless TV news programmes about nuclear weapons in various ways: test ban treaties, proliferation, CND, Aldermaston marches. I'm just telling you that it changed attitudes to scientists. If you don't want to believe it, that's your right. It's just what happened.
That's it, because this is way OT, and every simple sentence I write seems to wind you up to think it says three things that it doesn't. I wish we had met, because my posts seem to start an antagonism in you, which I think would disappear if we actually talked face to face over a pint. But there we are.