Category SfP Bulletin May 1986

The President's Corner

This is the last “President’s Corner” I shall write. Within a few days there will be a new president with whom we can share the job we set out to do.

As an organization we have grown and developed more sophistication about the search for an end to the arms race. As individuals we have surely learned how to combat frustra­tion, impasse and pessimism, or we would not be claiming to end a “successful” year and looking forward hopefully to the next. The “real world” is more perilous than it was a year ago and the only way to survive in it is to generate hope from our combined efforts to “do something about it”.

Ray Kapral and John Dove provide some summaries of our structural and financial state. Science for Peace is “fitter” in both respects. The number of members who have assumed responsi­bility for the tasks necessary to reach this state are too numerous to mention. Suffice it to say that we have extremely capable and creative members. At least a partial record of their creativity is available in a catalogue of members’ publications which appears this month.

Through these pages I have attemp­ted to explore with you some aspects of the responsibility of scientists for the arms race and its consequent threat of the final holocaust. Of special concern to us, of course, is the disavowal of responsibility by scientists on the grounds of the im­perative that science be “value” free, that scientific cognition be divorced from ethical commitment. This is in­deed the way the matter appears if science is conceived as consisting of so many areas of expertise and the role of the scientist as one of using his expertise to answer questions put to him by whoever has the authority to do so.

The matter appears otherwise if science is conceived as a collective enterprise dedicated to truth rooted in experience that can be shared by everyone, the results of which can improve the quality of life for all, not just some human beings.

Today the dominance of the first ethic I described allows scientists to be coopted into the service of war machines. Career opportunities mean much to young scientists whose pros­pects outside the weapons labs are not bright. Mature scientists with a flair for organization are seduced by the opportunities to become leaders of large scientific enterprises. The creative ones are seduced by challen­ging problems. All this busy-ness, and the glamour of the trappings of being with the powerful insulate the scientist from thinking about the end result of all this feverish activity. Thus, the Orwellian language of the defence community is not challenged by the scientists who benefit from being a part of it or by those compelled to work for it.

The alleged insoluble problem of “getting the genie back into the bottle” is a pseudo-problem. One need not “disinvent” the guillotine to refrain from chopping people’s heads off. The oft-repeated question “What if, after nuclear disarmament, nuclear armament starts again?” should not block action toward disarmament. When a physician is saving the victim of an accident from bleeding to death, he need not answer the question, “What if the victim has another accident?”

In the April issue of PHYSICS AND SOCIETY is an article, “Cost of Get­ting the Scientists Away from Weapons Research”, wherein author Vladislav Bevc suggests, “If we are interested in getting the scientists away from weapons research and development we must find a place for them where they can work in their fields and make a decent living at par or better than what the military can offer.” It’s an intriguing challenge for an organiza­tion like Science for Peace.

-A.R.

(The President’s Corner this month is abstracted from the president’s report to be presented in full at the annual general meeting.)

Science For Peace AGM

May 10, 1986, 2pm
Combination Room
Trinity College, University of Toronto

Chapters

The Ottawa Chapter has successfully completed its trial run of giving a peace award at the Ottawa Regional Science Fair. Joined by INPUT, Educa­ting for Peace and an anonymous donor, we gave awards of $100 each in two age categories. Winners were A. Johnson (Junior Physical Science), “Les agents preservatifs de nourriture chimique, physique et naturel”, and M. O’Brecht (Intermediate Engineering),“Windmills, Sail Wing and the Edmo Rotor”.

In cooperation with the Youth Science Foundation we shall now pro­ceed with setting up a major award at the National Science Fair in 1987. This must involve selection and nomination of suitable projects from regional Science Fairs by our chapters and members, whom we shall contact in the next few months.

- J.M. Neelin

The New Brunswick Chapter has in­volved itself in the same program — we look forward to sharing their report in the next issue.

Toronto Chapter’s AGM (May 1) saw the election of a new executive: Chester Sadowski, chairman; Terry Gardner, v. chair; Arnold Simoni, v. chair; Phyllis Creighton, secretary; John Buttrick remains treasurer.

The Chapter’s very successful lec­ture series which it co-sponsors with the Toronto Chapters of PSR and Lawyers for Social Responsibility will continue through May.

Visit The Exhibit At Robarts Library Before The Annual Meeting On May 10. 2 pm.

Treasurer's Report

During the past two years Science for Peace has witnessed a substantial growth in its membership and in the variety of activities that are sup­ported. The increased membership has resulted in a steady growth in finan­cial contributions to the organization as is demonstrated by the following annual private sector donations:

1983: $6,800 1984: $6,900 1985: $17,700 1986: $19,000

This has made possible the regular publication and distribution of the Science for Peace Bulletin, which has become a major medium of communication among members of the organization. In addition,a variety of other activities such as peace lectures, initiation of research activities, award of science project prizes and presentation of Science for Peace views to government and other agencies, etc., have been supported.

These figures do not reflect the entire scope of funding of Science for Peace activities. In addition to di­rect private sector contributions, chapters and individual members of Science for Peace have sought and received grants far in excess of the above figures for funding of confer­ences, lectures and research on peace related topics.

There are now many regional chapters throughout the country; this has necessitated a financial restructuring of the organization. A substantial portion of Science for Peace income is now transferred directly to the chap­ters. Consequently, chapter finances are now part of the general audit.

In more specific terms, it paid for one aircraft ‘carrier traveling at 16 knots, to move 8.4 feet!

A detailed financial statement for the 1985-86 year will be prepared shortly by the auditor.

On a more personal note, T want to express my appreciation to Gwen Rapoport and Maureen Kapral for all of the assistance that they have provided over the past two years. Without their help I would have found the job impossible.

- Raymond Kapral

Newsworthy

Dianne DeMille has been named editor of the new quarterly publication of CIIPS, the very handsome jour­nal Peace & Security, whose Vol.1, No.1 appeared in spring, 1986. Design and production is by the Spencer Francey Group, Ottawa/Toronto.Invited articles in the first issue examined Canada’s role in NORAD (David Cox), the outlook for Guatemala (Tim Draimin) and pros­pects for East-West summitry (Paul Marantz).

Write Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, 307 Gilmour St., Ottawa K2P OPT. No charge.

Luis Sobrino (BC Chapter) has made a videotape on “Star Wars” for PSR, which he will copy and mail on request if you cannot acquire it through a PSR Chapter near you. Write Prof. Sobrino c/o Dept. of Physics, UBC, 6224 Agri­culture Rd., Vancouver, B.C. V6T 2A6.

From either Prof. Sobrino or from the SfP national office you can get copies of the following papers:

  • The Cruise Missile: A Canadian Perspective,
  • The U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative: Should Canada Participate?
  • CFMETR: Ethical and Moral Considerations.

(The tapes from the People’s En­quiry into the CFMETR held at Nanoose Bay, B.C., should be ready this month. To order a copy, write to CIPA, Box 82 Gabriola, B.C. VOR 1X0. $10.)

Sahabat Alan Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia

Greetings and best wishes from us here at Sahabat Alan Malaysia! We write with reference to request for infor­mation materials to help us in our research, documentation, studies, library, etc. We at SAM would like to introduce you to our organization and its work…Its main objectives are the collection and dissemination of infor­mation pertaining to development and environment issues and investigating, reporting and making representations on environmental issues in the region.

- Sahabat Alan Malaysia 37 Lorong Birch 10251 Penang

CIIPS nominees

In response to an invitation from Secretary of State for External Affairs Joe Clark to nominate candi­dates for appointment to the board of directors of CIIPS, the SfP board offered in nomination:

Reappointment of incumbents Dr. Margaret Fulton, Dr. William Epstein (SfP members), Ms. Joanna Miller and Mr. Gwynne Dyer; and Prof. Ursula Franklin and Dr. Don Bates (SfP members).

Jan Van Stolk, MD., Edmonton, has taken up the presidency of PSR/Canada from Vancouverite Dorothy Goresky, MD, this month. SfP board member, Mary Heiberg, MD, Toronto, continues on the board. Good luck to PSR, and we hope the closer working relationship between Science for Peace and PSR forged in the past year will continue to grow.

Connie Gardner calls our attention to the publication of Worldwatch Institute’s STATE OF THE WORLD annual report by Les Brown. Before the year is out, STATE OF THE World will be printed in nine languages, find its way into 122 nations, total sales of 150,000 (3 versions in China), serve as a textbook in 170 American colleges and universities.

Brown contends that the meaning of “national security” has changed in the past few years and the superpowers were so busy building weapons they did not notice. “Global geopolitics,” he writes, “is being reshaped in a way that defines security more in economic than in traditional military terms.”

Available at your local bookstore for $12.95 Cdn, or try your local library. (At Britnell’s in Toronto.)

Secretary's Report

As your Secretary, I shall concentrate in my report on organiz­ational aspects of Science for Peace. It is very pleasing to be able to tell you that, while there have been no spectacular changes in Science for Peace during the past year,I believe that there has been steady progress in working – towards our aims and in improving our effectiveness as an organization.

The holding of regular meetings of the Board during the past year has been an important change in our way of operating. It has helped to bring more people into the centre of our activities, and has provided valuable advice on the many issues which have confronted us.

Chapters

The effectiveness and activity of our Chapters is a key aspect of Science for Peace. The formation of new and strong Chapters in Ottawa and Toronto, and the promise of another in Winnipeg, is therefore important news. In Toronto, the active role being taken by the new Chapter is setting the National Office free to expend more of its energy on truly national and international issues.

Conferences

Science for Peace is sponsoring the Conference on Accidental Nuclear War in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia on May 26-30, 1986. Under the able leadership of Professor Michael Wallace, the organizing committee has put together an impressive list of speakers including Bruce Blair, Paul Bracken, Ashton Carter, Brian Crissey, Lloyd Dumas, Daniel Frei, Martin Hellman, Johan Niezing, Severo Ornstein, Anatol Rapoport, Bruce Russett, Roger Schank, Linn Sennott, Henry Thompson, and Joseph Weizenbaum. The conference promises to make an outstanding contribution to understanding the problems and dangers of accidental nuclear war, which may be one of the greatest current threats to the world.

The Vancouver conference is being supported financially by the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, the Disarmament Fund of the Department of External Affairs, and — to a modest extent — by Science for Peace itself. I would like to pay special tribute to the very positive attitude of the officers and staff of CIIPS and to the moral and practical support that they have given in setting up the conference.

Science for Peace is holding a much more modest meeting in Toronto on May 8, 1986, at which a group of experts on atmospheric modelling, atmospheric chemistry, combustion science, and international politics is to discuss “Nuclear Winter and the Nuclear Deterrent”. The focus of the meeting will be an interesting and imaginative proposal by Dr. Don Bates for a “nuclear winter deterrent”, a scheme which is intended to reduce the incentive for a nuclear first strike and hence to lessen the instability inherent in any international crisis involving nuclear powers However, the meeting will also discuss recent developments in modelling the global effects of a nuclear war, and related strategic and political issues.

You will see, from the report of our President the great amount of dedicated and imaginative hard work of many talented people that is at our disposal. Our treasurer has shown you that, while we are certainly not rich and still must husband our financial resources very carefully, members are making significant sacrifices to help to keep the work going. At the same time, it is impossible not to be concerned at the enormous disparity that still exists between the needs for work towards the peaceful util­ization of science and the resources at our command to meet those needs. For example, looking at the list of staff of my own University, I am constantly struck by the large number of persons who basically agree with our aims but yet have not taken the step of actually joining us and supp­orting our work directly. Clearly there is still a great challenge to bring in many of these people and to strengthen further our overall effectiveness.

- John Dove

(This is an abstract of the complete report of the secretary, which will be presented in full at the AGM May 10.)

Notes

John Polanyi, “Time for More ‘NO’ in NORAD?”, reprint from the Globe and Mail, 2/12/85. Available from the national office.

Anatol Rapoport, Two articles from the Encyclopedia of Peace Science (Ed. Ervin Laslow), Game Theory and Aggres­sion. Available from the national office.

Between

We are the Maginot Line,
The No Man’s Land,
The Uncounted Country.

To our south the Land of Opportunity,
Suffused in the Glory of Self image,
Interpreting innate violence
as God’s unfolding purpose.

To our north the Puritans,
Clean of motive,
Dedicated to wiping slates clean,
to scour and flagellate,
To redeem makind in spite of itself.

Canada,
Inclined to tolerance,
Trapped between ideologues,
Struggling to continue undestroyed,
Hemmed in by despots.

— Murray Wilton March 31, 1986

Nuclear Arms: Threat to our World

…an exhibition first held during the UN Special Session on Disarmament in 1982 opens to the public in Toronto May 9 and continues through May 17.

Presented by the UN Department of Public Information; sponsored by the University of Toronto, the City of Toronto and Soka Gakkai International (Tokyo),

On view at the John P. Robarts Research Library, 130 St. George St.

Exhibit hours:

Monday – Thursday, 10am – 9pm
Friday, 10am – 6pm
Saturday, 9am – 5pm
Sunday, closed.

With the cooperation of the cities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, York, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, the Borough of East York, the UN Association, TDN, Now Rooz Cultural Foundation and Science for Peace.

On Deterrence

Excerpts From The American Methodist Bishops’ Pastoral Letter:

“We have concluded that nuclear de­terrence is a position which cannot receive the church’s blessing.

“Nuclear deterrence has become a dogmatic license for perpetual hosti­lity between the superpowers and for their rigid resistance to significant measures of disarmament.

“Nuclear deterrence has too long been reverenced as the idol of national security. In its most idola­trous forms it has blinded its propon­ents to the many-sided requirements of genuine security.

“Justice is offended by the double standard under which some nations pre­sume nuclear weapons for themselves while denying them to others. Justice is defiled by the superpowers’ impli – cation in conventional arms races and proxy wars in the third world, causing much present suffering and threatening escalation into a nuclear war.”

Letters

Liked Watkins letter

Richmond, Ky, USA

“We read your Bulletin with interest each time, and especially liked the letter from Mel Watkins on the first page of the newest one. Thanks for all the effort and time you put into getting this out!”

- Connie McLanahan

Swarthmore Peace Collection

Swarthmore, Penna, USA

“The Swarthmore College Peace Col­lection is an archival library whose purpose is to collect and preserve the records of organizations and individu­als active in the peace movement on a national and international level. We are very interested in your periodical Science for Peace Bulletin.”

- Mary Ellen C. Clark
Ass’t to the Curator

The Right Sort of Initiative

Geneva, Switzerland

I am writing to you with regard to your letter, with your colleagues John Polanyi and George Ignatieff, of March 25 to Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union in the April issue of the Science for Peace BULLETIN. This is precisely the sort of initiative which is desperately needed at this time – regionally, nationally, international­ly. I would like to suggest that per­haps the work could be taken one step farther in an effort to expand aware­ness of public opinion; such letters be published in as many newspapers as possible. My deep concern is that people are not being reached – all of those people beyond the periphery of groups working for disarmament and peace.

- Sally Curry

To: The Honourable Brian Mulroney Prime, Minister

Dear Sir:

The United States’ attack on Libya has roused grave concern among members of Science for Peace, especially in regard to the role Canada may play in the aftermath. We have attempted to report in the enclosed document some of these concerns.

John Dove, secretary George Ignatieff, director Anatol Rapoport ,president

cc: The Hon. John Turner
The Hon. Edward Broadbent

Enclosed:

On Terrorism

The essential features of terrorism are (1) contempt for law and for any non-violent conflict resolu­tion and (2) use of violence to demon­strate the power to kill.

The US attack on Libya has both of these features. The stated goal of checking further acts of international terror is not likely to be realized. On the contrary, further acts of senseless violence can be expected. And even if, contrary to expectations, Gadaffi and others like him are intimidated for a while, the attack on Libya amounts to condoning terrorism rather than deter­ring it, because the attack will, by its very “success”, give encouragement to those who despise law and reason, those who use every opportunity to demonstrate the power of violence.

If contempt for the law is the mark of the terrorist, then the US has acted like a terrorist. By using unilateral threats and violence it contributes to further weakening of the United Nations and other interna­tional fora, thus destroying still-cherished hopes of instilling some measure of respect for law and reason into relations among states.

When Canada approves such adven­tures, the country is tainted by the Image of the US as an international bully. The credibility of her ex­pressed readiness to work for a peace­ful, law-abiding world is impaired. Canada ought to assert her integrity and her friendship with the people of the United States and of Libya by refusing to condone Ronald Reagan’s indulgence in reckless, provocative and dangerous outbursts of violence.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scien­tists, Vol 42, No 3,carried an article on R&D spending in the USA. Based on the data presented (Nat’l Science Foundation Report 85-322), I calculate that since 1980, expenditure (constant dollars) for military R&D has in­creased by 108%, that for non-military R&D has decreased by 22%

Even more astonishing is that the military R&D is now estimated to be 72.7% of the total.

- John Dove

Surviving as a species

I really like the way the BULLETIN has developed. There seems to be a common trend in the recognition of the complexity of the problems which we face in surviving as a race, or rather species. It seems to be a question of brain power out of control.

The scientific approach is usually to restrict the variables in order to find the effect of one or two of them on a given system. The question facing us is to understand the overall picture and implement solutions. The Bulletin is helping.

- C. Leroy Saunders

Full text version of all articles from SfP Bulletin May 1986. A PDF edition is also available.

Science for Peace Bulletin | ISSN 1925-170X (Print) | ISSN 1925-1718 (Online)