Scott Smith wrote:Pumpkin wrote:
This is a purely rational approach. One might put moral aspects on it as well. And moral always involves ignoring the consequences in favour of some blind "principle".
Yes, and also a very "Bourgeois" way of looking at the world.
I have take a master in economics and finance, so I might very well be infested with some hidden bourgoise frame of thought! But, most of all, I am appealed by rationality. Finance is just a rational approach to analysing cash flows. The fact that financial economics is based on rational analaysis should not be an argument against applying rational analysis in other areas. Whatever opinion one has on economic politics.
Those are good points and I am not against a rational or even a "Bourgeois" approach myself. I would only caution that what is "rational" in the short term may not be so in the long term, particularly if uncertainties are involved (as is often the case with financial markets). A wartime expedient that might seem vitally important at the time may not be so at a later date. For example, atomic experimentation during the Cold War might have been a necessity then, though it appears silly and even immoral now. Of course, we understand the effects of radiation and so on today but it was then a big puzzle.
Pumpkin wrote:Personally, I think that those research results should have been allowed to be used after the war. Mainly because a repetition of the experiments that leads to such results might not have influenced the incentives for repeating such experiments. It would hardly have discouraged the Soviets from conducting similar experiments, for instance.
Does anyone know if there actually were any restrictions on the use of knowledge from such experiments in the US an UK after the war? If not, it doesn't seem to have given much of incentive to repeat such experiments, so after the fact, it seems to have been the correct call.
I think the whole question of whether or not to use the famed Nazi data is a red-herring. By implying that there is usable data that could be used somewhere, it tells us that yes, there was human medical experimentation--even if there isn't. Therefore, the atrocity propaganda stories are supported factually even where this is not the case. Sort of Veritas in Uno, Veritas in Omnibus:
if one claim is true then they all MUST be true, however absurd. They are the nasty-Nazis after all, and atrocity propaganda is grist for the mill.
First of all, what do we mean by this data?
It is normal for government medical authorities to gather epidemiological data on soldiers, patients, prisoners, etc., and this is not the same as human medical experimentation, necessarily. The origin of the English word STATISTICS comes from gathering data useful for the STATE. Florence Nightingale was able to show statistically that due to disease, life in the barracks was far more dangerous for an English soldier than campaigning in the Crimea! Certainly during WWII the German Sanitätsarzt were gathering data of all kinds to control disease in the camps.
Secondly, human medical experimentation goes on all the time; it is perhaps even less regulated than animal experimentation on the basis that a human can theoretically say NO. The Nazis did have anti-vivisection laws on the books to protect animals. Himmler at least claimed that the human medical experimentation was conducted only on criminal prisoners and only voluntarily in exchange for favors. The more the risk the more the reliance on condemned prisoners. Now, of course, irrespective of Himmler's word on this, it can be argued as to how much free-will prisoners or soldiers (or students in need of cash) really do have. But that is a separate issue to whether human medical experimentation should be done at all and whether data should be thrown-out if conducted unethically or if danger and suffering were involved.
To my knowledge the only data that we are referring to is the well-known Luftwaffe high-altitude and hypothermia experimentation. This was a goldmine for the U.S. Air Force after the war. Shirer's nonsense notwithstanding, any other Nazi data I am not aware of; and indeed, because of that fact I am extremely skeptical of other atrocity tales.
So, if we want to debate whether to use this data or not, then WHERE is it?
Sure, the Nazis used no scientific method; they just horribly tortured their enemies, the Jews, for the fun of it in the name of science--and then we ask whether it is ethical to use these chimerical data or not. Absurd.