Oppenheimer: The Dilemma of Scientific Power

David Buller reflects on the blockbuster biopic about “the father of the atomic bomb” and how it gives an urgent warning about scientific power and moral restraint.


I look forward to seeing the movie. Reading about his concern for ethics was interesting and helpful. Scientists are often misconceived as ethically neutral or disinterested. This belief leads to all kinds of misinformation and bad decisions.


I think this example shows that whilst in an ideal world we would not have such destructive weapons as nuclear weapons, could you imagine how the Nazis could have used them if they had been the first to develop them? Truly frightening. And of course we now have genetic manipulation and AI, God knows where that will lead. I think Christian scientists could be spending their time developing technology that would negate the catastrophic effects of these emerging scientific endeavours. People laughed at Reagan over his Star Wars proposals. Perhaps it was, then, unrealistic but I wonder if that still holds or for something similar? Now we have mad men in the Kremlin and N Korea. John White said in his last few years he received visions of nuclear war in the future. I really wouldnt be surprised.


I’m surprised India and Pakistan haven’t unleashed some.

1 Like

Here is a link to the previous discussion of this film

and why not continue some of that closed discussion here…

What I found particularly fascinating was the conclusion that the only reason the Germans didn’t win the race to build the bomb was anti-semitism. It totally reinforces my idea that this was an example of the self-destructive tendencies in human behavior: the Jews were the hardest working and most intelligent people, so of course they killed them.