How Many Lives Have Nuclear Weapons Saved?

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posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 06:45 PM
This thread is in indirect response, to a left-wing documentary, called “Surviving Progress”

Question: If you could go back in time, and kill every reoccurring inventor, of the nuclear bomb, would you do so? I used to think “yes” now I think very differently…

World War Two is widely believed to have killed 50 million people. Had the leaders of East & West not known that a war between them would be suicide, it seems more than likely (when using history as a guide) that there would have been a conventional war between the two sides, and as conventional killing technology had greatly improved (on both sides) since WW2, it is perfectly possible that a 50 million death toll, would have been a conservative outcome.
Therefore chances are, that many of us alive today would have widely different parents-grandparents i.e. because the other or both would have died, long before meeting one another.

Use History…
Wikipedia does a list of wars by fatalities…
Not a single one of these wars has occurred between two sides armed with nukes (or even with nuclear energy). Here is a far more extensive list -same fact remains:

There are only 9 states with Nukes

But there are 30 nations (i.e. 21 extra nations) with nuclear energy…
Again: Not a single one of these nations has gone to war since becoming nuclear capable.

But it’s not like they didn’t used to fight each other often e.g.
1. Napoleonic Wars = Mostly France & Britain (1799 to 1815)
2. Boer Wars = Britain & South Africa (1880 to 1881, and again from 1899 to 1902)
3. Russo Japan War 1904 to 1905)
4. Sino Soviet Conflict (1929)
5. World war one: Germany, France, England, America, most the EU,
6. World war two: Germany, France, England, America, most of the EU, Japan, China
In fact there are many, many wars between 1900 and 1944 involving nations that today have a nuclear weapons capability.–1944
And not a single repeat (between any of them) since.

Reassuringly: This means if we go to war with Iran, it will be a first in history. We won’t of course, not least because this really would be the end of Israel (if not with nuclear weapons, then with biological for sure).

Then I thought: “What about India & Pakistan?”
1947 to 1949 = 1500 to 3152 killed.
1965 = Around 15,500 killed (on both sides in total)
1971 = Around 4000 to 9000 killed
Then in 1999 around 980 killed

Only in 18th May 1974 did India become a nuclear power,
And only on 28th May 1998, did the Muslim country of Pakistan finally catch up in copying Western technology, by doing the same.

Worryingly: In 1999 India and Pakistan become the first nuclear powered countries in history, hot-headed enough to fight a conventional war with each other.
Reassuringly The war they fought was tiny, and far smaller than those they had fought before.

My Eccentric Conclusion…
Just as nuclear electricity appears bad, until you study deaths per terra watt hour, and view how even hydroelectric dam bursts have killed far more…
Could it not also be, that the inventions of nuclear weapons appears bad, until you look at how many (have historically) been killed by a human brain that hasn’t changed much in 10,000 years?

The Relationship Between Technology & Politics…
I loved learning, in history, how (for example) the reason why we have democracy & freedom today, ultimately starts with James Watt inventing the first (proper) steam engine
Which itself starts with him as a boy, noticing how steam was strong enough to lift a lid…

The lad lifted the lid and peeped inside again. He could see nothing but the bubbling water. The steam was not visible until after it was fairly out of the kettle.
"How queer!" he said. "The steam must be very strong to lift the heavy iron lid. Grandma, how much water did you put into the kettle?"
[52] "About a quart, Jamie."
"Well, if the steam from so little water is so strong, why would not the steam from a great deal of water be a great deal stronger? Why couldn't it be made to lift a much greater weight? Why couldn't it be made to turn wheels?"

The Connection…
When the steam engine was invented it greatly improved the economies of Britain & France, both of whom pioneered the technology. It also necessitated that the peasants become educated enough, to work in complex factories, which in turn meant some of these peasants become rich, yet unable to either vote or be directly represented before the king, because they were not of Noble blood.
This created social-political pressures for change.
Then you had the French Revolution. (With social conditions being near identical in both France & Britain) this had our aristocracy scarred of being the next to have their heads forced in a guillotine by peasants who could now read & write.
Before steam (and therefore before the Industrial Revolution) history showed how the aristocracy could treat the peasants pretty much, however they liked, and still get no rebellion. For example…

A. You could starve them because of crop failure, whilst you ate like the king-lord you were in your palace. Even during the Napoleonic Wars the way food was rationed in Britain was through price i.e. the rich could eat however much they liked, whilst the poor starved.
B. Burn the peasants homes for not paying their rent, on land you owned, and they worked as rent.
C. You could even sell a man & wife, to separate estates where they would never see each other again –just like cattle. This white slavery, was called “Serfdom” and was only abolished in Russia in 1861
You could do all these things, and more, and get away with it, without a revolution, because so long as they couldn’t read & write, they couldn’t spread their ideas any more than they could store them. They were good for one thing, and that was brutal work, drowned only by poor alcohol at the pub, and religion on Sunday’s.
Other countries like Russia, tried to delay steam technology in their country. The problem was, the other countries around them (who had embraced it) could afford superior militaries, from steam fuelled factories able to mass produce their goods. So in the end, the Russians had to let the technology in –something which a few decades later caused the Russian revolution.

It is possible that the computer will be the opposite for freedom than the steam engine, as far as making the kind of mass, totalitarian surveillance, of George Orwell’s 1984 possible (i.e. tracked by phone, tracked down the road by license plate recognition, tracked by face recognition when you use public transport).
Paradoxically it may also extend freedom by encouraging & then enabling revolution (like the Arab Spring), or by enabling, and putting pressure for, partition’s to government.

We live in a civilisation that will destroy itself, unless recycling & sustainability can be reached. The challenge is that our society is motivated only by profit. However surely that makes technology the best solution? E.g…
Several nuclear reactors, that can not go into meltdown already exist (They are: The Pebble Bed Reactor = outdated, Integral Reactor = current, The Thorium Reactor = doable but delayed by TPTB), others (called Fast Neutron Reactors) can destroy the most dangerous waste.
Rather than throw our hands up, and say “the world is going to end” (like the Left did after the detonation of the first Soviet Nuclear bomb) perhaps they are wrong to do it now (as the creators of Surviving Progress) would like us to do. All btw to serve an undemocratic ideology, apparently in the name of the “Greater Good” –just as the Left’s, other recent “ideological abortion” (Communism) was & still is (in practice at least) another undemocratic ideology, apparently in the same ideals name.
Ultimately I am sure the solution lies in the right technology, and the right politics to assist that technology (wind doesn’t count!). If we can do that (i.e. be politically brave through being pragmatic) then we can probably have a world of ever increasing living standards, yet still well suited to our 10,000 year old brains!

What do you think?

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 06:49 PM
reply to post by Liberal1984

About 6billion ... star and flag sensible thread !.

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 06:54 PM
Im sorry I have to keep this simple but the staight answer is "you, me and the other guy. . . but it was worth it".

As much as I hate to admit I see why they did what they did.

And overall I agree the cost is less even if it is bitter none the less.

Survival has its stages and failings. . we survive still.

For us to stay that way, I have no doubt we need to trial infinite ways.

May our ways be always right. . . despite the cost they bear.
edit on 8-6-2012 by Treespeaker because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 06:55 PM
The question is how many have they destroyed, not only with loss of life but with after effects from them. The nuclear bomb is a disgusting weapon and something that should not be in the hands of barbarians. The lives you say are saved from nuclear weapons could just as easily be saved by other things. There is no need for one technology that could wipe out a entire race.

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 07:00 PM
Interesting question. The 2 nukes that the US used in WW2 actually saved lives on both sides. The Japanese fought harder closer to their mainland.

Since then? MAD has worked to stave off nuclear war imo. Got us through the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's. How many lives saved by having NO nuclear war? Society of man?

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 07:01 PM
reply to post by Liberal1984

Does this view take into account the lives lost due to the after effects of radiation? It's just counting the people killed form the initial attack...what about all those that get cancer from radiation for years afterward.

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 08:44 PM
reply to post by GrimReaper86

Again and agian I have to say the struggke is worth rhe cost. .

Although I mY cry while aying it. . .

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 10:19 PM
Newagekid2012 and GrimReaper86 Since I’ve done some research for this thread, it would be good if you could do some to help answer your own questions.
The testing of nuclear weapons has barely changed the amount of radiation we experience naturally. This despite the fact, that well over 2000 bombs have been tested, worldwide, in total.

For a while Background Radiation went up (a few percent) but it always plummets because in both nuclear accidents, and bomb tests, the majority of radiation is released by isotopes with short half-lives. That said it’s the stuff with the longest half-lives, that causes local problems i.e. exclusions zones.

However I suspect e.g. drink driving, has killed far more than nuclear tests. Therefore (it does seem) that overall many tens of millions of lives have indeed been saved. Also man hours; i.e. the main reason why we no longer have to do compulsory military training (well apart from in a fascist nation’s like Germany today) is because nuclear weapons mean a voluntary army is more than enough. Without them, every country, of every size & description, would still be in a race to maintain the largest armies, not out of choice, just survival.

Newagekid2012The nuclear bomb is a disgusting weapon and something that should not be in the hands of barbarians.

It’s not as disgusting as the bullet!!! Thousands of people get killed by bullets every day, but nukes? What is it, 100 a year on average?
Also you say we are barbicans, but the fact is we’re led by men & woman of all shades of evil; yet I’ve yet to discover a single world leader who was suicidal. This trait, just doesn’t seem to be in leaders psychology.

We may well still be barbicans (depends how you define it) but it does seem that as the slavery of steam caused human freedom, the creation of the bomb has caused a world of more peace, and therefore less destructive death.

For example: Would we have invaded Iraq if they had, had WMD’s?
North Korea?

I think not. And so far, we optimists have been proven right. Whilst (in contrast) those saying that nukes herald the end have been made to look like fools. All those protesting against nukes on British soil through the 50’s & 80’s wasted their youth, whilst smoking a lot of pot,. They may as well campaigned for nuclear war, because it seems clear now, it would have been likely, had MAD not made war mad. But hay you guys wanted to make it sane, what a Death Wish that would have been…

I’ll Be Frank…
I would not vote for a hypothetical world, where every single country on Earth had nukes. But if such a world existed (and it may well do within a few centuries) it would not surprise me, if overall, far less got killed from war. Nor if there was no war at all for decades, perhaps even centuries (we are now over 62 years since nukes were last use, and when they were, only one side had them). And is quite amazing, the negotiation world leaders will endure if their lives are on the line –as the Cold War showed.

The only reason why I would not vote for such a world is because I’m cowardly enough to fear the “what if” scenario – i.e. what if some idiot did push the button? How bad would it get, before it stopped?
But as time progresses, mankind will probably be landed with a WMD armed, world anyway –although I must admit, the world we have (where the West holds almost all the power) seems to be serving us, perfectly ok (militarily). Just wish we could make it do so, environmentally as well.
edit on 090705 by Liberal1984 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 10:43 PM
reply to post by Liberal1984

Dear Liberal1984

The number is impossible to work out how many lives have been saved by the H boom.

Certainly many millions.

However and here is the point.


posted on Jun, 9 2012 @ 12:25 PM
Agreed Mac269. Which raises the question…
What kind of leader (or conflict) would it take to push the button?
India and Pakistan going to war in 1999, despite both sides having a nuke for over a year (at that time) is a worrying. Simply because, up and till then, all previous nuclear stand-off’s, for 50 years (1949 to 1999) had involved non-Muslim countries, and had resulted in no direct warfare, whatsoever.

Then within a year of the first Muslim country having the bomb, the situation nearly goes critical.

That Said…
1. I strongly hesitate, to believe the moment Iran develops nukes (which they must now do, if they are to survive) they will use them. For starters no Muslim wants to explain to Allah why they committed actions which resulted in the death of some, if not all Allah’s people.
2. Secondly many of the Iranian leaders are deeply immoral, you see it in the way they treat the well-meaning (aspects) of the opposition, in their corruption, and the fact that almost all leaders in any human society have to be deeply immoral, to exchange, tolerate & expand politics on the highest levels.
So I tend to think that many of Iran’s leaders are where they are for being immoral, and therefore (privately) know they would burn in hell –even according to the standards of Islam, and are therefore simply using a proclaimed belief in religion, as a political tool.
3. No Iranian leader has ever committed suicide.

posted on Jun, 9 2012 @ 08:52 PM
reply to post by Liberal1984

Dear Liberal1984

In my opinion the nuke war will start with a Mad man.

After all the purpose of war is to gain something, power, money, more power, to stay in power, meaning more money. And it goes on.

MAD, mutually assured destruction. It ant going to get you any of the above.

So the question is who is MAD.

Hitler would have done it for sure especially in the latter days of WW2.

The point here is to recognize the MAD men, and in my opinion there are more around than you may think.

I agree most world leaders are immoral and corrupt but at least they want above all else to save their own skin. Being the cowardly little #s that they are.

posted on Jun, 9 2012 @ 08:59 PM
How many lives has it saved or how many deaths has it postponed?

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