Letters

The utilization of technology and science by Nazi Germany brought home the truth of the maxim that "knowledge without conscience brings ruin to the soil." The "opinion" by Alan C. Nixon reminds us that this lesson has yet to sink in. The question is raised concerning a recent EPA decision to exclude data on the toxicity of phosgene which was obtained from records of Nazi experiments performed on French "prisoners." Nixon points out that such data might save lives, and asks rhetorically, "are we

Harvey Swadlow
Jan 8, 1989

The utilization of technology and science by Nazi Germany brought home the truth of the maxim that "knowledge without conscience brings ruin to the soil." The "opinion" by Alan C. Nixon reminds us that this lesson has yet to sink in. The question is raised concerning a recent EPA decision to exclude data on the toxicity of phosgene which was obtained from records of Nazi experiments performed on French "prisoners." Nixon points out that such data might save lives, and asks rhetorically, "are we to use moral or ethical yardsticks as screening devices by which the acceptance or rejection of scientific information is to be measured? . . ."

Branding the opponents of his opinion as "mindless" and smacking of "intellectual dishonesty and muddled thinking," Nixon provides interesting examples of his own thought processes; after all, he says, many Nazi scientists were " . . .probably revolted by what they...

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