Graduate Student - Physics,

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Does war only push human beings backwards?

The highlighted quote from this TED talk by Hans Rosling is: "Avoid war, because that always pushes human beings backward."

Is this really so? In terms of average life expectancy this seems to be so. But what about in economy or technology? WW2 is what allowed America and Western Europe to become such an economic and technological powerhouse of the 20th century. Neil DeGrasse Tyson says that human beings were driven to land on the moon because of the Cold War.

War is clearly a horrific thing which sacrifices human lives for a slew of reasons, some good and some bad, but it may also be viewed as an accelerator of political, economic, and technological change.

  • May 27 2012: War, does not only push us back. War has positive effects. These include greater unity, better technology, and economic stimulation. However, war is the least effective and most destructive way to achieve these things. War can drive us forward in some areas, but pushes us back in many others.
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    May 24 2012: In answer I quote a song from the 1960s:
    WAR! What is it good for? aBSOLUTELY nothin'
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    May 25 2012: yes, there might be advances in tech, but we can not measure the progress of what a fully funded peacful inclusive, sharing civilisation might create when all citizens are encouraged to think and act with compassion and respect.
    How much is spent every year on the paranoid self serving war machine?
    How much progress could be made if the spend was on love and liberty and not fear and hate.
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      May 25 2012: If it was not for war we would not have spaceship, G.P.S, or the Internet.
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        May 27 2012: maybe we would have sent people to another galaxy and cured old age and cancer by now if we had put all the money going to war into science and be teleporting from galaxy 2 galaxy, pointing out tech from the war machine misses the point i make, we could have had all that and more without funding the war machine. Peace
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          May 27 2012: Man for someone how thanks that humanity would have gone so far with out war. I can see that you look only at the bad side of war and not the good side of it.
          For example to go to other galaxy you would need a spaceship and if you look at one very closely your see that it is just a missal that was modified to go into space.
          Oh and cancer is very complex that has had millions of dollars put into it now. But if you thank ok so I'm a guy that love war then you are sadly mistaken in fact I hate war. But I am a person that looks at the good and the bad side of things. Peace out
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    May 24 2012: Not always. It depends on who "wins" the war. If the side fighting for human rights and dignity wins the answer to your question is "No!" For example the valiant and immensely costly struggle against Nazi domination did not have the effect of "pushing people back". Hitler had evil plans for more than the Jews. Preventing the fullfillment of his ghastly plan was a great step forward in human history.
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    May 30 2012: Competition could fuel national and individual development; hostility could do the same. The focus should be on continous quest for the improvement of the human condition; we should not be complacent. And we dont need war for this.
    In Africa we've had numerous wars, just as senseless as all other wars. Think about the misery and destruction.

    So, how many great inventions have been made in Africa for all our wars?
    Wars could be good sights when you are on your couch, flipping through news channels and eating taco.
    Recently, Joseph Kony was the villian for being a war lord. He has committed as much harm as the wars in Europe,Iraq and Afghanistan. What if his men of war are also developing a vaccine that could cure the dreaded AIDS? A baddie for a good cause; just like in the movies!
    I agree with Debra Smith, war is good for absolutely nothing.
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    May 24 2012: Intellectual wisdom and continuity to excel through stability of minds- basic Human Life prerequisite.
    Dogmatic state revolves around intellect hollowed state- Ego prevails upon- enlightened spirit gets blocked