Dimensions of a new age; Philosophy and space
This is Dave mansion. From radio television in the University of Texas. We are all of us newly arrived in the age of space and we have come so quickly swirling about us are powerful influences likely to have upon our lives the most prodigiously impact known to mankind in the last 500 years. Yet we can barely grasp the magnitude of these social forces. We can only guess at their meaning. What does it signify for us to live in a world of such a suddenly extended proportion toward the answer. Radio television. The University of Texas has prepared this recorded radio series
produced under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. We present dimensions of a new age. And now here is our moderator Roderick Meyer from two of those ages illustrious leaders Dr. Verner von Brown missile man of great vision and Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr a philosopher of immense realism. We bring you today some searching observations on philosophy and space. Here is Dr. Verner von Brown technical director of the Ballistic Missile agency for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The immense challenge if I would a species which was once the province of many of us try to amass and a few scientists working in fields related to astronomy has caught the imagination of mankind. It has become the subject of to beat in the United Nations.
Men I excited by the prospect because they now possess the physical means for the first time since the ancestors walk the earth to penetrate the vast heavens what was once an on a T in the bull beyond. Has become an era. For human exploration. The question is no longer God. How to get there. Rather it is who will get there first. When will it happen. And what practical purpose will it serve. Each day brings us closer to the realisation of the eternal dream of space flight. When man will enter the domain of the Olympians what new wonders will men and count out there. What has me lie ahead
for adventurous setting foot on other worlds when we find some forms of life on Mars or Venus or any of the other planets. Even as our minds are filled with wonder. This growing awareness that this is much more than a trillion a thrilling adventure. Science technology politics religion and certainly role are I involved in the exploration of space has produced a whole series of formidable areas to which our research institutions and our industrial establishment have responded with enthusiasm and correct resteal even man's first faltering steps into the new under them whether with the aid of Sputnik's or explorers. Every influence the course of national and
international affairs they have been profound effects on the country's economy in the negative form of Texas. As well as in the positive form of more industrial employment and of our wealth of by products which will directly affect our living standards in our daily lives. Outer space must indeed be a big place since the prospect of exploration has cost more profound reaction than any other single day's technological program of modern times. The missile and space programs of the United States exceed the scope of the Manhattan Project of World War 2. That harnessed atomic fission. Yes it has become apparent that space is awfully big
bigger than Texas and Alaska combined. It has been suggested that any plans to travel through outer space. I sac religious. At those masts pieces beyond I atmosphere belong to God and that man has no right to intrude. I simply feel to understand this reasoning to the pious man who will do this you mean to imply that our bloomin abode this planet Earth is not a part of God's around. I am certain that this is not their view. So what difference does it make in which portion of God's infinite world we live and travel.
There's of course the question of whether we are morally prepared to extend our activities to other worlds. As we look at the sad state of human the FIA's on our home planet we find much room for doubt. Whether or not other forms of life which we may encounter in the universe will benefit from their contact with men during the last century. An ever widening gap has developed between our scientific and technological advances and the moral and ethical standards by which we live our lives and fight our daily battles. In a we this is surprising for technology and ethics are sisters or at least should be sisters. While technology controlled the forces of
nature around us. Ethics controls the force of nature within us. But while technology is a mere one hundred and fifty years old the problems of ethics have occupied the minds of the greatest thinkers on this planet for several thousand years. And I think. It is a fair assumption that the Ten Commandments are entirely adequate without amendments. To cope with all the problems. Which our technological advances have brought up. And with all the problems that species each will bring up in the future. The real problem today is not a lack in ethical legislation. But a lack of sufficient tight they need to be ethical guidance and control.
Prior to the Renaissance. The church applied this tight individual guidance to Emperor and beg alike. But when science freed itself from the bonds of religious dogma. So I split pulling the WI for the technological revolution. The church unfortunately also lost much of its influence on the ethical conduct of man. The fact that our life does not have materialistic and intellectual aspects alone is as true today as it was centuries ago. We simply cannot live without ethical guidance. More than ever before our survival depends on adherents to ethical principles in the horse and buggy days. Nobody got hurt when
the coachman had to drink too many to day. In this age of high powered automobiles that same drink may be fetal ethics alone will decide. Whether our fabulous new inventions in the field of atomic energy and guided missiles will provide mankind with an inexhaustible supply of energy and wealth. Or whether mankind will perish by its abuse. Ethics alone will decide whether our entry into the species each will be a curse or a blessing. What have we done to implement the laws of ethics in our forthcoming exploration of outer space. The tools at our disposal to implement these laws may not be quite commensurate with the tremendous problem on hand but mankind has at least
made an honest first try in the general assembly of the United Nations established an ad hoc committee on the peaceful use of outer space. In December nineteen hundred and fifty eight thirteen nations participated in the committee's deliberations five nations refused the invitation of the United Arab Republic of India Poland Czechoslovakia and to the surprise of no one the Soviet Union at the time the committee was formed only two major powers possessed the basic vehicles essential for space explorations. The United States and the Soviet Union. Only one of them. Our country joined in the discussions. Subcommittees well set up in Maine one thousand eight hundred fifty nine to study legal aspects and technical areas.
International agreement is essential to resolve the thorny issues related to questions of sovereignty and its possible extension beyond the Erse surface. I believe it was Henry Clay who once remarked that and I quote If you wish to avoid fine collision you had better abandon the ocean unquote. Surely free men do not intend to abandon all of species to Mr. Crawshay F. because he brandishes his missiles like a sword of Damocles us against other nations who want to remain free. We stand at the beginning of our Rite Aid endless how you will be reaching out to the stars and beyond. If we go far but for that purpose with firm determination and enjoying the full support of our people are I
was to the total challenge. We cannot feel for we shall have understood the real threat of militant communism which is attacking our way of life on all sides. With the admitted objective of world domination. It is all too evident that the Russian accomplishments in space are unmistakable evidence of a greatly expanded scientific and technological capability. Which is supported by a growing industrial potential. We are challenged everywhere and trade in industrial production in science and engineering in the arts and diplomacy and even in religion. If you regard the denial of for youth by the ardent communist as a kind of provocative religion in itself. The Soviets have launched a massive effort to surpass us. They are turning out more scientists and engineers annually into our
educational institutions. Make no mistake about it. What ever their lapses by way of political enlightenment the communists are doing a thorough job in the academic and laboratory preparation of trained minds. We can answer that bid for technological supremacy only by a weakening in our youth in interest in the physical sciences and mathematics which will play an increasingly important role in the technologically oriented society that they will be a part of in the years ahead. We must reinforce our educational system to provide the kind of preparation required for the social order that will exist five ten and twenty years hence. We must educate you for the future not for the present or the past.
Dr. Verner van Brunn says adherence to ethical principles as essential to our survival in the age of space. We pursued our inquiry in New York where we questioned Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr vice president of Union Theological Seminary and world esteemed philosopher Dr. neber you have stated that two sources of a nation's power or authority or its prestige and its force and your opinions as a nation's attitude toward religion have any significant effect on its international prestige. Well Mr might mind that's a difficult question to answer I would say that the attitude to or legend has an influence on its prestige and ought not to have one can rather say what is its religious attitude to religion add to it of its culture and then one must also add that any emphasis on religion as a conscious source of deeds is a corruption of religion.
So you can you can always have it can always be a source of presentation. One is the fact is. Need the religious attitude of a culture that the human main and humanistic tradition of the West for instance certainly had is a source of pride esteem for the free world primarily because the dignity of the individual respect for the individual is rooted in the e-brake Christian tradition that's first. But in as far as religion doesn't induce more attitudes that are acceptable to the world it is a source of pride stage. One might mention for instance that the Supreme Court decision and the segregation issue was the source of Pres. Perhaps that didn't influence the Supreme
Court I hope it didn't. While the Little Rock incident was the opposite it lost its prestige. Why in the world where we were. Where in contests where the great imperial nation across Asia in Africa many colored people so that the moral quality of our religious life. The respect for the person we wrote was without respect to race is certainly a source of prestige although I'm embarrassed to say this because I don't think one ought to say you must be just to the negroes of America will be happy be strong in the world knows it is a fact that there is a person is coming. The quality of justice which a nation has and as far as our religion produces a quality of justice it is a source of prestige that one can deny that well in the present struggle for world dominance
primarily between the United States and Russia actually and not only in the age of space but in in all all things to the moral values of this country appear to be strengthening our own and the billing element do you think. Well I don't see how I'm well I'm more what I was I don't quite like the word values because there's a moral quality in all of our economic political life. They're not discrete values that is a more immoral quality and I'd say on the whole there's equality of justice and justice it implies both some kind of liberty and some kind of equality you know. If that is what morality means in politics they couldn't be in feebly. There are some ideas of a morality of pure morality passes morality that isn't relevant to politics at all why they might be in favor. But I should say that any mature religious or religious person would
recognize that politics is related to morals in a very different and definite way. It deals and must deal with power and interest. It mustn't be sentimental about overcoming power and interest it must coerce or harness or beguile power an interest into some kind of water and some kind of justice. And if it does that is more I have does that that kind of morality isn't. So as a president I say so I can imagine that Marrone couldn't think evil nation more of a right to conceive morality relevant to the Bluewater. I like to make one additional observation about that notices say that is rather frightening that in a contest with Russia we'd both become technocratic nations who are.
Impressed with the gadgets of life and we're not debating anymore about the spiritual moral issues we're debating about which nation is best in providing living comforts known as far as our nation is preoccupied with living standards. I certainly think that one of the most ironic facts about Western civilization as a whole American particular is that we think of ourselves as embodying the values of freedom but in the opinion of the world not only Russia we have thought of as embodying the values of self-indulgence and high standards of living that beyond the dreams of avarice ovation I forgot that's a very ironic fact and perhaps we in the religious world are paying more attention to the scriptural
warning take heed of all covetousness life consisted not in the abundance of the thing a man was as is. How does our what is now an enlarged view of the universe and man's active physical participation in that universe affect his feeling about himself and his world and I might also ask you at the same time what does man's physical access to a universe so apparently not man centered due to his religious and philosophical outlook doctor who's right mind you see I think that what's happening in the Congo is a lot of space impressive as it is it's meant merely that the final number fine but the last chapter of a one has been persisting since Copernicus The idea that the world is man centered and a whole lot not the earth but the world revolves around his human drive
that has not been viable. For centuries. The whole intelligent people whatever their religious look a bit have accepted this they are absconders forms of faith that haven't accepted that that. I resisted Copernicus in that reduces to Darwin but if you take Copernicus Darwin if you dig Freud you know in every case we have an enlarging picture of an in-law of a very large and complex world. Now that hasn't changed. I think a viable and vital religion at all because whatever the world is however large it is however small we are in it and they still are human drama and we are important to ourself of we as Pasqual of the first great existentialist set in the 17th century when he was opposing Cartesian Russell ism. He said.
Man is a read but at least he is a thinking we know that's the income good a man and I should say that a vital religion draws its source from exploring the human being come good in human existence. It's no more in Congress now than it was before. He's always been in Congress. Man is so loyal and yet he is so great that's a point. And you would also say he is so good and yet he is so evil. And these two things have to be brought together in any vital religious or philosophical outlook upon life. So I don't think that if anybody has absorbed what is actually happening in the scientific revolution the conquest of nature let us say the Congress of space is just a part of the conquest of nature. It's really just bringing it into focus maybe. Well a lot easier perhaps extending it making us realize me here is
realize it more US right. Does physical penetration of outer space fundamentally alter man's concept of the universe do you think. Are there really elements here which he has not taken into consideration in examining his life and its meaning or have they long since been incorporated into his filthy philosophical makeup. Well I wouldn't say long since what we said before I think implies that you you know what. Why incorporate everything and bought the pub races have long since been made as a matter of pride. We've lived in a world of scientific advances scientific conquest of nature now for centuries upon centuries. And the interesting thing is that many scientists thought that this advance of signs would make any kind of religious. Poets are life impossible because they regard
religion as a form of superstition or stupidity that would be eliminated by scientific rationalism. And I can quite see why they thought that because many forms of religion were obscurantist Now the question is why didn't this didn't just happen. Why has religion maintain some kind of vitality even in the Advancement of Science and my answer would be that I gave before. There is no way of scientifically or rice really fitting man into a rational or natural scheme of things because that is his glory that is Mrs. RAY. That he can conquer State Warriors and put it like this he can conquer space but he can't conquer himself and perhaps the basic hearse e of our culture that has a say is over comes up again and again saying Amana has done so much in conquering nature must not conquer human nature
while conquering human nature and coming nature to quite different things because of the nature that you're going to conquer is very recalcitrant because I've got that freedom. And they are leaders going to do the conquering it also and not as purely a godlike intelligence as they think they are. That's why communism is wrong. Because they're going. Communism is a scheme for not only conquering nature but history as they say that Angle said they haven't done that. And Khrushchev this should present is quite obvious with the godlike intelligence. He's somebody who reminds us of the of Alexander of the exhaust of the powerful people go you know raise history quite a different thing from nature because man is quite a different thing from the animal. Our thanks to you Dr Reinhold Niebuhr for honoring us with your comments on philosophy and space. We are grateful also to Dr.
Venter funn Brown for his contribution to this broadcast. This is the concluding program of a series designed to explore the impacts of the space age upon our everyday lives. To assess the true dimensions of a new age. Until recently vital concern with the dilemmas and developments of this dynamic age has rested mainly with our military leaders and scientific and engineering specialists to increase public understanding of the significant activities now in progress. We have asked some of the leaders in this advance guard to interpret the age for us in our own terms. We have asked them to use these programs to sketch in for us the dimensions of this new age. Oh. God thanks.
These programs were produced and directed by Roderick the Reich Meyer who serves as moderator. Coordinator and writer Nair ID Benjamin's. The series was under the supervision of Robert F. shank. Jim Maher I speak the. Dimensions of a new age was produced and recorded by radio television. The University of Texas under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcast.
- Dimensions of a new age
- Philosophy and space
- Producing Organization
- University of Texas
- KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program focuses on the mingling of philosophical issues and space during the space age.
- Series Description
- This series explores the new developments and challenges that have emerged in the wake of the "space age" that occurred in the mid-20th century.
- Broadcast Date
- Media type
Director: Rightmyer, Roderick D.
Host: Grauer, Ben
Producing Organization: University of Texas
Producing Organization: KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
Speaker: Von Braun, Wernher, 1912-1977
Speaker: Niebuhr, Reinhold, 1892-1971
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-56-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Dimensions of a new age; Philosophy and space,” 1960-11-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-1834597v.
- MLA: “Dimensions of a new age; Philosophy and space.” 1960-11-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-1834597v>.
- APA: Dimensions of a new age; Philosophy and space. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-1834597v