Tuesday, June 25, 2019 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

John Passmore

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The Spanish Inquisition sought to avoid direct responsibility for the burning of heretics by handing them over to the secular arm; to burn them itself, it piously explained, would be wholly inconsistent with its Christian principles. Few of us would allow the Inquisition thus easily to wipe its hands clean of bloodshed; it knew quite well what would happen. Equally, where the technological application of scientific discoveries is clear and obvious as when a scientist works on nerve gases he cannot properly claim that such applications are "none of his business," merely on the ground that it is the military forces, not scientists, who use the gases to disable or kill. This is even more obvious when the scientist deliberately offers help to governments, in exchange for funds.
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Quoted in Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995)

 
John Passmore

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