Skip Navigation Links

Science: Something seriously Missing

Man has come a long way from Dr. Quack's pseudoscientific surefire snake medicine of the Old West.
Today it's heart transplants and Apollo in orbit!
Scientific knowledge has doubled in only a decade!
But for all our advanced technology and vaunted scientific achievements something serious is lacking in science.
Here is the whole picture in true perspective!


New York City, December 28, 1967

LEADING scientists in almost every conceivable field have assembled in New York for the 134th annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

From the scientific pulpit come amazing prophecies.

Some tell of the strange new scientific world envisioned for us within the next 33 years, a world providing artificial organs, worn outside the body, and 3-month vacations in Bermuda after a 15-minute trip by rocket ship.

Others tell of the latest theories of zoologists and biologists in trying to make evolution appear reasonable.


Science Dreams

The program alone took 346 finely printed pages in a paperback book!

Reams and reams of prepared papers were submitted for publication — thousands of classrooms across the nation will be humming with the newest doctrines for some time to come.

Such well-known figures in the scientific world as Dr. Herman Kahn, Director of the Hudson Institute, and Dr. Athelstan Spilhaus, President of the Franklin Institute, gave lectures, and held press conferences.

I attended those press conferences, together with a full staff of researchers and writers, plus photographers and television crew.

But amid all the scientific pronouncements — something vital was missing!

For example, in one lengthy press conference, reporters were given the outline of tomorrow's "experimental city" by Dr. Athelstan Spilhaus.

Dr. Spilhaus told of his visions of vast numbers of such cities — each built no closer than 100 miles to any heavily populated center — and each containing some quarter of a million inhabitants.

To solve the vast and growing problems of U.S. cities, Dr. Spilhaus said it would take fifty such cities just to handle the increase of the next decade, alone. He envisioned underground parking and transportation; semi-private, computer-driven "coupes" to whisk people to and fro. He talked of such cities having no air pollution, no water pollution — and of enabling them to find methods to reuse human and industrial wastes.

He cited the building of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan as "ridiculous" — referring to the already stifling conditions of too many people and too many automobiles in a confined area.

Dr. Spilhaus' dream sounds, in many ways, desirable. He talked of beauty — of parks, streams, lakes, lawns, and open spaces between buildings and homes. He added that to be a true experimental city there would have to be representative groups of jobless, criminals, and the like.

But somehow, something was terribly MISSING in the learned Doctor's talk.

It seemed he had no actual, practical, WORKABLE methods by which such could be BUILT. WHERE they could be located, and SURVIVE in today's modern world of overcrowding, land depletion, and dwindling resources. He spoke of using different fuels — of solving all the terrible problems confronting cities today — and yet gave NO METHODS for solving such problems.

Attending the same convention were specialists in DIFFERENT fields.

For example, Dr. LaMont C. Cole, professor of Ecology at Cornell. I interviewed Dr. Cole for future WORLD TOMORROW programs, both on radio and television. Dr. Cole presented a paper to the science writers entitled "Can the WORLD SURVIVE?" He dealt with environmental pollution.

In his press conference, Dr. Cole explained how mankind is dumping up to one-half MILLION different kinds of active (biological) chemical compounds into the sea! He explained how 70 percent of all our oxygen needs come from diatoms in the sea, and how such unbridled pollution of the sea is rapidly changing the very balance of life in the sea.


Upsetting Nature's Balance

In showing the "food chain" of the "web of life" existing in the sea, Dr. Cole explained how man upsets the balance in nature — oftentimes DRASTICALLY, without realizing it.

He gave the example of DDT, which has only known widespread usage since World War II. DDT and a whole family of chlorinated hydrocarbons, such as BHC, lindane, dieldrin, and the like, are known to be residual in the body's fatty tissues.

He showed how, just since the war years, every living creature has been polluted with DDT. He said experiments had proved DDT to be present in the body fat of penguins, clear down in the Antarctic, and in the fat of whales, roaming the oceans! DDT can cause liver ailments and other diseases — notably hepatitis.

In speaking of air pollution, Dr. Cole cited the example of alarmed citizens who had sued a large chemical concern for polluting the air with poisonous gases. It was proved the smoke and gas emitted from huge stacks would literally cause brick to gradually disintegrate — and yet, human lungs were being asked to breathe it.

But the large company won the case — by agreeing to build higher stacks.

Dr. Cole cited the case of the Torrey Canyon — the tanker that ran afoul of rocks, broke up, and deluged southern England with huge oil slicks — ruining favorite beach resorts.

Had the Torrey Canyon been carrying powerful pesticides, said Dr. Cole, it would have killed all the diatoms in the entirety of the North Sea — thus literally causing OXYGEN STARVATION in Britain! Should this have happened — and the seas around Britain been rendered incapable of producing oxygen for the millions to breathe — Dr. Cole said DISASTER would have struck.

I asked him what he meant by "disaster." Did he mean people dropping dead by the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS — like flies? He said that is exactly what he meant!


Without an Overview

No ONE THERE HAD THE "OVERVIEW." Each talk was dealing only in its own specific area. No one, for example, PUT TOGETHER what Dr.

Cole warned about with the Utopian ideas of what Dr. Spilhaus HOPED would come. No one had studied the PROBABILITIES of TRULY solving the horrible problems of our growing megalopolises of today.

No one had the OVERVIEW. No one saw the WHOLE PICTURE, in TRUE perspective.

No one, that is, except those of us on the staff of The PLAIN TRUTH who were busily collecting information, conducting interviews, and taking photographs.

Let me make it clearer.

Dr. Herman Kahn, whose predictions we have quoted at some length in the booklet, The Wonderful World Tomorrow — What it Will be Like, talked of the way the world will be, in the next 33 years. (Meaning up to about the beginning of the next century)

He described artificial organs, worn externally; cooking instantly and automatically, private helicopters, underground transportation; three-month vacations, four-day weekends, higher salaries, and much more leisure.

He talked of a time when the true "gentleman" would return. Higher culture, with more cultural interests — such as art, literature, music — occupying the time of more and more people.


. . . but with fewer Moral Principles

He said the world would become increasingly sensate, and defined this as meaning "empirical, this worldly, secular, humanistic, pragmatic, utilitarian, contractual, epicurean or hedonistic."

In other words, far more libertine, more lustful, more unbridled, giving passionate vent to human whims. Less and less morality, less conscience, less restraint, fewer controls!

As Dr. Kahn talked, I became more incredulous.

Was he really serious?

It seems so.

Not only serious — but apparently believing the world WOULD survive to become as he predicted.

But — as Dr. Kahn pointed out — there were MANY major factors which could totally alter his predictions.

First was, obviously, nuclear war.

Then he had to add major economic disasters, the population explosion, famine, massive starvation, disease epidemics, food wars, and any other method by which the whole of the human family would be thrown into chaos.

Specifically, Dr. Kahn was asked to describe what New York City would "look like" within the next 33 years.

He talked of all traffic problems solved. No surface traffic — but all visitors (there are probably upwards of one-half million in New York at any given time) conveyed to midtown Manhattan via huge passenger helicopters atop the buildings.

He spoke of controlled air, water and food. He talked as if ALL MAJOR PROBLEMS WOULD BE SOLVED.

But there was something terribly MISSING.

For instance, when I mentioned to Dr. Kahn the already stifling problem of air traffic controls — including Kennedy Airport in New York with critical air traffic problems; and the huge spaces needed for so MANY helicopters (which can operate only under VFR conditions — visual flight rules); and the impossibility of providing such spaces atop the broad majority of New York's buildings which certainly would not be replaced all that rapidly; and when I asked HOW so many hundreds of thousands would be whisked to their offices and shops, he replied, "In huge passenger helicopters, carrying about 500 people, landing one a minute."

"One a minute?" I asked, incredulous. "Well, perhaps one every five minutes," he corrected.

The utter impracticability, the impossibility of literally accomplishing such objectives did not seem to impress itself on the speaker.

I asked Dr. Kahn whether his prognostications had included careful analysis of the many potential disasters looming ahead; including the shocking statements of Dr. Cole concerning environmental pollution, given at the same series of meetings.

Dr. Kahn answered negatively. He said his studies only took existing conditions and tried to follow certain predictable curves into the future. He emphasized that his studies were based upon the past nine hundred years, as well as the changing present.

Obviously, then, these rosy predictions (mixed with any number of horrendous ones) amounted only to so much GUESSWORK based on the belief that man will, SOMEHOW, find a way out of the incredible morass of his WORLD-SHAKING PROBLEMS of today.

The predictions seemed to assume human nature would win, in the final inning.

The Doctors seemed to BELIEVE their theories — yet they admitted there were MANY sudden occurrences which could render them useless.

Something was terribly MISSING!

No one there had the OVERVIEW. No one seemed to SEE IT ALL — in proper perspective.