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Eight scientists from eastern universities labelled physicist Edward Teller's position on nuclear war "both unrealistic and unsound" this week in an article carried by the Saturday Evening Post. Gerald Holton, professor of Physics, and Matthew S. Meselson, associate professor of Biology, were among the authors of the criticism.
The article branded Teller's belief that a properly prepared America could survive a nuclear attack as "a signal example of the combination of factual error and emotionalism which might lead to such a catastrophe." He was accused of miscalculating the size and effectiveness of a nuclear war.
Teller's stress on missile defense systems, the possibility of limited nuclear war, and the necessity of a massive bomb shelter system were also rejected by the authors of the article.
The scientists claimed that a serious nuclear attack could nullify the best defensive measures, and dismissed the belief in limited nuclear warfare as "madness," terming the proposed nation-wide shelter system an impossibility.
The criticism included a rejection of Teller's refusal to consider negotiated steps toward arms reduction. The scientists stated that the world is now ready for disarmament and maintained that immediate disarmament (and therefore negotiation) was a necessity.
Underlining the urgency of the situation, they added that if "both sides stockpile weapons, the chances of war by accident, by miscalculation, or by mad counsel become greater and greater."
In refuting Teller, the scientists presented a "feasible arms-control agreement" calling for limited arms reduction and elimination of further arms production. They regarded Teller's own plan for the present nuclear situation as "not an illusion but also a tragic dissipation of all hope."
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