DayBreaks for 5/09/19: Heart Valves or Auschwitz
From the DayBreaks archive: May 2009
Flash of Genius is inspired by the true story of Dr. Robert Kearns (played by Greg Kinnear). After creating the intermittent windshield wiper, Kearns pitches his idea to General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. All three companies turn him down, only to steal his idea and add them to all their automobiles. Dr. Kearns decides to take on the Ford Motor Company in a legal battle that no one believes he can win. (He later challenged Chrysler, GM, and Mercedes, as well.)
At this point in the film, Dr. Kearns has not yet invented his famous windshield wiper. He is currently working as a mechanical engineering professor at Wayne State University. As the scene begins, Dr. Kearns is writing the word “ethics” on a chalkboard. His students enter the classroom. He turns, and says, “Morning, everybody! I want to welcome you all to the first day of the quarter for Applied Electrical Engineering. My name is Dr. Robert Kearns, and I’d like to start by talking to you about ethics.”
“I can’t think of a job or a career where the understanding of ethics is more important than engineering,” Dr. Kearns continues. “Who designed the artificial aortic heart valve? An engineer did that. Who designed the gas chambers at Auschwitz? An engineer did that, too. One man was responsible for helping save tens of thousands of lives. Another man helped kill millions.”
“Now, I don’t know what any of you are going to end up doing in your lives,” Dr. Kearns says, “but I can guarantee you that there will come a day when you have a decision to make. And it won’t be as easy as deciding between a heart valve and a gas chamber.”
Everything has implications. Decide to make the ethical choices today.
Prayer: May we live upright lives, considering carefully the outcome of our choices. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>