Should science be subject to ethical consideration? | INFJ Forum

Should science be subject to ethical consideration?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by TinyBubbles, Apr 18, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    Should scientific research be limited by considering the ethical implications of what you're researching? For eg. if you're trying to find a drug to cure cancer, would it matter all that much if, in the process, you kill a few people? If the drug was eventually successful, you'd be saving many more lives.

    What about research into fields like psychology? Should it matter whether it's right or wrong to, say, stick electrodes into the center of one person's skull, potentially rendering them insane, if it meant discovering more about how emotions work - which would benefit everyone?

    What is one person's life really worth? What is an animal's? We use every single accessible, non-endangered lifeform on earth for some practical purpose, excluding humans. Can humans also be negated to a mere cog in the wheel of progress? Can a SINGLE human being ever matter that much to the overall goals of humanity?

    What would happen if we never considered the ethical implications of what we're doing, in regards to scientific and technological progress. If human cloning right now was legal, would we know something valuable about the body and about LIFE that we do not know now? It just makes me wonder though, during the process perhaps we'd lose something more important, something more intrinsic than progress, something fundamental to our humanity. But should we let such beliefs stop us experimenting, lest we discover something that makes it all worthwhile - especially since science is ideally the unabashed pursuit of empirical knowledge?
    And isn't curiosity and the drive for understanding as much a part of humanity as is morality?

    A lot of questions, I know.. if it's easier just please answer the gist of what I'm saying and not the specific questions :)
     
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  2. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    need a balance, that favours science.
     
  3. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    ^ why should it favor science? (btw i dont think science and ethics are direct opposites.)
     
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  4. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    I think ethical considerations are always vitally important and I suspect any tension that causes is well worth tolerating.
     
  5. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    I think it all depends whether or not you have morals, or a conscience. I don't mean that to be flip - but science with an amoral compass becomes doctors like Josef Mengele and the Nazi experiments. Their beliefs were that humans were expendable. Yes, there was a lot of good data from their experiments...but at what cost?

    Do *you* want to be the one they choose to sacrifice for the "greater good"? I wouldn't.

    And if you think science learns lessons, you haven't been digging in history enough. If life is not valued as important, then atrocities happen.
     
  6. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    because we need to advance, and ethics are subjective, whereas science is objective
     
  7. under skies

    under skies Community Member

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    Yes, definitely. The way I see it, if people (not something like fate, and when it's not what happens naturally) are the ones deciding who must suffer for the "greater good," no matter how many people it will save or help, it is wrong.

    It's one thing when you have to decide between saving one person or saving many because of some horrible disaster that could not have been avoided. It's an entirely separate issue when you are the one causing pain, suffering, or death.



    I have a problem with this, anyway. Although I know it is primarily about quantity of lives being affected, I keep getting the same thought, that "How can you say one life is more valuable than another?" thought. It is a mostly irrelevent thought, but it is bugging me.
     
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  8. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    Curiosity has infinitely many outlets at any given time. I'm afraid, to override ethics, with the excuse of curiosity and human ingenuity, would be a shallow manipulation. It would be covering completely different psychological issues, having nothing to do with curiosity itself.
     
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  9. Stu

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    Yes
     
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  10. rawr

    rawr ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  11. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    Pretty much this.

    There are times where science crosses the line. Killing paients really rubs me the wrong way. However, because it is for the greater good, and it could possibly save the lives of millions of people, I have a hard time saying no, even though I very much want to. When it comes to issues like this, I sort of stick my head in the sand. I know I am not the person to answer this question as it is beyond my capacity. I rather listen to peoples arguments and try to choose one that fits the best. Even then I still have a hard time with it.

    What is ok, and what is no ok makes sense in my head. I call them as I see them and for the most part I see the majority of things as justifyable. Still, its really hard for me to quanitify all of it. I prefer going with things on a case by case basis.
     
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  12. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Of course.
     
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  13. Norton

    Norton XXXX

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    OP: Absolutely, otherwise, Mengele et al.
     
  14. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    What about all those religions squashing science for the past one and a half thousand years for ethical/religious reasons?

    Science needs a chance to catch up. The Jews would have been killed anyway, this way they provided science some benefit.
     
  15. Norton

    Norton XXXX

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    Religions "squashing science" tells us nothing about the role of ethics in science. Despite the beliefs of some, ethics can have a robust and separate existence from religion. Ethics has a critical role to play vis
     
  16. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    death row inmates might be released, we all know the jews weren't going to be.
     
  17. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    I don't think science should be subject to ethical considerations. I think the people who practice science should be subject to ethical considerations. It is that way with religoius beliefs and so it shouldn't be any different with science.
     
  18. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    There is a dark side and a light side to these things (and maybe a few sides in between). This is why ethical discussion is needed, even if the outcome is not a foregone conclusion.
     
  19. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Hindsight is 20/20, Shai. If you were Jewish in a Nazi concentration camp, you would've had to rely on hope that there would be a rescue. But you weren't, and I wasn't, and it's easy to say "use the research anyway because it already happened and there's nothing we can do about it now."

    But we *do* have DNA testing now. It is possible to know if a fetus has a genetic abnormality to some degree. It's possible to know the sex of a fetus. It's possible.

    Here's a possibility for you: If a mother brings a child to term and decides she doesn't want it, is it then okay for the child to become part of genetic experimentation, because the mother (and father, let's assume) gave up their parental rights to the state? Is it okay to selectively breed children exclusively for body parts and/or genetic manipulation and experimentation? Is it ever okay to use a human being for experimentation if that human being has been abandoned to the penal system or to the foster care system?

    When is life not a life? When do we have the right to say so? Do we ever have the authority to take the rights away from another human being just because we want to?

    I say no. But that's me, because frankly I don't want to see another holocaust. I don't want to see another Rwanda, I don't want to see another Cambodia under Pol Pot, I don't want to see another Bosnia, and I don't want to see another major regime walk the planet under the guise of false superiority, telling me I cannot breathe their air. To me, that is the epitome of a sick, twisted society that can only hope for a savior to rescue them from such horrors.
     
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  20. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Good point, Satya. Very good point.
     
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