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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Science and Ethics

Science is more more and more powerful as you all know.
They can create the perfect baby ( as a product, you choose the color of eyes of our baby)
In Pittsburgh university, they can read in you mind ( just simple words for the moment).

But when you think about possible applications of theses incredible scientific advances, they are sometimes frightening for the humanity. Just think about the manipulation of human embryo, it could lead to eugenics..

My question is simple:

Should we slow down science progresses when the applications of theses advances could contradict with Ethics?

Or Science shouldn't be slow down but States have to deal with applications to prevent from a possible misuse.

What's you thoughts?
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 01:00 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

I am not going to say what I think about these specific cases, but I will say this which is a truism, but still worth remembering:

Science, in-and-of-itself is inherintly completely neutral, that is to say, it neither moves to do anything for good or ill conciously. It is the way this method is used by particular individuals that can make it revolutionary for good causes or for bad ones.

But to speak about slowing down the scientific process is to confuse what science is as to how it is used.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Science and Ethics

So even if a scientific research could lead to an obvious potential misuse ( cloning for instance in my opinion), we should let science make research about it for you.

It's a little easy to distinguish scientific advances and their applications. They are totally linked, it's not the science is neutral and people are evil.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 02:47 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

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So even if a scientific research could lead to an obvious potential misuse ( cloning for instance in my opinion), we should let science make research about it for you.
Not exactly.

I mean everything ought to be looked at in a case by case basis.

Sadly, sometimes issues like cloning or abortion lead to conflicting issues.

On the one hand, you may have the issue of perserving originality (as in cloning) vs expanding somemones life through the cloning of organs. In abortion the conflict of freedom of choice and not brining a person into this world in a bad circumstance or killing a potential life.

In these cases it is hard to decide, but I think individuals ought to make these decisions.

I think scientific research should remain open, because if we close down too many options, we will force some scientific research to remain stagnant.

What do you think about the limits of science should be?

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Science and Ethics

I'm undecided about it.
I get your point about the potential stagnation of science if we shut down research possibilities but we have to be really vigilant and embryo research for example are really problematic. Parents are choosing characteristics of their future children and it is turning into a freaking eugenics stuff.
I think we lack of Ethics discussion in the society because it could be helpful to "control" more scientific research.

We need ,in my opinion, to think about it seriously before doing it (even if science is ready to do it).
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 03:04 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

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I'm undecided about it.
I get your point about the potential stagnation of science if we shut down research possibilities but we have to be really vigilant and embryo research for example are really problematic. Parents are choosing characteristics of their future children and it is turning into a freaking eugenics stuff.
I think we lack of Ethics discussion in the society because it could be helpful to control more scientific research. We need ,in my opinion, to think about it seriously before doing it (even if science is ready to do it).
Yeah, the whole potential for Eugenics is quite awful.

And perhpas talking about these issues will help enlighten some people, though I do think that racist tendencies will never be eliminated, so even if some people start choosing genetic traits for there children, I think it will only be a small portion of the population.

In any case, genetic research ought to focus more on other areas, such as cure for diseases and the like.

Also, Governments ought to have more control over what private companies can do, I think this can help eliminate some of the ugly potentials of scientific reasearch that you correctly point out.

If we leave this stuff to solely to private companies, they will do anything for more money, in my opinon.

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 04:54 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

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Science, in-and-of-itself is inherintly completely neutral, that is to say, it neither moves to do anything for good or ill conciously. It is the way this method is used by particular individuals that can make it revolutionary for good causes or for bad ones.

But to speak about slowing down the scientific process is to confuse what science is as to how it is used.
I think that says it all.

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Science and Ethics

I think that did not say it all.
Science and its applications are linked.
It's too easy to say: you know the scientific research was neutral, it's people who perverted the results of it.
There is not on one side a neutral science and on the other side evil people.
It's people who make the science.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 05:10 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

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I think that did not say it all.
Science and its applications are linked.
It's too easy to say: you know the scientific research was neutral, it's people who perverted the results of it.
There is not on one side a neutral science and on the other side evil people.
It's people who made the science.
People did invent the scientific process as well as logic, but once established, the processes are different that the use they are applied to.

That is to say, the scientific process, consisting of hypothesis, experimentation and results and re-evaluation, in-and-of-it-self is not evil.

Math also goes this way. Mathematical formula applications can lead to horrible results, like nuclear weapons and the like, but the actual mathematics is neutral.

It's the way the results from these processes are used that determines its moral value.

For example, if through the scientific process we discover what gene causes blue eyes, that result alone is not evil, the use of this process in changing the way an unborn baby looks can be morally problematic, but not the steps prior to implementation.

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Science and Ethics

You can say the scientist who discovered what genes caused blue eyes is totally neutral. Unfortunately, I think he is not neutral when he decided to work on this aspect. He knew the possible outcome of this discovery.
That's why I say science is not neutral in itself. The concept of science is neutral. Doing science is not neutral most of the times.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 05:42 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

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You can say the scientist who discovered what genes caused blue eyes is totally neutral. Unfortunately, I think he is not neutral when he decided to work on this aspect. He knew the possible outcome of this discovery.
That's why I say science is not neutral in itself. The concept of science is neutral. Doing science is not neutral most of the times.
Yes, I see what you are saying, a Scientists who has the intention of finding such things out is problematic, but the tool is still neutral.

Think of a hammer, it is normally used for nails, but it can used as a weapon.

It's still the intention. That science can lead people to bad things with this discovery is still the peoples falt.

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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 07:04 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grassquet View Post
Science is more more and more powerful as you all know.
They can create the perfect baby ( as a product, you choose the color of eyes of our baby)
In Pittsburgh university, they can read in you mind ( just simple words for the moment).

But when you think about possible applications of theses incredible scientific advances, they are sometimes frightening for the humanity. Just think about the manipulation of human embryo, it could lead to eugenics..

My question is simple:

Should we slow down science progresses when the applications of theses advances could contradict with Ethics?

Or Science shouldn't be slow down but States have to deal with applications to prevent from a possible misuse.

What's you thoughts?

Nope. It is already wrong the regulate stem cell research and other things. It is understandable from some aspects.

Science is already under a lot of ethical scrutiny. Especially concerning how the actual science is conducted. Animal research for example. Also human research is of course heavily regulated for ethical concerns. If it was set free you could progress much faster especially with the genetic research.

As an example of unethical research is the nazi research on identical twins that naturally lead to very potent results but luckily for everyone such research will never be done again.

Of course their agenda was to create the perfect human. The tall, strong, blue-eyed and blond superhuman. If science was let lose totally free with an agenda like that it would no doubt succeed.

Everytime you take the most brilliant minds and give them unlimited funding there is basically no limit. The atombomb is a good example. Everyone knew the agenda and the ethical concerns but yet they finished it.

And you know what? If it hadn't been invented by the end of the war someone else would have invented it just a year(s) later. All the theory needed was available. All that was needed was putting it together.

It's the same with most science. You can't really stop it. If the theory is out and it's know how to experiment and develop it well then it will be done
. If it's regulated in US then it will happen somewhere where it isn't. Cloning is a good example.

It will continue to be like that. You can't really stop the science itself. All you can do is control the use of the future applications and who is allowed to have them. Much like nuclear weapons are so heavily regulated
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-17-2011, 07:47 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

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Originally Posted by Grassquet View Post
You can say the scientist who discovered what genes caused blue eyes is totally neutral. Unfortunately, I think he is not neutral when he decided to work on this aspect. He knew the possible outcome of this discovery.
That's why I say science is not neutral in itself. The concept of science is neutral. Doing science is not neutral most of the times.
As just about everyone here has stated: Discovering what gene causes blue eyes is a totally neutral pursuit. The outcome is a totally neutral result. All it is, is the discovery of one more previously unknown scientific fact.

A scientific discovery is totally separate from anything that might take place as a result of the discovery.

Since just about everything in the world can be put to a bad purpose, you are really questioning whether all scientific research should be halted right now. Which nobody would seriously suggest.

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 01:22 AM
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Re: Science and Ethics

Its obvious that the development of the sciences is inherently linked to its applications nowadays. Long gone are the days where universities were independent and rich enough to pursue high-level scientific research without any need for an immediate application. And the days of independent thinkers is even more lointain.

Technological development nowadays is absolutely linked to big investment and, therefore, to the applications of such développement.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 01:20 PM
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Re: Science and Ethics

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Its obvious that the development of the sciences is inherently linked to its applications nowadays. Long gone are the days where universities were independent and rich enough to pursue high-level scientific research without any need for an immediate application. And the days of independent thinkers is even more lointain.

Technological development nowadays is absolutely linked to big investment and, therefore, to the applications of such développement.
OK, I was wrong. Glennmyrni could never have written with such foppery.

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