The recent controversy over the teaching of intelligent design has served to highlight the ongoing conflict between politics, religion and science. The debate between evolution and intelligent design is only one facet of the larger issue of the proper role of ethics and religion in the scientific world.
Scientists today delve into innumerable areas that raise ethical questions. This research raises the prospect of tremendous advances for humanity as well as the specter of terrible consequences. Scientific research has the potential to create heretofore unheard of medical advances.
But as technology advances, troubling questions arise. Is it ethical to create an embryo, which some regard as a human life, for the reason of destroying it by harvesting cellular material? Are scientists complicit in how their research is used? What kind of expertise does the average person need to have to legitimately intervene?
In the corporate world, once a company modifies the genes of a plant to raise its yield, is it okay for them to further modify it to ensure that farmers must purchase seeds on a yearly basis? If a pharmaceutical company discovers a life saving drug, is it ethical to refuse to license generic versions, putting it financially out of reach of all but the wealthiest people who need it?
This Week’s Articles
- Russell Einstein Manifesto
- When Everything is Permitted
- A Special Theory of Relativity for Science and Society
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.