Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Man, the scientist, as God...

TF Stern has written on this and I must express that the ol' prob' has a sneaking corner of respect for his point of view.

The fundamental question has to be "Should science be limited in its scope by moral considerations?"

Well, in terms of seeking and discovery I would almost certainly say no, and it is that point that I disagree with TF.

HOWEVER!!!

There are some scientific discoveries which would better have been left in Pandora's little box rather than being let loose. Examples are easy - nuclear fission being used for weapons of war; genetic modification to render seeds infertile.

The idea that there are some areas of science that should be left aside is valid. NZ has several "Science Ethics" committees who vet the direction and intent of research projects. New projects are required to meet fairly stringent strictures on what is ethical (read moral?).

But who should make the decision?

4 comments:

T. F. Stern said...

I need to enter this on my journal, The Probligo agreed with me, at least in part.

The probligo said...

:-) TF.

I tried to trackback on this to your article but as usual there is something fundamental that I find too difficult to handle.

I am a bear of small brain...

Dave said...

Science itself is not, and cannot be immoral. Even the techniques you describe are not inherently immoral. Of course any individual use of a technique can be either moral or immoral.

The probligo said...

There are some areas, Dave, where scientific research is immoral; at least in my book.

Number one and primary "immorality" would be the use of human subjects without their consent. Think Mengele before you start objecting, then think the use of human fetuses.