The scientific method defined and described


The ethics of scientific research are going fine



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The ethics of scientific research are going fine


SCIENTISTS HAVE ADEQUATE ETHICAL STANDARDS

Science sees intellectual honesty as a key virtue

Susan Haack (senior scholar in Arts and Sciences, prof. of philosophy, and prof. of law at the Univ. of Miami at Coral Gables), “Point of Honor: On Science and Religion,” Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 2004, p. 58

“Imaginative speculation is essential, but imaginative hypotheses have to stand up to evidence. In the scientific enterprise, respect for evidence, intellectual honesty; are prime epistemological (and ethical) virtues. At any time, there are new speculations as yet untried, and many contested issues, controversial claims, and competing theories or theory-fragments; the body of accepted claims and theories is far from complete, and it is fallible. Though much of it is by now firmly established, none is in principle beyond the possibility of revision in the light of new evidence.”
Scientists are moral people

Henry Margenau (prof. of physics and natural philosophy, Yale) et al., The Scientist, 1964, p. 33

Regarding Anne Roe’s study of scientists: “As a member of the community, he comes off with marks. In Dr. Roe’s words, scientists ‘pay at least as much attention to civic duties as the average man does; they do not enrich themselves at public expense; they and their families rarely become public charges; and the more violent crimes are practically unknown among them.’”

SCIENCE SHOULD NOT BE BLAMED FOR THE MISUSE OF KNOWLEDGE

We cannot anticipate misapplications of knowledge

Archibald V. Hill (prof. of physiology, Cambridge Univ.; Nobel Prize 1923), “The Humanity of Science” in The Fate of Man, ed. by Crane Brinton, 1961, p. 464

“How — I ask you — is the scientist to know which of his discoveries will be misused by wicked or thoughtless men?”
Scientists are not to blame for misuses

Archibald V. Hill (prof. of physiology, Cambridge Univ.; Nobel Prize 1923), “The Humanity of Science” in The Fate of Man, ed. by Crane Brinton, 1961, p. 464

“But science can scarcely be blamed for the misuse which non-scientific people (that is, most of the world) make of certain scientific discoveries.”
Those misusing science are morally accountable

Rene Jules Dubos (bacteriologist, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research), “Utopias and Human Goals” in The Fate of Man, ed. by Crane Brinton, 1961, p. 475

“To discover, to describe, to classify, to invent, has been the traditional task of the scientist until this century; on the whole a pleasant occupation amounting to a sophisticated hobby. The happy phase of social irresponsibility is now over and the scientist will be called to account for his actions. His dilemma is and will remain that he cannot predict these consequences because they depend on many factors beyond his knowledge or at least beyond his control — in particular, on the exercise of free will by men.”
Government has responsibility for the misuse of science

Archibald V. Hill (prof. of physiology, Cambridge Univ.; Nobel Prize 1923), “The Humanity of Science” in The Fate of Man, ed. by Crane Brinton, 1961, p. 465

“After all, it is government by Parliament or dictator which decides on the use or abuse of any particular discovery; and the number of dictators, or Prime Ministers, or even Members of Parliament, who have acquaintance with science, is still — to put it mildly — insignificant. You cannot blame the inventor of safety matches if a naughty boy uses one to set fire to a haystack!”
Scientists try to limit abuses

Rene Jules Dubos (bacteriologist, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research), “Utopias and Human Goals” in The Fate of Man, ed. by Crane Brinton, 1961, p. 475

“The scientist cannot predict the remote consequences of his activities, but he can often provide techniques for recognizing them early. One of the few encouraging indications that science has come of age is the fact that intensive studies on the potential danger of radiation were initiated as soon as it became apparent that the forces unleashed by knowledge of the atom would find a place in the technology of war and peace.”
Regulating science would destroy its usefulness

Archibald V. Hill (prof. of physiology, Cambridge Univ.; Nobel Prize 1923), “The Humanity of Science” in The Fate of Man, ed. by Crane Brinton, 1961, p. 464

“Are we, for example, to forbid long-range prediction of the weather because, if it is successful, it may make it easier for some dictator to prepare for an attack on a neighbor? Are we to say that attempts to find out the mechanism of the human ear must be abandoned because the ear may be used in hunting submarines or locating enemy aircraft? Shall we stop research workers from studying, and so possibly from preventing, plant diseases, because if they succeed too completely or too suddenly an economic crisis may result from overproduction of food or tobacco?”

SCIENCE NEEDS UNRESTRICTED SCOPE

Setting limits would eliminate the serendipity of science

James Burke (BBC science correspondent), Connections, 1978, p. 293

“The second attitude held is that we should assess scientific and technological research strictly according to its worth for society, and curtail all other forms of research. This presents more difficult problems. In selecting which areas of research to encourage and which to curtail, to what extent are we depriving ourselves of the benefits of serendipity, which, as this book shows, is at the heart of the process of change? Without Apollo, would we have microcomputers? Without Moisson’s search for artificial diamonds, would cyanamide fertilizers have been discovered? Without the atomic bomb, would fusion be feasible?”
Religious authorities have given man dominion over nature

Eve and Albert Stwertka (physicians and college instructors), Genetic Engineering, revised edition, 1989, p. 126

“Are scientists ‘playing God’? Religious leaders of every faith have debated this question. Some find it arrogant to tamper with life as God created it. But others point to the verse in the Old Testament in which God tells Adam and Eve to ‘be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over ... every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ To them it seems that men and women were put in charge of nature, to use and change it for their own benefit.”

[Ellipsis in original text]


Increased understanding of biology will free the human spirit

G.J.V. Nossal (director, Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia), in Genetic Engineering, ed. by William Dudley, 1990, p. 51

“A fuller understanding of man’s biological nature, not by a few experts, but by large masses of people, could prove to be a very liberating experience. Ignorance, superstition, fear of unknowable dark forces, oppression by the few gifted with knowledge and power — these have been the impediments which over the centuries have fettered the human spirit.”
Exploring human biology unveils the truth mosaic of human life

G.J.V. Nossal (director, Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia), in Genetic Engineering, ed. by William Dudley, 1990, p. 51

“As the biological basis of the phenomenon of man is gradually revealed, I have no doubt that, far from leading a sterile or uniform vision, a richly-patterned, fine-grained mosaic will emerge, dazzling in its complexity, diversity, and subtlety.”
DNA experiments have increased knowledge

Stanley Cohen (prof. of medicine, Stanford Univ.), in Human Life: Controversies and Concerns, ed. by Bruce Bohle, 1979, p. 195

“In the short space of three and one-half years, the use of the recombinant DNA technology has already been of major importance to the advancement of fundamental knowledge.”
Scientific knowledge is universally good

G.J.V. Nossal (director, Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia), in Genetic Engineering, ed. by William Dudley, 1990, p. 51

“Of course it is good for us to know more about what we are: at worst, this knowledge might allow us to prevent and cure our most obvious ailments; at best, it might even help us to deal more effectively with one another. No knowledge of a natural truth gained by objective search can be harmful, though its misuse obviously can. Furthermore, no depth of insight lets the physical nature of man that we can derive from scientific experimentation will detract from or compete with the insights that we gain through the humanities, though indeed, a complementation is an essential possibility.”
Limits constrain science’s power to help

John Langone (lecturer, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School), Human Engineering: Marvel or Menace? 1978, p. 149

“And the easy way out would be to adopt an attitude hat says, in effect: let’s quit probing where we shouldn’t before it’s too late; or, let’s not ever use human beings in research studies. Such a stance not only goes against the commitment science has made to accumulate new knowledge — a commitment that is at the very heart of all scientific inquiry — it also throws a barrier across the path of researchers who must fulfill science’s other great commitment: the betterment of humankind through eradication of disease and by giving all of us a better world in which to live.”
Regulation oppresses scientific freedom

John Langone (lecturer, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School), Human Engineering: Marvel or Menace? 1978, p. 113

“The right to investigate, to seek a scientific truth, is important to every scientist. Too much regulation, it is argued, will eventually destroy scientific freedom and create new Dark Ages of intellectual emptiness.”
No scientist wants to perform dangerous experiments

Stanley Cohen (prof. of medicine, Stanford Univ.), in Human Life: Controversies and Concerns, ed. by Bruce Bohle, 1979, p. 193

“The fact is that no one has proposed that freedom of inquiry be extended to scientific experiments that endanger public safety. Yet ‘freedom of scientific inquiry’ is repeatedly raised as a straw-man issue by critics who imply that somewhere there are those who argue there should be no restraint whatsoever on research.”



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