Ethics in Scientific Research

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11 Jul 2015 05:18 - 11 Jul 2015 05:19 #197473 by Keladry
Ethics in Scientific Research was created by Keladry
One of the things I have been thinking about lately as a researcher is how responsible am I for how others will use my work ? It is very difficult to know in advance the impact that your work will have, but the research topic that I am working on has the potential to be used for either good purposes or for bad purposes. So the question becomes how do you determine not just whether you can do something, but whether you should as a scientist. Knowing that even if you do not it is likely that someone else may still come up with similar work.
Last edit: 11 Jul 2015 05:19 by Keladry.

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11 Jul 2015 06:12 #197475 by Whyte Horse
β€œIt is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.”
― Noam Chomsky

the full rationale is here:
www.chomsky.info/articles/19670223.htm

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
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11 Jul 2015 12:02 #197494 by Mareeka
Replied by Mareeka on topic Ethics in Scientific Research
Thank You WH, the article remains a great read on many levels.

Yet. . . .if you could imagine a goofy animated voice:

I object your honour. silly yes . . .

Yes, the quote is justified as being said by another. It is linked to the environment in which it were sourced. There is no dispute in a matter of where it comes from, if that is what justification means.

However, if the quote is an entire and complete answer to the question of process that is presented in the OP, can the line that connects the question and the answer be provided; because, the research science lab, the personal projects and the particular political world view are nowhere near comparable in terms of the OP question?

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11 Jul 2015 13:52 #197503 by Gisteron
I would say that despite all the purely destructive inventions, overall, the products of science have made and continue to make the world a better place. There is no preventing evil people being evil, considering also that as you said yourself, if you aren't going to do your reserach, somebody else eventually will and all you wil be able to say after what ever happens is that your contribution wasn't quite as severe as it could have been, provided that the other researcher went through all the same hoops you would have gone through to make sure everybody knows the risks in applying the knowledge they gained. Is that chance enough to trump your scientist's curiosity to where you would discontinue the project?

Another question that comes up is, who exactly are you to declare, let alone to judge, what knowledge should or should not be generated? On what grounds do you decide what is too dangerous for mankind, as if mankind was but a mere child at the mercy of a lab coat master race? Of course this argument is fallacious in that it seems to appeal to emotion, cautioning against arrogance rather than raising a valid point itself. So consider then perhaps a different formulation: What if you're wrong and it turns out that the benefits far outweigh the detriments, neither of which you have any direct cotnrol of at this point or perhaps at any later one? Will you be more comfortable with yourself having tried to withhold that knowledge as it comes to be used for good or with having provided it as it comes to be used for evil?

Better to leave questions unanswered than answers unquestioned

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11 Jul 2015 16:39 #197516 by Mareeka
Replied by Mareeka on topic Ethics in Scientific Research
The Question in the OP is excellent.
The article provided by WH is just as excellent.

By way of the one quote from article, "responsibility" is brought to the table as an aspect of the decision making process. In my opinion, and from my lessons from the center of machine, the two are always under on-going analysis and tweaking you might say in the light of time, circumstance, and purpose. Therefore, the second question in the thread.

In this lab (discussion) it is appropriate to ask a participant to provide more information regarding that which was placed on the table by the same participant. The size and scope of the sets (science lab, personal projects and world view political ideology) are quite variant. That is a fact. Hence, a second question was added to the discussion.

There are no requirements for it to be answered nor judgments that WH should not have posted in the second frame.

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11 Jul 2015 17:58 #197523 by Whyte Horse

Mareeka wrote: However, if the quote is an entire and complete answer to the question of process that is presented in the OP, can the line that connects the question and the answer be provided; because, the research science lab, the personal projects and the particular political world view are nowhere near comparable in terms of the OP question?

If the research can be used to harm others, it is the responsibility of the researcher to expose that. I currently work with the Institute for Ethics in Emerging Technologies. We deal with the possibilities and ramifications of new stuff. The latest major breakthrough to rock the boat has been artificial intelligence. The possible harm from this is massive unemployment, so we expose this. We also expose the lie "new technology creates new jobs and everything will work out". Alas you would be surprised how many people do programming and have high level jobs and are completely out of touch with the ramifications of their work. Some even get really upset when you explain it to them and show that this tech could work if the underlying harm was mitigated. An example in the case of mass unemployment would be to use universal basic income. Anyhoo, I don't know what you're working on so it's hard to say much more.

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
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11 Jul 2015 18:15 #197527 by Mareeka
Replied by Mareeka on topic Ethics in Scientific Research
Thanks, WH . . . I did have the discussion set in a broader frame than industry which is the reason why I did not say much in the event it were specific to the field of scientific research.

Thanks for both posts.

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11 Jul 2015 18:51 #197536 by Edan
Replied by Edan on topic Ethics in Scientific Research

Gisteron wrote: Another question that comes up is, who exactly are you to declare, let alone to judge, what knowledge should or should not be generated? On what grounds do you decide what is too dangerous for mankind, as if mankind was but a mere child at the mercy of a lab coat master race? Of course this argument is fallacious in that it seems to appeal to emotion, cautioning against arrogance rather than raising a valid point itself. So consider then perhaps a different formulation: What if you're wrong and it turns out that the benefits far outweigh the detriments, neither of which you have any direct cotnrol of at this point or perhaps at any later one? Will you be more comfortable with yourself having tried to withhold that knowledge as it comes to be used for good or with having provided it as it comes to be used for evil?


We should do what we're comfortable with though ethics wise. Science has produced many an unethical trial that we now look back on and find we cannot allow to be copied. We should be responsible for our own decisions, we cannot be responsible for humanity's; the future will figure itself out.

QUESTION YOUR APATHY

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11 Jul 2015 19:21 #197544 by Khaos
Replied by Khaos on topic Ethics in Scientific Research

Edan wrote:

Gisteron wrote: Another question that comes up is, who exactly are you to declare, let alone to judge, what knowledge should or should not be generated? On what grounds do you decide what is too dangerous for mankind, as if mankind was but a mere child at the mercy of a lab coat master race? Of course this argument is fallacious in that it seems to appeal to emotion, cautioning against arrogance rather than raising a valid point itself. So consider then perhaps a different formulation: What if you're wrong and it turns out that the benefits far outweigh the detriments, neither of which you have any direct cotnrol of at this point or perhaps at any later one? Will you be more comfortable with yourself having tried to withhold that knowledge as it comes to be used for good or with having provided it as it comes to be used for evil?


We should do what we're comfortable with though ethics wise. Science has produced many an unethical trial that we now look back on and find we cannot allow to be copied. We should be responsible for our own decisions, we cannot be responsible for humanity's; the future will figure itself out.


I you were to really look however, we took a lot of good information of many of those unethical trials.

Not to justify them, but in some cases, without that knowledge there would not have been positive gains in many a field for the masses.

Which always makes my mind spin a bit.

No, it shouldnt be copied, but had it not happened at all...

Then it becomes a strange argument of " Is it ok to use information even if you know the source was...less than ethical? Even at the benefit of the many?

Science has had to answer that question, not just contemplate it.

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11 Jul 2015 19:32 - 11 Jul 2015 19:33 #197548 by Edan
Replied by Edan on topic Ethics in Scientific Research

Khaos wrote: I you were to really look however, we took a lot of good information of many of those unethical trials.

Not to justify them, but in some cases, without that knowledge there would not have been positive gains in many a field for the masses.

Which always makes my mind spin a bit.

No, it shouldnt be copied, but had it not happened at all...

Then it becomes a strange argument of " Is it ok to use information even if you know the source was...less than ethical? Even at the benefit of the many?

Science has had to answer that question, not just contemplate it.


The problem with these unrepeatable trials is that now we cannot know that they truly represent what happened. To take two well known examples, Milgram's experiments with obedience, and Zimbardo's experiment on power and authority, present a less than flattering picture of humanity. Repetition is an important part of science, because evidence doesn't mean proof. There are criticisms of the experiments of both researchers I mentioned, and because their results show one thing they are often quoted in papers etc, however without repeats, any flaws in their research may have lead to their results being disproven later along the line. We cannot know and I think we should be cautious therefore about using evidence from unrepeatable research.

QUESTION YOUR APATHY
Last edit: 11 Jul 2015 19:33 by Edan.

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