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Science and Ethics: Achieving Harmony - Essay Example

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Science and Ethics: Achieving Harmony
The battle against ignorance is one that is unceasingly being waged by man as scientists continue to pursue discoveries in their respective fields of expertise. …
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Science and Ethics: Achieving Harmony

Download file to see previous pages... Apparently, the improvements that man has achieved in every sphere of his life are all products of scientific research and engineering. Nevertheless, the march of science has never been easy. It has encountered many obstructions that often discourage the scientists from continuing their work. Ironically, the most prominent obstacle is not intellectual backwardness or inadequate technology. Neither is it the lack of determination of the scientists themselves. Instead it is the tendency of man to hold on to traditionally held concepts, which survival is at stake as science advances. The most powerful of these concepts are so-called standards for morality: ethics. There have been countless of times when scientific advances are impeded because of ethical considerations. Lauren Slater’s article on Joe Rosen, Dr. Daedalus, and Barbara Kingsolver’s A Fist in the Eye of God, which is an excerpt from her book Small Wonders deal with the issue articulately. Slater’s account of Joe Rosen’s attitude towards altering man’s physical attributes provides insights on the necessity of scientific advancement for man’s own well-being. On the other hand, Kingsolver explains the logical relationship of science and ethics, pointing out what both should not conflict but should instead compliment each other. Based on the two articles, it would be easy to see the reason why scientific discoveries should be freed the limits set by ethics. At the same time, applying the products of science should be governed by ethical considerations. Nature already exists even before man began to mould his consciousness as a being. This means that man exists separately from other objects in his surroundings. His mind though may process understanding of such objects. Therefore he may develop his own definition of such things but this does not mean that he conceptualized these. With such logic, it is only correct to argue that science is beyond the realm of man’s subjective wants such as ethical standards. However, people have always tended to seek comfort in the conventional and be fearful of the new discoveries. Bearing conventions, they tend to be prejudicial to any scientific advance that may not seem acceptable to ethical standards held for centuries already. Instead of welcoming discoveries and opening their minds in order to analyze further their benefits to man, they are more prone to cite religious and traditional beliefs to criticize these. This is what Rosen experienced when he raised the possibility of introducing changes in the human’s physical appearance so that he can have the desired capabilities. Rosen presents his case with a question: “why are plastic surgeons dedicated only to restoring our current notions of the conventional, as opposed to letting people explore, if they want, what the possibilities are?” (Slater 316) With such statement, Rosen criticizes his colleagues who venture only in purely aesthetic work according the conventional notions of beauty and do not dare to discover more that would result in man’s improved capabilities. Behind this criticism is the concept that convention is subjective, one that is formulated by man without the benefit of affirmation and confirmation of science. Scientific discoveries, on the contrary, are not based on what man wants or wishes but are instead the confirmation of what is already existent or natural. Charles Darwin, for example, did not really provide the world with theories coming straight from his imagination. He merely articulated in the most objective and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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