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Ethics of Biological Warfare - Essay Example

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15 October 2011. Ethics of Biological Warfare Humans have had fights with one another since the evolution of mankind. The history of the debate about the justification or illegitimacy of war can also be traced to the same point…
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Ethics of Biological Warfare
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Download file to see previous pages Contemporary wars are characterized by the use of biochemical and nuclear weapons rather than manual force. Thus, contemporary wars have erupted on all levels ranging from domestic to international. The increase of knowledge in such fields as nuclear physics, chemistry, biology and radiology has generated a fear among the scientists about the potential of the modified pathogens to comprise overwhelming agents for the warfare. This paper briefly discusses the history of warfare and the ethics of science’s role in the advancement of modern warfare in general and the chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) warfare in particular. The evolution of all sorts of weaponry can fundamentally be attributed to the dual-use dilemma. Researchers may not be intending to develop something potentially harmful, yet they assume great tendency to do so while experimenting with noble intentions. A research done in 2001 demonstrates the dual-use dilemma. In this research, the researchers’ efforts were directed at creating a contraceptive vaccine for the pest control, but on their way, researchers ended up developing a bioweapon. Australian researchers hypothesized that introducing a gene that creates large amounts of interleukin-4 (IL-4) into mice would stimulate antibodies against mouse eggs and render the animals infertile…The scientists chose a benign mousepox virus…[that] killed all of the mice in the study. IL-4 suppressed the immune system, making it unable to fight the mousepox virus. With no defensive launched by the immune system the virus was 100 percent lethal. The virus was significantly lethal even in mice vaccinated against this particular strain of mousepox. (Nowak cited in Reyes). The same technique can be used for the humans since the human smallpox is equivalent to the virus of the mousepox. Before getting their research report published, the Australian researchers seeked guidance from Australia’s Department of Defence regarding their proceedings. Jackson, one of the researchers said, “We wanted to warn the general population that this potentially dangerous technology is available. We wanted to make it clear to the scientific community that they should be careful, that it is not too difficult to create severe organisms” (Jackson cited in Nowak). This also speaks of the fact that many techniques have been brought to the attention of the concerned parties by the scientists with the positive intention of warning them against such experiments. It is hard to justify the development of nuclear weaponry by any standard of ethics until one country developed it for the first time. In the current circumstances, its development is inevitable given some countries that possess nuclear weapons can not be allowed to rule the world just because other countries don’t have them. Countries need nuclear weapons not because they want to attack others, but because they need to be sufficient in their self-defense. A nuclear war does not make anyone succeed as long as both the countries are in possession of the nuclear weapons. Even if not suddenly, many abnormalities show up eventually. Citizens of Heroshema and Nagasaki have retained the effects of nuclear war in their genes and many have thus lost the tendency to give birth to normal children. International treaties to outlaw the biological weapons have surfaced from time to time first in 1925 and then ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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