Ethics, in a broad sense, is the philosophy which guides us in our decisions through the consideration of the rights and wrongs. As science and technology significantly apply to and affect our lives, it is important that the most ethical decisions are being made in the development of science and technology.
One of the most clashing points between ethics and science is the respect of various values (social and moral) in the research. This includes but is not limited to abiding by the law, health and safety, human rights, animal welfare and religion. Unfortunately, in many cases, these values are needed to be sacrificed in order to develop science and technology. Things such as the allowance of animal testing and cryonics are a popular and ongoing topic of debate. Due to the different values of people, there is often never a clear answer. Some say yes, some say no, some say yes under certain conditions. But, how can we know what the correct answer is for all the debates between science and ethics? The truth is that we can never have a perfect answer. The values held in the development of science, technology and obtaining knowledge often clash with moral and social values. Hence, the answer to the question is: to make sure to look at both sides to guide us to make the most balanced decision, without having to completely ignore one side or the other. It sounds simple but it is something that can easily be overlooked. Plant biologist Elvin C. Stakman stated that “Science cannot stop while ethics catches up.” Hence, we cannot wait for an ethically drastic outcome to occur before trying to steer science back to the “right” path. Through this, it is hopeful for everyone to increase their interest in science and technology in our lives to make sure the most ethical decision is made in one of the most influential aspects of our lives.
Written by Regina Lee