Posts Tagged ‘research ethics’

Science and Religion Vs. Run-of-the-Mill Hedonism

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Another outtake from my run-of-the-mill hedonism essay–

It is sometimes useful to turn the “What are we doing instead” question back on the atheism that claims to live by science, since good science, like religion, is very often ignored as the guiding driver of human activity. Those who claim to follow science rarely successfully apply it both in public policy and in personal life (e.g., diet and exercise). There is more scientific knowledge available in our era than any other, yet bandwidth, and consequently brain-width, flows instead to violent games and to pornography.

Science, like religion, is constantly being ignored and betrayed. For example, research shows that educating prisoners reduces recidivism. But legislatures continue to discount these findings for the sake of “throw-away-the-key” populism, and rarely adequately fund prisoner education. Consider betrayals like the Tuskegee and Guatemala experiments, where rogue scientists infected many poor people with disease without their informed consent, or Alfred Kinsey’s shielding of active pedophiles during his research, or the numerous annual ethical infractions unearthed worldwide by thousands of scientific ethics panels and institutional review boards. (See, for example, the many Determination Letters issued by the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).) Ethical scientists bear a heavily-tangled bureaucratic self-reporting burden due to infamous “mad scientist” rogues who prompted such regulatory intervention.

True religion and true science potentially share a common animus to run-of-the-mill hedonism. Both science and religion share common ethical foundations. From what particular moral source do we learn scientific infractions are wrong, other than the Biblical commandments not to lie, not to steal, and not to kill?

© Copyright 2013, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved

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