An Ethical Approach for Biology: Towards a Caring Biology
Morrison, William R., III
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I will start with the situation in which biology disclaims any responsibility for its impact on society. In this scenario, . biology would pursue research and use technologies regardless of their effects on society. In the mind of the biologist, his or her job would be completely divorced from the ethical implications that their work might have. Biology and biologists would not be cautious in their pursuit of science, since there would be a general attitude of ambivalence towards anything except the direct results of research. Scientific "progress" would be the main concern of biologists, where progress is equated with greater knowledge and offshoots of technology from that knowledge. Another way biology might be done could be nearly the opposite of the previous scenario: biology could care almost solely for the social implications of its work. "Basic" research, or research designed for the sole purpose of gaining knowledge, would be disregarded in favor of pursuing research that seems to be able to benefit society directly. Funding would go towards those projects that cure diseases, mitigate humanity's detrimental environmental impacts, among other like-minded endeavors. This could have the effect of undercutting future discoveries, since research done for the sake of knowing often is the basis for later discoveries that have practical importance for society.
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