Thursday, May 13, 2004

Welcome to Sciethics

Many stories on the news these days speak about some ethical dilemma or decision relating to scientific discoveries. How do we use the techniques that we invent? What do we do with the knowledge we gain? Who should make these decisions?

This site is intended to encourage debate, particularly between scientists and lay people, on these questions. It will present issues related to the ethics of science as they are raised. When new research is published or new regulations proposed, it will be reported here. When issues hit the news, this site gives an opportunity for anybody who is interested to contribute to the debate. You will be able to respond with your own comments and raise your own concerns and ideas.

I have started this website because of my own particular interest in science ethics. Given the amount of news space given to this topic, I assume that lots of other people are interested in it as well. But I have found it very difficult to find a discussion forum specifically based around science ethics that is neither aimed at a very specialist scientific community nor designed solely to "tell you what we think". I wanted a site that would enable scientists, environmentalists, legislators, and people who just happen to be interested, to swap viewpoints and help each other come to a better understanding. So I had to start my own.

Like everyone else in the entire world, I have my biases. And like everyone else in the entire world, I call my particular set of biases "common sense". I have a degree in Biochemistry and some practical research experience, which biases me in one direction. I am a committed Christian, which biases me in another direction. This background is also what has given me my interest in the ethics of scientific research. But I will attempt, to the best of my ability, to keep this website balanced and open to all viewpoints.

1 comment:

Dr Elizabeth Evans said...

I agree there are many dilemmas. From a functional point of vieew the main aim must be to create a consensus. There is consensus that scientific reasearch should benefit mankind in general. There is no consensus of course on which bits of mankind should benefit (the born versus the unborn for example) or what benefit means eg is it beneficial to mankind to feed more people who will then go on to use more of the world's resources. The debate needs to be incremental as each point is debated and agreed or agree to disagree. That would be the value of a website like this and I wish you luck.