ETHICS IN SCIENCE Ethics in Science 


Ethics is the accommodation of the ³me´ with the ³them´ Ethics is the optimization of individual activity within Society 

The Ethical Question 

The ethical question is one of individual behavior with respect to the social structure An isolated person has no need for ethics 

Ethics is Utilitarian 

The ethical question asks,´does it work?´ 

³does it work´ implies pragmatism and utilitarianism; i.e.,is the ethical decision realistic and useful

Origin of ethics
Ethics arises out of competition between individual values within a society  Values are what is important to the individual  Groups have no values per se. The values of a group is a compromise taken over the values of group members 

Modern Values
Modern science, Modern art, and modern society arose when individual values were recognized as valid and not subservient to the group  Group science and group art is dreadful, political, and programmatic  Only individuals are creative. Society benefits from individual creativity 


during the pre-renaissance, the social structure, the church, or state claimed hegemony over the individual. Such things happen today in totalitarian states

Groups and Individuals 

Groups are not creative Groups provide resources Groups invest in individuals seeking a return on the investment both fiscally and culturally  

Individuals are seldom rewarded by the group in true proportion to their contribution  The group most of the time doesn¶t understand the investment and generally undervalues it and over values the group contribution 

Thomas Alva Edison¶s greatest invention was not the phonograph, or light bulb,or Edison effect (which he did not understand or appreciate) or the multiplexed stock ticker. His greatest contribution was the modern research organization  Edison founded General Electric and their famous Knolls laboratory 

Thomas Alva Edison

Modern Research Laboratory (MRL) 

MRL resembles the pre-renaissance world in that the individual is less important than the team Individual expression is suspect and subsumed by team expression Team player trumps the individual player MRL occurs both in the academic and business worlds


In opposition to the Edison model for Research is Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship is an attempt by the individual to obtain a larger´piece of the pie´ 

Ethical Choices of the Scienctist
What is an ethical choice?  What is an ethical goal?  Can one have non-ethical choices and an ethical goal? This is Sophie¶s Choice  Can one have ethical choices and a non-ethical goal? Means justify the ends 

Sophie¶s Choice
Her choice, Sophie¶s choice given to her by a Nazi medical doctor was to choose which of her children dies in concentration camp gas chamber

Choice Definition
Choice is the path one takes to the goal  There are multiple paths  The are multiple goals some patent, some recondite  Ethical responsibility and choice are a canonical couple 

Game of Choices



Ignorance of a Choice or Goal is no Excuse 

List and know all possible choices both ethical and non-ethical List and know consequences of Choice Know thy goal or goals List and know consequences of obtaining or not obtaining goal Make choice Take responsibility for choice

Limitation of free Choice 

Choices are limited by perception

If I see an armed man receiving money from another, am I perceiving a robbery or am I perceiving Brink¶s officer taking money off to a vault?  Taking action on the former perception especially If I¶m armed could be a disaster 

Ethics of Science
Below is a list of ethical guidelines  We shall take these guidelines and apply them to case histories  We shall examine the whether guidelines 

Work in a modern research laboratory


Honesty Careful experimental technique Non-manipulation treatment of data Continual development of knowledge and skills Willing to change hypothesis in face of new evidence Willing to challenge ones hypothesis through falsifiation Avoids intimidation, rhetoric, propaganda, and misrepresentation Does not appeal to authority


Recognizes the consequence of ones research Communicates through peer reviewed journals of meetings Need to unify disparate data Forms hypothesis consistent with existing body of knowledge Avoids conflict of interest Provides experimental details so work is reproducible by others skilled in the art Assigns credit where credit is due Does not falsify or manipulates data Does not plagiarize works of others or claims as own Socially aware

Application of Guidelines to MRL 

Most patents written today are not full or honest disclosures. SOP Many MRL¶s do not patent but keep information as trade secrets Claims form any drugs¶ effectiveness overstated; e.g., vitamins Often electronic products introduced into market with the intension to allow the end-user identify the ³bugs´ MRL makes little provisions for scientist to keep up with new knowledge

Application of Guidelines to MRL 

MRL are authority based MRL make few real world provisions to reward inventors Frequently inventions are appropriated by others allowing the court to decide ownership TB, Japan 80% of patents and publication are fabrications

Case histories 

You are a graduate student working or a leading astronomer. Your job is to use a sophisticated radio telescope the astronomer designed or observing variable radio sources in the universe. A ter several weeks o analyzing data, you realize you have discovered a totally new kind o star -- one that provides evidence or the origin o the universe. Your boss congratulates you or your ine work, writes a major report on it, and wins a Nobel Prize. What should you do?

Case histories
Being Scooped by Your Own Work 

You are a young scientist who recently sent a paper based on your research in adolescent anorexia to an important scienti ic journal to be considered or publication. As is the custom, the journal's editor sends the paper out or review to other experts in the ield. A ter several weeks he returns the paper to you, rejecting it because he claims that its reviewers ound that "it contains several major errors and misinterpretations." Then, several months later, in another journal you ind an article containing data almost identical to your own, and using sentences and descriptions similar to yours. What should you do?

Case histories A "Doctored" Doctorate? 

You are a graduate student working on a Ph.D. in chemistry at a prestigious university. A good riend o yours who is a graduate student in the same lab reveals to you that he hasn't done all the experiments he said he did, and that a substantial part o his data has been doctored to make it look like it is based on original work. What should you do?

Case histories Preempting Theft 

A scientist doing research on sickle cell disease inds a way to produce a chemical rom genetically changed mice that reduces the symptoms o sickle cell disease in many o its victims. Because he recognizes that he could earn a lot o money i the chemical is produced commercially, he does not want to reveal some o the details o the procedure or production. He submits a paper or publication in which he deliberately includes an incorrect gene sequences. The paper is well written and plausible, and unless the re erees attempt to clone the gene themselves, they would have no way o knowing o the deliberate error. When the paper is accepted or publication, the scientist will correct the error. Is the scientist justi ied in misrepresenting his data? --What i he withholds the proper sequence rom the inal publication?

Case histories Editorial Responsibility 

You are editor o a prestigious scienti ic journal that is respected around the world or its timely, accurate reporting. A story is "leaked" to you by a con idential source that provides strong evidence that a major scientist working on HIV (the AIDS virus) has reported alse data in his experiments. What should you do?

Case histories Science for Who? 

You are a scientist at a major university who has discovered a chemical broth that makes it easy to grow the virus that causes AIDS in a laboratory lask. What will you do? --share the recipe immediately with all laboratories that need it or AIDS research? --or publish irst? --or solicit o ers rom pharmaceutical companies who might want to market the broth?

Case histories Using Nazi Data     

During the early part o World War II the Nazi's lost many pilots during the Battle o Britain in the icy waters o the English hannel. On land large numbers o Germans roze on the Russian ront. The Nazi's decided to start cold experiments at Dachau concentration camp in mid-August o 1942. They conducted about 400 di erent experiments using approximately 300 prisoners. The experiments involved leaving the people in vats o icy water or hours or in the reezing outdoors. The Nazi's measured their changes in blood, urine, spinal luid, muscle re lexes, heart action and body temperature. When the patients' temperatures dropped below 79.7 degrees F, various ways o rewarming were tried. Rapid rewarming proved most e ective. Slow rewarming was not very e ective and alcohol actually hastened cooling. Up to 100 prisoners died during these experiments. Approximately 1000 people die o exposure to cold in the U.S. every year. No current data is available as complete or as accurate as that o the Nazi's. It was determined that the Nazi method o rapid rewarming in hot water be used as the treatment o choice by the Air-Sea Rescue Services o the U.S. Armed Forces.

Case histories Renegade Research?    

Thomas reighton, a 33-year-old mechanic, was dying o heart disease. The surgeons at the University o Arizona per ormed a heart transplant on him, but the new heart was rejected. Instead o waiting two hours to use the approved Jarvik-7 arti icial heart, they implanted an unauthorized arti icial heart. Two hours a ter the surgery, the doctors removed the arti icial heart and implanted a second human heart. This second heart transplant also ailed. Mr. reighton died orty-six hours a ter the irst surgery. The Food and Drug Administration investigated, but took no action against the surgeons involved. I the doctors were ound guilty o per orming an unauthorized experiment on a patient, what action should be taken against them? Would the action be the same i the patient had not died?

Case histories
To Medicate or Not to Medicate  

Terry Kelly received a National Institute o Mental Health grant or research in the Western Tropics. As part o her personal gear, she took along a considerable amount o medication, which her physician had prescribed or use, should Kelly ind hersel in an active malaria region. Later, a ter settling into a village, Kelly became aware that many o the local people were quite ill with malaria. Kelly's Dilemma: Since she had such a large supply of medication, much more than she needed for her personal use, should she distribute the surplus to her hosts?  

Kelly's Decision
Kelly decided not to give any medication to the villagers who were exhibiting symptoms o malaria, even though she had a considerable surplus in her personal supply. She reasoned that since the medication did not con er permanent immunity to the disease and because she would not be present to provide medication during uture outbreaks o the disease, it was more important to allow a ected villagers to develop their own resistance to malaria "naturally.

Case histories

Sandra was excited about being accepted as a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Frederick, a leading scholar in the field, and she embarked on her assigned research project eagerly. But after a few months she began to have misgivings. Though part of Dr. Frederick's work was supported by federal grants, the project on which she was working was totally supported by a grant from a single company. She had known this before coming to the lab and had not thought it would be a problem. But she had not known that Dr. Frederick also had a major consulting agreement with the company. She also heard from other graduate students that when it came time to publish her work, any paper would be subject to review by the company to determine if any of her work was patentable.

Case histories

John, a third-year graduate student, is participating in a department-wide seminar where students, postdocs, and faculty members discuss work in progress. An assistant professor prefaces her comments by saying that the work she is about to discuss is sponsored by both a federal grant and a biotechnology firm for which she consults. In the course of the talk John realizes that he has been working on a technique that could make a major contribution to the work being discussed. But his faculty advisor consults for a different, and competing, biotechnology firm.

Case histories The Selection of Data   

Deborah, a third-year graduate student, and Kathleen, a postdoc, have made a series of measurements on a new experimental semiconductor material using an expensive neutron source at a national laboratory. When they get back to their own laboratory and examine the data, they get the following data points. A newly proposed theory predicts results indicated by the curve. During the measurements at the national laboratory, Deborah and Kathleen observed that there were power fluctuations they could not control or predict. Furthermore, they discussed their work with another group doing similar experiments, and they knew that the other group had gotten results confirming the theoretical prediction and was writing a manuscript describing their results. In writing up their own results for publication, Kathleen suggests dropping the two anomalous data points near the abscissa (the solid squares) from the published graph and from a statistical analysis. She proposes that the existence of the data points be mentioned in the paper as possibly due to power fluctuations and being outside the expected standard deviation calculated from the remaining data points. "These two runs," she argues to Deborah, "were obviously wrong."

A Selection of Data

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