Discuss about ethical dilemmas in the natural sciences


Assignment:

Next, after you have reviewed this material, please address the following question in your initial post of 250+ words, including at least 2 additional academic resources.

1. How can artists use their creations to promote engagement in social justice/citizenship in their society and community?

2. Should the fine/performing arts (music, dance, painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.) focus on entertaining, enlivening, and decorating our world? Is that enough, or must an artist also help us to embrace the things we fear, loathe, or ignore in order to be considered a "true artist"? Why/why not? Notes: It seems pretty easy to think of an ethical dilemma related to the sciences, and this week you are finishing the first essay that tackles one of these. But the sciences are only one piece of "liberal arts and sciences." We will now look at how artists function relative to dilemmas and controversies. Begin by reviewing the following resources:

  • The Module Notes, "Thinking Critically about Ethical Dilemmas in the Natural Sciences"
  • Rolling, JR., J.H. (2013) Art as social responsibility: Reframing critical thinking in art education as a basis for altruistic intent
  • Lewis, Sarah E. (2017) Creativity and social justice [Video, File 31:33 mins]

Science, especially the natural sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and geology, cannot exist in a theoretical vacuum. This means that what a scientist learns through her/his research must have some link to the natural world. The research that scientists conduct can be very far removed from theory and more heavily focused on the practical application of knowledge (for example, in aerobiology, scientists may be providing pollen and mold counts to medical personnel and the media rather than engaging in theoretical research).

Regardless of the "extent of abstractness" of the scientific research, all studies can or will eventually impact the world in which we live. How do scientists manage ethical issues they confront in their work? All scientific professional organizations support ethical behavior in their disciplines. Please be sure to review the Universal Ethical Code for Scientists, which is a statement of "the values and responsibilities of scientists," (Gov.UK, 2007) as directed in this week's reading.

As we discussed in Module 1, ethical dilemmas reside in the "gray areas" where the answers are not clear cut and simple but involve a compromise to achieve what society deems is the greater good for the most at any given time. Scientists need to use their expertise to inform the public discussion about these issues. They also may need to take a personal stand in their work. One of the commonalities we may locate in scientific research that entails ethical decisions is:

The need to balance economic benefits for a given group of humans with the need to maintain or protect the fragile ecology and biodiversity of a particular area.

The world's population is growing rapidly. In 2011, we reached 7 billion and the need for adequate food, water, and energy resources for everyone is becoming a major concern for governments around the globe. We should all be aware of the inequities in distribution and usage of these limited resources between developed and developing countries. Science has an important role to play in determining the choices and options that can be considered to alleviate these global concerns. The scientist needs to be informed and sensitive to the possible consequences of her/his research.

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