Philosophy of Science: Ethics


Cloning and genetic engineering may prove to be some of mankind’s greatest achievements, and yet they’re the cause of controversy. So what’s the meeting place between science, and the ethical, and practical questions it raises? I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. Roald Hoffmann, an theoretical chemist at Cornell University, is also a writer and poet. He says that we should be questioning the aims and consequences of scientific research, and that religion can help.

“I think it is important to reach an accommodation between science and religion. Clearly, surveys show people are religious and people trust science or would like to trust science. I think, though, that science in the 21st century is going to be very different. It’s not going to be simply untrammeled search and creation of discovery of new molecules. It has to be accompanied by ethical considerations of whether a molecule that you make is going to hurt someone or not. When you think about cloning a human being – is this good or bad. Or in the context of my own science, chemistry, you make a molecule as a pharmaceutical, but you have to worry about its side effects. Will it produce birth defects? I think religion helps us. I really thinks us frame the questions. It helps us put us in the mood or the frame of mind to think about those questions, and so I think that’s a positive value.”

We are the dominant species on our planet, capable of effecting life on earth in an unprecedented manner. What do you think the questions are that we should be asking ourselves? If you’d care to share your response, please email us at pulse@igc.org. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.


Philosophy of Science: Ethics

Scientists in the 21st century must contemplate issues beyond those of the science itself.
Air Date:07/27/2001
Scientist:
Transcript:


Cloning and genetic engineering may prove to be some of mankind's greatest achievements, and yet they're the cause of controversy. So what's the meeting place between science, and the ethical, and practical questions it raises? I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. Roald Hoffmann, an theoretical chemist at Cornell University, is also a writer and poet. He says that we should be questioning the aims and consequences of scientific research, and that religion can help.

"I think it is important to reach an accommodation between science and religion. Clearly, surveys show people are religious and people trust science or would like to trust science. I think, though, that science in the 21st century is going to be very different. It's not going to be simply untrammeled search and creation of discovery of new molecules. It has to be accompanied by ethical considerations of whether a molecule that you make is going to hurt someone or not. When you think about cloning a human being - is this good or bad. Or in the context of my own science, chemistry, you make a molecule as a pharmaceutical, but you have to worry about its side effects. Will it produce birth defects? I think religion helps us. I really thinks us frame the questions. It helps us put us in the mood or the frame of mind to think about those questions, and so I think that's a positive value."

We are the dominant species on our planet, capable of effecting life on earth in an unprecedented manner. What do you think the questions are that we should be asking ourselves? If you'd care to share your response, please email us at pulse@igc.org. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.