Every scientific invention comes after a lot of struggle and several years of hard work. While scientists are constantly striving to make the world a better place and unravel the unexplored mysteries, they often battle some ethical dilemmas. Yes, ethical dilemmas are one of the strongest battles that research has to battle with before bringing out his invention for his peers and the world to see.
This is because every breakthrough comes by proving numerous existing beliefs to be wrong. And along with hurting sentiments of people, it might also seem to be morally wrong! Today, we discuss a few such dilemmas that the scientists have been battling in recent years with their inventions. A glimpse into it will help you better understand how much these great minds strive to improve our lives every day!
Testing on Animals
Animal testing means removing them from their natural habitat, caging them, exposing them to potentially harmful substances in an attempt to find a cure to various ailments. While this has been the common practice for several hundred years now, scientists have explored alternative ways. While the researchers argue that the animals are under sedatives so they might not feel pain, it might not be entirely true.
That is because the effect of the medicine might only reduce the pain but not prevent it completely. While testing on animals prevents risking human life, it violates the animal’s right to safety and life. So, this is a battle that scientists are constantly day in and day out!
CRISPR is the abbreviation for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. Does that make any sense? If no, let us explain. In the simplest terms, CRISPR is the process of identifying and destroying bacteria and archaea in the DNA to prevent any deformities or undesirable characteristic traits. In other words, it is about customizing your baby like you would customize a Whopper! It has the benefits of preventing genetically transmitted illnesses and deformities and corrects any genetic defects.
However, it also raises the question of the cost one has to pay for changing the natural way the genetic makeup. As this is a relatively new field and invention, there is very little information on the long-term side effects of these procedures on the baby. So, we are sure the scientists might be debating the question putting an end to genetic disorders versus altering the child’s natural genetic makeup.
If you thought that testing on animals is unethical, think about its alternative – testing on human beings. However, it is not just an alternative but also a mandatory step in any new medication’s testing process. Once medicine passes animal testing, it has to go through the human testing process. Once a medication passes the human trail, it gets rolled out for the rest of the world. However, in this process, many people might lose their lives, get hurt, or maimed.
Is that a price worth paying? A few nations, for instance, the Nuremberg Trials, used war criminals to test medication. However, in today’s world, the patients signing up for human trials need to provide their written consent for the trial. And as long as human trails are legal, the system will coerce people into signing up for it. The risk it puts people at is a hot topic of ethical debate in the scientific world!
Weapons for the Military
Well, this is a tricky one! The weapons are for protecting a nation from enemy attacks and prevent foreign invasion. While this part seems right and like an ethical thing to do, think about the other half of it. These weapons destroy other nations and kill people.
While it does protect the people in your country, is it ethical to risk the lives of those in the other nations? Scientists working on military projects are battling this question. And we understand that it’s a problem which does not have a solution.
These are just a few of the many ethical dilemmas the scientists battle every day. While putting aside the question of ethics might help in a few cases, it is important to ask the tough questions in others. That is the only way we would progress as a society!