should scientists be blamed for mistakes in their work? Watch

candystrippa
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For an assignment I need to discuss whether scientists should be blamed for future technological applications of their work.
I am referring to nuclear weapons, genetic modification or other sciency developments.
What do you all think??
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Mercer
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(Original post by candystrippa)
For an assignment I need to discuss whether scientists should be blamed for future technological applications of their work.
I am referring to nuclear weapons, genetic modification or other sciency developments.
What do you all think??
Mistakes are very different from evil applications.

I think scientists have a responsibility, but it's hard to enshrine in law unless they profit from it, know what its used for etc.
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Thud
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No. There is no way that they can predict what future generations will do with their work and so should not be held responsible. If there was a chance of being held responsible then it could restrict what scientists are prepared to do and humanity could miss out on certain things.

Einstein's E=mc^2 has caused things like atomic bombs, but it's also given us nuclear power which is a good thing. In a few years time we should get nuclear fission hopefully which will have stemmed from Einstein's work. So even when there are bad things there's sometimes some pretty decent ones too.

It can also be applied to things like philosophy -> Nietzsche and his "ubermensch".
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Golden Maverick
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Nuclear weapons were no mistake.

But no they should not be blamed for future applications of their work, unless that is what they were striving for.
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candystrippa
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(Original post by Thud)
It can also be applied to things like philosophy -> Nietzsche and his "ubermensch".
do you mind elaborating on this?
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President_Ben
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No and we're not here to do your essays for you.
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Gingerbread Man
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No since what there work will be used for is most liekly determined by different ppl. :confused:
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psychic_satori
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It would obviously depend on the type of mistake. If a mistake brought on by negligence has severe consequences, the scientist should be punished as anyone else would be. If the "mistake" is more a misuse, or evil application, of research, then it is not in the scientist's control, and should not be held against him.
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Jonatan
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(Original post by candystrippa)
For an assignment I need to discuss whether scientists should be blamed for future technological applications of their work.
I am referring to nuclear weapons, genetic modification or other sciency developments.
What do you all think??
It woudl be about as silly as holding car companies responsible when some idiot decides to ignore the traffic laws. Any form of scientific work can be used for a wide variety of applications, some of which may be undesireable. Now, to demand thats cientists should only publish their findings if they were certain it could not be sued for "bad" purposes woudl completely stiffle scientific development.
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RichyP
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A good fiction book to read on this sort of thing is "Trigger" by Arthur C. Clark and someone whose name I've forgotten (sorry whoever you are).

Another issue I'd like to add is that not only is it v. hard if not impossible for scientist to see where there inventions will lead if they discover something chances are that someone else will in the very near future.

Basically I agree with what most people are saying, you cannot hold scientist responsible in the same way you cannot hold a steel company responsible for a murder committed using a knife they made.
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Calvin
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Perhaps distinguish between research and discovery?
Einsteins wouldn't seem to be responsible for his E=Mc^2 allowing nuclear weapons, after all, he didn't make the universe that way, he just discovered that that's how it was. On the other hand Noble didn't discover the law that allowed dynamite, he invented the dynamite itself. So perhaps he's more morally responsible for it?
That being said, how can he be responsible for the actions massive groups of people?
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Byronic
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(Original post by Calvin)
Perhaps distinguish between research and discovery?
Einsteins wouldn't seem to be responsible for his E=Mc^2 allowing nuclear weapons, after all, he didn't make the universe that way, he just discovered that that's how it was. On the other hand Noble didn't discover the law that allowed dynamite, he invented the dynamite itself. So perhaps he's more morally responsible for it?
That being said, how can he be responsible for the actions massive groups of people?
He can't and isn't. It's like saying "I bought a gun, my neighbour took the gun and killed a goat, but because I bought the gun I am responsible for the goat’s death". This logic is severely flawed.

On the other hand "I bought a gun and gave it to my neighbour, who then went on to kill a goat, therefore I am responsible for the goat’s death".
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RichyP
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(Original post by Calvin)
Perhaps distinguish between research and discovery?
Einsteins wouldn't seem to be responsible for his E=Mc^2 allowing nuclear weapons, after all, he didn't make the universe that way, he just discovered that that's how it was. On the other hand Noble didn't discover the law that allowed dynamite, he invented the dynamite itself. So perhaps he's more morally responsible for it? That being said, how can he be responsible for the actions massive groups of people?
Didn't Noble believe that his invention would bring peace to the world as it would make another was too destructive?

It goes to show even if you invent something it is very hard to predict what will be done with it.
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