Ethics - Blue (Hawkins, Fall 2013)
About this class
Ethics for Science Students
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Bringing back extinct species raises interesting ethical questions.
Should we invest in this type of research as opposed to investing more in cancer research?
I think any advancement in science is good, as it usually increases our knowledge of the field in some way or another. Another important fact to remember is that many inventions can stem from scientific research, such as the invention of the internet at CERN, where data distribution was a problem. I don’t think it would be outlandish for an invention to come from researching cloning extinct species that would be beneficial to other research topics, such as cancer research. The same arguments could be brought against nearly every scientific field except biology, as they don’t seem to provide a benefit to humans except for the pursuit of knowledge. Therefore I don’t have a problem with scientists pursuing this particular research topic.
Should we resurrect extinct species?
I feel like you are actually asking two questions here: Should we resurrect extinct species and should we reintroduce them to the wild. For the first question, I think it would be ethically acceptable to resurrect such species. This is because I think we could take precautions against all the downsides you mentioned, such as quarantining the animal to ensure it is safe, and keeping it in a monitored zoo-like environment to minimize its impact on the biosphere. Whether we should reintroduce them to the wild is questionable, as it reminds me of many other attempts to introduce a new species to an ecosystem where that species is now invasive, such as the beaver presence in southern Argentina. If we were to do so, it would probably be best to either limit the reproduction of the introduced species somehow, or at the very least monitor their reproduction rates to ensure the species those not become invasive.
I feel there could be a number of advantages to locking up extinct species in zoos or labs, as we could, for example, more readily research the formation and function of early organs, like appendixes. Would it be wrong to treat these animals this way, when we already treat living species this way? Either we eradicate all zoos, per your argument, or we allow extinct species to be held in zoos. Also, I’m not exactly sure how a disease could spread from an extinct species to a current species, as any illness they would have would be genetic and not bacterial or viral.
Here's another case of an attempt at reviving an extinct species: http://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2013/mar/18/scientists-clon...
I am just like you and get real excited any time I see Honey Boo Boo on TV! I get this weird thrill while watching the show, because I feel as if I am a better than them and their rude manners. To answer your final question, I definitively think that adult beauty pageants should continue existing. To me, beauty pageants are a form of entertainment that shows off healthy, good looking, and respectable people. I don't see anything wrong with that. However, I agree with you in saying that children should not be allowed to participate in beauty pageants. You could not have said it better when you mention that parents simply want live old dreams by signing their children up for these competitions. In my opinion, child beauty pageants should actually be called parent beauty pageants, because it is the parents who invest in them, and who get upset when they don't win any money. I think that the beauty pageant children are somewhat like objects for the parents. These child beauty pageants seem to be making parents happy, but don't always represent the best interest of the children. You should check out the link below, as it deals with a very young bodybuilder, and is very relatable to your article.
Technology never fails to impress society with it's idea for the future. i always enjoy reading on technological advancements that we have planned for the future! if we were to bring back extinct species, i think it would be quite impressive. Imagine, instead of having a pitbull or rotweiler as guard dog, you have a baby t-rex waiting to snack on people trying to commit crime in the city, possibly the newest neighbourhood super-hero in the future.
I believe recreating extinct species is going to be good for society. There are the obvious consequences that may come along, I'm not exactly sure we can domesticate dinosaurs, unless we alter them genetically or create our personal dinosaurs for instance. By recreating extinct species, science will be able to master it when possibly when the human population is endangered in the next centuries or millenniums.
I am pretty sure before these recreated species would be accessible to the public or to the wild there would be many tests and observations before they are ready to make contact with everyday life which they haven't seen for decades, centuries which they must adapt because the environment is in a constant change. Here's an interesting article about an attempt to bring back an extinct species that ended up just becoming extinct once more.
You know that every day, someone somewhere is working on creating new and better technology that can surpass today’s inventions in every possible aspect. This topic fascinates me because it’s fun to imagine what new invention will pop up on the market. It’s also quite impressive to have people create various technological gadgets that we believed were simply impossible to make, but that is now possible.
You raise an interesting question in your blog, “Is a future where humans are no longer required to work, because artificial intelligences are taking care of it, viable for our society?.” I believe that it is practical to have artificially intelligent robots as a part of our society. I think it would be great to have them do the pathetic menial jobs that people don’t enjoy doing. I also believe that they are a cost efficient alternative, they do exactly what you want them to do (assuming it’s programmed properly), they don’t need vacations or raises or sick days, and you do not have to deal with any emotional outbursts. I see no reason for them to not be a part of our society, when there are so many benefits.
I do not believe that artificially intelligent robots will mean a social and economic breakdown. When the industrial revolution came along, many people were afraid that machines would take the place of man and that society would break down, and that no one would have jobs which would mean that the economy would also breakdown, but it didn’t, and I believe that artificially intelligent robots won’t cause any social or economic breakdowns, nor do I believe that they will replace humans. I believe that many people are afraid of change, and afraid of the unknown, which is why producers create movies like ‘the terminator’.
Another article on this same subjects offers a slightly different perspective on how artificially intelligent robots will shape our lives, casting it in a slightly more positive light than does ‘the terminator’. http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/pure-genius/how-artificial-intelligence-...
Abortion is a very delicate and controversial subject and these kinds of subjects always make me curious. I have seen many debates and even listened to a documentary on abortion in Quebec and, with time, I have come to pick a side and have my own opinion and arguments. Therefore, when I saw this blog post I knew that I was going to take this opportunity and write my comment on it.
To answer your question, is it possible to make laws that will always be in agreement with human rights, I will say no it isn’t. Indeed, it seems that it is almost impossible to respect one law without ignoring one aspect of the human rights. For example, for abortion you can’t abort the baby without breaking the human rights law about the right to live. Furthermore, you can’t force the mother to keep the baby without taking the woman’s freedom of expression (choice). In many other debates, there is this same problem where it is almost impossible to create a law that will respect the human rights and make everybody happy. Apart from abortion, there is the debate about euthanasia and even the charter of values that have this problem.
Furthermore, to answer you ethical question which is, should abortion after a heartbeat from the foetus be allowed, I say yes. I am for abortion because I think that if the mother or the family doesn’t want the baby than there is no point in arguing. Furthermore, forcing the mother to have a baby doesn’t only goes against the human right laws about the freedom of choice or expression, but also the poor baby will have a mother who didn’t even want him. I am for abortion because most of the time it is better for the foetus (or baby) to never come into this world because he might not get the life that he deserves.
You presented pretty good arguments and I agree with them. I also think that laws against abortion shouldn’t be imposed because in some cases where the woman has been raped it will be totally wrong to force her to keep the foetus. I also agree with your argument about the freedom of choice of a woman and furthermore it is her body and her foetus and she can do whatever she wants. It is something private and nobody else’s business especially not the government. I think you gave a very good argument when you mentioned that some families can’t afford to have a baby because of their financial status and this supports my point of view that some babies shouldn’t be born because they might end up living miserable lives and they deserve better.
If you are interested there is an article about the foetus, its growth and when it starts to feel pain if somebody decides to undergo an abortion.
Violence has always been part of sports. However, in recent years researches have been made on the effect of this violence on players and even on fans. We are now questioning its true purpose. As a hockey player myself, this article drew my attention and pushed me to reflect on this matter.
To the question, “Would banning fighting in hockey be an improvement or is the violence essential to the sport?”, I would not say that it would be an improvement to the sport but it would certainly be an improvement to its image. By removing fighting from hockey, the “negative” influence that it gives to children would be reduced. It would also reduce the risk of physical and psychological injuries caused by repeated hits to the head that some fighters encounter during and after their career. I would not say it would be an improvement to the sport itself because violence is part of this sport, like it or not. It is part of the “show”. Violence is part of many other sports including rugby, American football, lacrosse, boxing and mixed martial arts. Removing any physical contact in those sports would be the end for them. Why are we keeping violence in sports then, if it as so much negative influences? It is because violence is what brings interest to those sports. Even in Ancient Rome, violence was what brought people together and this tradition still persists today. It is a way of letting go and to release our negative emotions. A proof: American football is the most popular sport in the United States. It generates billions in revenues. Removing violence from sports would also have serious economic impacts.
According to me, removing fights from hockey would not be that much of a case. However, it is impossible to remove any physical contact from this sport. Nowadays, strict rules and laws have been introduced in those sports in order to maximally reduce the potential of injuries without getting out violence from it. We don’t want a person to die performing his sport for sure, but what our society wants is the thirst to win and the competition. I personally think that without violence, some sports would lose their spirit. Our society needs sports.
To continue, I do not agree on the fact that removing fighting would improve the fairness of the game. A player is never in the obligation to fight and can, at any time refuse a fight. Then, the other player would have a penalty and not the one who refused. The finest players can use their skills if they want to score and are not obligated to get into any physical battle. Sports has rules that protect the best players and that give them the opportunity to show their skills already because scoring goals is more important than fighting. Players that fight in hockey are those who decided to fight as in any other sports. I think that is the choice of the individual to accept violence or not and to live with the consequences (a couple of millions per year…).
To sum up, I do not think that encouraging violence in sports is not a good path to follow but I do think that it is essential for the survival of some sports. Some are safer than others and have rules that support violence better. Those include mixed martial arts which promote self-defence and, at the same time, prohibit the use of the fighting techniques outside of the sport. In this case, violence is accepted but has a positive impact on children. On the whole, removing violence from sport will be a difficult task. If we someday do, we will have to have a serious reflection on ourselves and our true needs as a society.
Your topic choice caught my attention because I'm the kind of person who feels like he is going to be stabbed, mugged and/or kidnapped while walking down the street with a stranger close by. I can be very paranoid from time to time. To the point where I occasionally have to verify the content of my bag five to eight times before going to school in order to ensure I didn't forget anything. Thus seeing criminals' sentences reduced over an hazy plead isn't particularly reassuring.
However, in contrast to your topic, the issue you raised should be viewed from an objective eye since it relates to the law. Consequently, my opinion might differ from how I feel about the situation.
In response to your first question: "Should criminals, found guilty of murder, have a reduced sentence because they have been established mentally "insane"?"; the answer is yes. That is of course if the person really was unconscious of his action during the crime. The reason is and here is my logic, one should not be punished for something he "didn't" do, for the fact that the body, the mind and the soul are what characterizes an individual. Modify anyone of these characteristics and the person isn't the same even if it is for a moment. Thus their body is guilty, yet the mind and the soul are innocent. Is it fair to fully punish someone for being partly guilty? It isn't and I believe you and I have the same opinion on that since you are mainly criticizing the many people who fake their insanity to have their sentence reduced.
That being said, you argued that the government was being sympathetic towards the accused criminals, but I doubt that's the case since it's for the purpose of being fair. Also saying that insanity was hard to define to which I agree. Now here is the dilemma, either we spare people for not being insane or we punish people despite them being insane. Apply this dilemma with a sentence for the death penalty and the state is executing people for being insane. This to me sounds worst than sparing people who fake their insanity. Better off safe than sorry.
Lastly, to answer you final question: "When considering the insanity defense, one should ask if the insanity plea should be abolished?"; I say no. It should instead be heavily enforced to require substantial proofs to be provided by the defense attorney. By demanding more proofs, we can more or less insure that criminals "diagnosed" insane are actually mad.
I want other possibilities to be considered, so here is my question:
How would you sentence criminals with multiple personality disorder or with amnesia?
Here is a suggested lecture for that matter : http://lawandthemultiverse.com/2011/04/20/the-legal-side-effects-of-amne...
This post is of interest to me because I feel STRONGLY that the actions of Zimmerman were completely wrong and the fact that he is considered "innocent" disgusts me. I had heard about this story briefly from discussions but never took the time to really grasp the situation until I read your post. No one should ever resort to killing in order to solve a problem. Killing doesn't resolve conflict, it takes away someone's life, which causes more conflict. It shocks me to know that there are people in our society that would go so far as to take a life of another human being just because of an argument. In addition, if there is ever a conflict, there should be a better way to resolve it other than resorting to violence. Yes, in this case Martin hit Zimmerman first, but wouldn't it be a more fair version of self defense if Zimmerman simply protected himself or hit back rather than pulling out a weapon? I completely agree with your arguments. It makes absolutely no sense for someone to be innocent if they followed someone, profiled them and then intentionally began a conflict. It is clear that this individual had a target set on this young man and that this was no "accident". This man was obviously very disturbed and was looking for trouble and the moment he got it, he shot the man he was confronting. In my opinion death by self defence SHOULD be an accident. Pulling out a gun, cocking it, and pulling the trigger is not an accident by any means. At first I was unsure of what was accepted as self defense and what the laws were, but I have read up on the Canadian Law of this issue in the following article which also presents interesting scenarios and solutions for using self defense. According to Canadian law, in order to be permitted to use lethal force, the judge must feel that it was your only option. (See last paragraph of article in link) In Zimmerman's case, it was definitely not his only option.
This article caught my attention since I have already argued about this subject with a couple of my friends. I usually train at different locations around the city and whether it’s on the tennis court, inside the boxing ring, in the pool or at the weight lifting room, parents always seem to bring their children with them. Some, I must admit, are more demanding of their children and expect nothing but a full commitment. While others just follow the "monkey see, monkey do” philosophy and hope for the best. As far as fitness and physical activity is concerned, I think that there should be no age barrier to make take the necessary decisions. In fact, sports MUST be pursued at a young age in order to answer to some degree of talent. If we look at the current sports personalities we realize that most of them pursued their respective physical activities at a very young age which allowed them to climb up the ranks and be as gifted as they are today.
That being said, I also believe that the decision is entirely entitled to the child and that parents should not force their children to workout intensely. Consider, however, the opposite…Some children can be very passionate about what they do and will train intensely by themselves. Indeed, I know many children that are willing to surpass their limits and spend most of their time training because they enjoy doing so and ironically, their parents are concerned about them training too much. Often times it is due to fallacies such as "weight training will stunt my child's growth". These are misconceptions and are unsupported by scientific fact! Thus, by the same train of thought, these parents should not force their children to stop training.
As implied by the second set of arguments in the blog post, some might think that the parents are helping their children and that children need someone to "push" them (because of their timidity, laziness, etc.). There is a limit to the amount of "pushing" to be done however. If the parent is trying to live their dream through his child then that is not right because the child has had their own set of experiences and might not appreciate what they're doing. While many of the sports personalities mentioned above enjoy what they're doing, some of them don’t. To them, the sport in question represents pain, sadness and arguments they had with their parents. They continue to do it however, because they have been taught skills that are only related to a particular physical activity.
All and all, when both the parent and the child are involved, it is hard to distinguish between the child’s desire and the parent’s desire. In other terms, it is hard to figure out who is truly passionate and who is committing their time to make the other’s dreams come true. The case explained in the article is similar to one I have previously read about:
So far, in my short life, I have been an off and on again hockey watcher. Watching the Canadiens contend for the playoffs and finally breaking my heart each and every year. I have also seen hundreds of hockey fights and in my opinion they should not be banned from the game. Fighting in hockey is essential to the game due to it's entertainment value and strategic uses. The NHL isn't one of the big 3 sports in the USA market, so it is important that it retains all of its viewers and maybe get more of them by allowing violence; like fighting. Also, fighting builds up momentum which is key to a hockey game. One play can change a whole game and is the difference between winners and losers. The fact is, hockey can be played in many ways. Players can be technical, fast or intimidating. To win, teams need a combination of those to win. On top of that, fighting is way to get another player in line. For example, the player from the other team made a dirty hit. By fighting him, he knows that it isn't right and that he's a "free meal". In the end, violence is part of the game, not only in hockey but in many other sports. This article explains the arguments in favor for violence in hockey. http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/stop-whining-fighting-is-a-crucial-part-o...
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