[asa] false witness and scientific integrity

From: Thomas Robey <tom_robey@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Jun 05 2007 - 20:33:31 EDT

Dear Colleagues,

I am a graduate student in the biomedical sciences who
has a long-standing interest in ethics and the broader
impact of science. I have been mulling an idea for
independent study and am interested in hearing your
ideas about it.

There have been numerous instances in the past few
years of lapses in scientific integrity - particularly
in my field of stem cell biology. These instances
make good case studies for ethics instruction, but
also point to the current trend in biomedical research
toward higher levels of competition for fewer
resources. In this new environment, it is easier to
lose track of the foundations of objective reporting
and the ideal of value-free observation that are
central to the power of science as a tool to
understand our world.

What I am proposing is a study of the ninth
commandment, whether it informed the rise of the
scientific method, and how it could be brought to bear
to realign the practice of science today. In its
context, bearing false witness against one's neighbor
was a more relational commandment - important for
maintenance of a fair and just society. I see it
possible to reinterpret the commandment as the
scientist's imperative.

My background is mainly science, but I studied history
and philosophy of science as an undergrad, and have
been quite active with the biomedical ethics community
here at the University of Washington. I am not at all
familiar with any literature regarding biomedical
ethics or scientific integrity from a Christian or
Jewish perspective. I am pursuing this for my own
purposes - not for any course or degree requirement,
although I would like to see what it is like to do
scholarly work that touches on science and faith.

With this context, I would greatly appreciate your
willingness to share with me:

1) resources I could read about these topics
2) whether this issue has been adequately addressed
(is there room for new thought?)
3) your impressions of my ideas as I have abstracted
them here.

Feel free to respond to me off line or in the setting
of this list.

Peace to you,

thomas robey

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Received on Tue Jun 5 20:33:40 2007

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