Re: [asa] false witness and scientific integrity

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Wed Jun 06 2007 - 06:29:26 EDT

Thomas -- sounds like an interesting topic! Here is a pointer to a short
piece I published on virtue ethics and biotechnology law -- may or may not
be helpful: I
think the approach I take in that paper is somewhat similar to what you're
thinking about, although I approach it more from the classical virtues than
from a deontological angle. One of the key virtues that would come into
play can be called "fidelity to trust," which implies truthfulness in
reporting research results as well as proper stewardship of public research
funding. My approach in this paper is more Aristotelian than specifically
Christian, but I think a specifically Christian account of applicable
virtues could (and should) be developed.

On 6/6/07, Thomas Robey <> wrote:
> 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
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
> Fussy? Opinionated? Impossible to please? Perfect. Join Yahoo!'s user
> panel and lay it on us.
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Wed Jun 6 06:30:22 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Jun 06 2007 - 06:30:22 EDT