AGENDA: Teaching of Ethics Is Critical as Science Advances at Pace; Public Engagement with Science Is Vital but Its Possible Misuse Means Society Must Stay in Control, Argues Prof Lord Robert Winston, Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College, London, Who Spoke at a Leading Health Care Conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Birmingham

The Birmingham Post (England), June 11, 2008 | Go to article overview

AGENDA: Teaching of Ethics Is Critical as Science Advances at Pace; Public Engagement with Science Is Vital but Its Possible Misuse Means Society Must Stay in Control, Argues Prof Lord Robert Winston, Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College, London, Who Spoke at a Leading Health Care Conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Birmingham


Byline: Prof Lord Robert Winston

How can we be sure science is being used in the right way? Science is about uncertainty.

Without knowing where research may take us, how do we make informed decisions about it? It's been said science is exceeding the pace with which humans can deal. In healthcare the perception is it is, though the reality is undoubtedly different.

IVF and sex selection have been on the agenda for much longer than most people imagine. It was first investigated in 1760.

We change our views on ethics based on what we discover.

That's why I believe it's essential our universities teach ethics, as well as an understanding of potential conflicts of interest, so advances in healthcare technology can be more easily understood and accepted, and we can all benefit.

With any innovation, the ethics debate needs to be had.

From GM crops to stem cell research or MMR vaccines, the public's perception of technology matters. For example, we accept a mother has an ethical duty to her child, not government.

If there's doubt about the MMR vaccine, she feels justified in her decision to protect her child as long as there is 'herd immunity', where everyone else does agree to the vaccine to prevent an outbreak.

With the voice highlighting the risks outweighing the voices of the scientists and the Government saying it was safe, there was a clear failure of dialogue, which I predict will have implications in years to come.

It was good fortune, not good planning, that in my opinion prevented a measles epidemic in recent years.

In this mathematically illiterate society, the concept of risk remains an issue. The attitude to risk affects the introduction of valuable new technologies, which adds to their cost.

But 'reassuring' pronouncements of scientists often are counterproductive - exaggeration, certainty, arrogance and lack of subjectivity frequently have an adverse affect.

Reporting of stem cell biology is another good example.

Public perception undoubtedly has a negative effect on certain developments, for example the difficulties associated with the science of genetic modification, potentially of huge benefit if used wisely.

There is a need for greater engagement with the public and it is the responsibility of Government, scientists, policy-makers and industry. It must include recognition of the ethical implications of what we do and confiicts of interest from commercial exploitation of intellectual property.

Public trust is a vital ingredient. A recent survey showed doctors, teachers and professors are among the most trusted, while politicians, business leaders and journalists rate poorly. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

AGENDA: Teaching of Ethics Is Critical as Science Advances at Pace; Public Engagement with Science Is Vital but Its Possible Misuse Means Society Must Stay in Control, Argues Prof Lord Robert Winston, Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College, London, Who Spoke at a Leading Health Care Conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Birmingham
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.