Human Exceptionalism

Anything Goes Scientists to Society: Shut Up and Give Us a Blank Check

Scientists are telling us to mind our own business about issues such as embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Apparently, in their hubris and arrogance, they believe that only their ideas about ethics matter. From the story:

Politicians have been warned not to block scientific inquiry into subjects such as stem cells and embryo research just because there is a difference of opinion on the ethics or morality of the work. An international group of scientists investigating the possible production of artificial sperm and eggs to treat infertile couples said that moral disagreements in society should never be used on their own to stop scientific investigation…

The Hinxton consortium, which was formed in 2006 to investigate the ethics and legality of stem cells, yesterday issued its recommendations for how research aimed at creating artificial gametes–sperm and eggs–should proceed. “Societies have the authority to regulate science, and scientists have a responsibility to obey the law. However, policy-makers should refrain from interfering with scientific inquiry unless there is a substantial justification for doing so that reaches beyond disagreements based solely on divergent moral convictions,” the consortium said.

I see. Well, we’ll all just shut up, mind our own businesses, and give our betters in the science community–all bow–a blank check both financially and ethically.

Or, better yet, why not tell them to stick it where the sun don’t shine. They don’t get to decide, we all do. The opinions of scientists on these matters are important. But they are not determinative.