Monday, February 13, 2006

Promoting Science and Technology in the Interest of Humanity

The above is the motto of the Student Pugwash USA, the student affiliate of the Nobel Peace Prize Winning Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Student Pugwash USA is hosting a series of conferences to help educate science and ethics and in order to make socially responsible sciences the focus of their academic and professional endeavors. The first conference will be in the Midwest region March 31st and April 1st at Purdue University, the focus of which will be the integrity of science and engineering. The keynote speaker will Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation and leading one of the workshops will Brian Rappert, a British ressearch who will be leading a number of workshops in the US and at home on bioweapons and codes of conduct for biologists.

And since science is in need of more women in the field, we look forward to hearing more!


Eleanor Milligan said...

One would hope that any conference of this sort would be based on the fundamental acknowledgment that science is not the rational collection of neutral, unbiased 'facts', but is rather a highly selective pursuit of socially driven, value laden and thus biased information. All ‘facts’ are not equal and for the most part, the types of inquiries that scientists pursue are ones which generate solely scientific answers. However, considerations of the ethical consequences of science on humanity are not so easily quantified. If we are to truly ‘promote science and technology in the interest of humanity’, lets start by accepting that the current ontology of scientific investigation in which human beings are regarded as detached, autonomous and individualistic objects of scientific measurement and analysis is flawed. As human beings, we define our humanity by the relationships that create meaning in our lives, thus a more realistic view, and one which would provide a stronger basis for ethical analysis must be based on the understanding of human beings as fundamentally relational, embedded and dialogical creatures

Linda MacDonald Glenn said...

Your point is well taken, Eleanor...the relationship of humanity to the rest of the world (and the universe, for that matter) is a fundamental consideration in ethical analysis.