Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ethics of Science & Technology

I was making a presentation on the subject of Ethics in Science & Technology (S&T) focussing on the S&T of the Built Environment, focussing further on reconstruction.

When the scientific community conceives and creates an idea, are there any Ethics to it? Is it that every idea finds exploration and expression? Or is there a determining factor that allows some ideas to flower more than the others ? - the classic example being that there is more research and findings for hair-colouring than alternative energy?

Science itself is neutral, or so we would like to think. It is the application of Science and its findings that become instrumentalized to fulfill a hidden agenda which most of the society is not aware of. Or so we would like to think.

But is science neutral? Can it be said that the creation of the atom bomb is innocent? It does not look ethical from any angle. But then this is an example most of us would agree with. But if we start measuring the ethics in the creation of every idea itself, what would we arrive at? What are the ethics in hysterectomy? Or abortion? What about pesticides? ...

I was trying to understand something which my mind was trying to point to. Madhulika, one of the participants in the meeting, finally put the words to it - there are power-relations, not only in the application of S&T, but in the very genesis of the idea, the funding for it, the process of allowing it come to the forefront and become a usable product.

Science & technology do not seem innocent. They seem to be political. In the way the very birth of the idea, it development, application and promotion.

To be explored further ....

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