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ERIC Number: EJ808376
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Captain America, Tuskegee, Belmont, and Righteous Guinea Pigs: Considering Scientific Ethics through Official and Subaltern Perspectives
Weinstein, Matthew
Science & Education, v17 n8-9 p961-975 Sep 2008
With an eye towards a potential scientific ethics curriculum, this paper examines four contrasting discourses regarding the ethics of using human subjects in science. The first two represent official statements regarding ethics. These include the U.S.'s National Science Education Standards, that identify ethics with a professional code, and the Belmont Report, that conceptualizes ethics in three principles to guide research oversight boards. Contrasting this view of ethics as decorum and practice in line with a "priori" principles is the conception of ethics from unofficial sources representing populations who have been human subjects. The first counter-discourse examined comes from "Guinea Pig Zero", an underground magazine for professional human subjects. Here ethics emerges as a question of politics over principle. The good behavior of the doctors and researchers is an effect of the politics and agency of the communities that supply science with subjects. The second counter-discourse is a comic book called "Truth", which tells the story of Black soldiers who were used as guinea pigs in World War II. Ethics is both more political and more uncertain in this narrative. Science is portrayed as complicit with the racism of NAZI Germany; at the same time, and in contrast to the professional guinea pigs, neither agency nor politics are presented as effective tools for forcing the ethical conduct of the scientific establishment. The conclusion examines the value of presenting all of these views of scientific ethics in science education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A