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Are ethics different for humanity and science?


Human advancement in science and technology has surpassed everyone’s expectations. Be it the case of water-driven and electricity-driven vehicles or the pace of curing numeral diseases, the man’s brain has defied limitations. This has given rise to race in between humans too. This cut-throat competition and outwitting nature of humans is what is hampering this pace of development, and ethically sound behaviour is what the need of the hour is. However, are ethics different for humanity and science? Aren’t they supposed to be same? Can we define ethics in two ways that are contradictory to each other?


This may sound startling, but a similar case has come up recently, which has raised clouds of uncertainty in everyone’s mind. A piece of news aired that a Chinese researcher has created the first genetically edited infants, and it has been stated by Northeastern University’s ethicist Ronald Sandler that it has violated scientific and ethical norms. At first glimpse, it may seem that this may be termed as unethical, but digging deep into this matter raises contradictory opinions. The genetic editing he performed was of the children of parents with HIV. This genetic manipulation is believed to give rise to infants having no effect of their parent’s HIV on themselves.


However, scientists and researches affirm their belief strongly owing to the following conditions. Firstly, the parents weren’t fully informed about the procedure, which would be followed by the practitioner in editing the genes. Secondly, the practitioner manipulated the genes affecting the infants’ immune system without considering future complications. The researchers feel that the experiments involving the human’s genes or any other thing require careful oversight. A single mistake on their side may turn the whole community against the researcher’s practices, and trust, being the topmost priority in this field, may get jeopardised.


Harminder Singh