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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
Abstract of "Ethics of Censorship in Science and Technology Policy"
Senior Research Professor of Homeland Security, National Defense University/ IRMC, Fort Lesley McNair Washington, DC 20319
This presentation relates to the IEEE EMBS Government Affairs column of May/June 2008 entitled: Professional Responsibility: politics, culture, and religion versus science and technology. Who defines our respective personal ethics and morality when it comes to informing the public? What is our collective code of ethics and morality when it comes to informing the public and seeing to it that they receive factual, timely, and necessary information responsibly? Who should determine such a code? Should this be our respective community leadership, governments, professional societies, or groups? Should we (EMBS or IEEE) have a voice of our own? I believe that our profession is capable of providing a much needed, professional and balanced perspective. Through the ages, society's perceptions of contributions by science and scientists have also changed. In spite of significant advances, much remains to be done. In the past, many scientists paid with their lives for claiming ideas that went against the central authority of the Church. Today, professional organizations still fear addressing topics that are not popular among all of its membership. Governments, on the other hand, may censure scientific thought if the scientific conclusions are not aligned with their mainstream political agendas. In either case, the general public may not receive the benefit of a total scientific or technological education that they deserve from us. The question is then: What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to advance our careers for the benefit of mankind? How do we educate the human race? Perhaps, despite these differences (political, religious, cultural, etc.), we could strive, using our professional organization, to provide the global public a more sensible and accurate perspective of the impact of science and technology in their lives.
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