These are the questions that I will ask the class tomorrow after my presentation. A follow-up note will be posted, to at least provide some clarification to those who probably have no idea what I am talking about.
Q1: (Nontherapeutic Research on Children)
There is a sense in the publication that past experimenters who treated their subjects as if they “were worth no more than laboratory mice,” have now been relegated to the injustices of a crude past. The sophisticated present, with all its modern bells and whistles, such as ethical review boards and fair public policy, however, has arguably evolved into a “better being,” producing morally sensitive scientific communities. How persuasive is this argument?
Current critics may undoubtedly, and justifiably so, consider the Tuskegee experiments and the experimenters who made it all possible, racist. However, racism may not have been apparent to the doctors and nurses at the time. In fact, racial discrimination and racial distinctions were probably corollaries of a widely accepted gamut of scientifically derived, and race based, evolutionary hierarchies.
In 1972, accounts of the experiments appeared in the national press and ethical questions were raised. Does mass public awareness and public scrutiny provide a safeguard against the commission of such experiments? Is full disclosure and transparency, accounting for the effects of issue framing, necessarily sufficient? Or is further critical engagement, debate and discussion absolutely imperative?