Ethics in Research
This week we discussed Biases in our daily life and how, as scientists, we need to be constantly aware that we hold biases and try to be as honest with ourselves about what those may be. I was shocked to hear responses to the Hindsight Bias when it was presented in a research setting.
The idea that “the end justifies the means” isn’t something I’m comfortable with, especially because you often don’t know the “end” of an instance. Maybe its the outcome of a pharmaceutical study as discussed in class but more likely than not its less defined. I realize that for some this may seem trivial but I do research for a living. Its literally why they pay me to go to grad school and the idea that there is any acceptable level of data falsification essentially invalidates a lot of the work I do to create genuine inferences from real data. I am confident that the things you discover through genuine scientific discovery are more interesting than conclusions that say what you want them to but its a bit extremely frustrating to see that it may be true. Even if, in our class example, no one gets hurt and its an effective drug, why then do we have regulatory limits and industry. Unfortunately these came about from individuals taking advantage of each other and that is what seems to be suggested here. Obviously if people die from your mistake it is seen as more egregious but research is what leads to most of our scientific innovation and to discount it is short-sighted.
We need to be careful what we justify as bias and what is unethical. Improving the world relies on the honesty and hard work of others. We have to trust that the medicine we take was accurately vetted and the buildings we work in have steel that passed all necessary deflection tests. An interesting aspect of this course thus far has been that it has made me consider how many people do I have to trust in my daily life and how much of what I use now was formerly research or a scientific development? What I’m getting at is we have to trust each other if we want to live in society. We have to trust that its no ones self interest to cut corners or that there are mechanisms in place to catch these wrong doers. I guess I’m trying to say is it’s important to step back and see why your work or research is important and why people are paying for it. Taking a step back and being able to put life in perspective can only help.
That’s all I got this week.
I would love to here what y’all think about this.