Looking for a local corner of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing this week, the Washington WTOP news station published a brilliant biography of the "brilliant" rocket scientist Werner von Braun, who was laid to rest in nearby Alexandria in 1977. article caused excitement, however, and is quickly picked up. The reason? He failed to mention that von Braun is a Nazi. There are few corners of scientific progress that are not tainted at some point in their history through immoral or unethical behavior. Physics, biology, zoology, medicine, psychology, vaccine science, anthropology, genetics, nutrition, engineering: all are filled with discoveries made in circumstances that can be described as unethical, even illegal. How should we feel to use this knowledge? Especially when it can be of great benefit to civilization and even save life? You may like it:
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They were among 1600 spy-hired students as part of the Paperclip operation at the end of World War II – all protected by criminal prosecution given to a safe passage to the US and left to continue their work.
Allied forces also smashed other Nazis. innovation. Nerve agents such as Tabun and Sarin (which would stimulate the development of new insecticides as well as weapons of mass destruction), antimalarial chloroquine, methadone and methamphetamines, as well as medical tests for hypothermia, hypoxia, dehydration, etc. were created. on the back of human experiments in concentration camps.
The board, the forms of synthetic rubber, and the Fanta soft drink were also developed by the Germans under the Nazi rule.
But this is far from a single injection of unethical research into a scientific record. For over 40 years, starting in 1932, researchers from Tuskegee University in Alabama have been tracking the progress of syphilis in hundreds of poor black men – none of them ever received a diagnosis or treatment, although the antibiotic penicillin that can cure the disease, is available
In a related study, American doctors in the 1940s deliberately infected unsuspecting sexually transmitted infections to investigate the disease. Conscious of the protest it can generate, the experiments were conducted in Guatemala.  From 1955 to 1976, in what became known as "Unfortunate Experiments," hundreds of women with pre-cancerous lesions did not were treated to see if they develop cervical cancer. Study details came to light only after exposure by two female health advocates Sandra Connie and Philadelphia Buncole. The study in New Zealand hoped to test the theories about the value of early intervention, but later Judge Sylvia Cartwright's critique of the treatment of patients by doctors conducting the study. in addition – owes its existence to human cells that were taken by Henriette Lips without her knowledge or consent and who have never seen any compensation from their commercialization. The cell line grown from these initial samples has been used in countless studies of drugs, toxins, viruses, and has also been used to screen the human genome.  And in the 1950s Robert G Heath pioneered the use of electrodes implanted in the brain in one attempt to rewind the sexual orientation. Today, such technology is used as a treatment for epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and Elon Musk's recently announced neural lace.
It is not arguable to argue that these experiments should never happen. But now they have, what should be done with the information they have generated?
"The main intuition is that if information was received unethically, but we use this information, then we become complicit in this past," says Dom Wilkinson. , an ethical medical practitioner at Oxford University. This is a common point of view, even among those who use these findings.
Writing in the journal of bioethics in the Hastings Center report in 1984, Kristine Moe talks about a conversation with John Hayward, a leading hypothesis expert at the University of Victoria. British Columbia, which uses Nazi data in its research. "I do not want to use this data, but there is no other, and it will not be another in the ethical world," he told her. – I rationalized it a bit. But not to use it will be just as bad. "
But Hayward's experience is unusual.
"I think it is important to say that these discoveries seldom provide key information in isolation," says Wilkinson. "For the most part, scientific information is part of the puzzle: it fits into a complete puzzle."
Werner von Brown's contribution to Apollo's space program may be significant. But it is impossible to tell if NASA could understand how to land on the moon without his help and the knowledge he had received while working on the Nazi missile program V-2.
Meanwhile, the results of the Tuskegee and Unfortunate experiments did not drastically change our understanding of syphilis or cancer: the data is not so useful that we need to hold our noses and put them into practice to help patients today.
"There are not many other studies to see what happens if you do not cure cervical cancer," says Wilkinson. "But even if you say" we do not use this science, "we will not have a different understanding of cervical cancer. "
It may be tempting to think that unethical medical practices are something of the past that the entanglement of modern medicine with immorality was atypical in the middle of the 20th century and that when we move further than that time, then work will disappear in scientific irrelevance. From now on, we can say that our entire collection of data will be overboard and our discovery ethically sounds.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
One of the concerns about the use of the data is that it expresses the attitude that this study is fine and encourages future researchers – Dom Wilkinson
To repeat the Symphilly Studies in Guatemala, many clinical trials to date are being carried out in developing countries for the same reasons: regulations are weaker and the risk of bad press from any negative results is reduced. A 2008 report published by the Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations revealed details of many such unethical studies conducted in India, Nigeria, Russia, Argentina and Nepal. He uncovered unrecorded deaths of 14 women in Uganda during the trial of the antiviral drug Nevirapine.
He also revealed that eight patients in Hyperabad, India, died during the anti-clot streptokinase test – and that none of them knew he was part of an experiment.
The urge to do something with data – even if it was received in an unethical way – comes with its own problems. In addition to bearing the burden of complicity, do you use the findings of current and future researchers that it is better to seek forgiveness than to seek permission?
"There is something very specific about the knowledge that it is irreversible. You can not understand something, "says Wilkinson. " One of the concerns about using the data is that it expresses the attitude that this research is fine and encourages future researchers -" history will appreciate me positively. " We want to not do that. We do not want to encourage unethical research. "
Wilkinson underscores the recent case of the Chinese researcher who announced in 2018 that he had created the first babies edited by a gene. "This is a really striking example; It seems he was motivated by the special glory associated with being the first, "says Wilkinson.
This opinion is repeated by China's Health Commission, whose investigation into the study concluded that the scientist "unlawfully carried out the investigation into the persecution" of personal fame and profit. " Like Wilkinson, as well as other individuals who commit crimes that attract attention for their renown, we must make an effort not to approve their behavior or to give them the promotion they are looking for.
But even if we can divide the actions of the people from the science they generate, condemning someone while doing something good with the other, we have not yet come out of the moral labyrinth. What happens when problematic research is still ahead – but can it be?
This is a bottleneck caused by a controversial collection of blood samples from more than three million Scottish people who currently hold the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Council. Samples were collected as part of a routine "stitch test" test conducted for all newborns to test for a number of genetic conditions. However, from 1965 to 2003, parents' permission to store blood samples was never sought, which means that the entire database is legally dubious.
As the oldest and largest collection of Guthrie cards in the world (as the records are known), the database offers an unusually broad view of the nation's genetics and thus constitutes a unique resource for medical researchers. However, due to the problems associated with the way they are collected, there is currently a moratorium on conducting research with the help of maps.
"These situations are not just" ethical "or" unethical "- they include competing ethical issues, all of which need to be taken into account," said Ann Wilkinson, a Nuffield Bioethics Council programmer writing about the cards of Scotland Guthrie. Important social benefits can be achieved by using the database, she says. "But that would not only reassure the concerns about consent, privacy, the risks to people related to the use of their personal information, and respect for people's perceptions of its use.
Scottish health authorities are now starting consultations with researchers, ethics experts, patients and citizens about what to do with Guthrie's maps. One of the options is to allow those who oppose giving up on any study done on the maps – but demonstrating that you have sought 3 million people with adequate retroactive permission, this is not a small one task.
Some good of bad situations. Even in the Warsaw Ghetto, Mo says, Jewish doctors have made detailed notes about the health of their fellow citizens, data that have been smuggled and later published as a remarkable study of the effects of hunger illness.
"A decision to use the data should not be done without regret or without recognizing the incomprehensible horror that has produced them," she wrote of Nazi studies. "We can not assume any approval of the methods. Neither should we let the inhumanity of the experiments dazzle us for the possibility of saving some good from the ashes. " ] or Twitter or Instagram –
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