Oct. 22, 1:12 p.m. – A NOBEL winner opened the University’s conference on ethics and science and technology at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Thursday by explaining that truth should not be pursued for truth’s sake without considering the ethical implications.

Professor Yuan Tseh Lee, the 1986 Nobel laureate for chemistry, said “scientists have a responsibility for the consequences of their actions,” stressing the importance of ethics in the scientific profession as a means to have “social responsibilities.”

“Competition and individual development must not be prioritized,” Lee told scientists, engineers, and ethicists from around 20 countries during his keynote speech. “If we are to avoid catastrophe and ensure humanity’s continuation on this planet, the keyword for the next few decades will be transformation.”

Ethics in various fields of science were also discussed in the conference — cyberethics in information technology, bioethics in genomics, nanoethics, a scientific code of conduct, and ethics in climate change.

Yesterday, professors Johan Hatting of the Stellenbosch University in South Africa and Clive Hamilton of Charles Sturt University in Australia discussed the ethics of climate change, while ethical and social impacts of nanotechnology were addressed by professors Joachim Schummer of Karlsruhe University in Germany and John Weckert of Charles Sturt University.

“Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by rich countries to maintain the economic distinction between ‘survival emissions’ and ‘luxury emissions.’ Wasteful consumption of natural resources is not justifiable,” Hamilton said.

Schummer said “nanotechnology has made technology faster and issues on its use must be managed to minimize risks from nanoparticles.”

Nanotechnology makes products more efficient and durable, but its risks must not be overlooked, he added.

“Scientists have a moral duty to care for those affected by their work,” Weckert said, adding that research plays a vital role in helping mankind discover new technology, develop new products, and improve human lives.

Publication and information ethics on research were discussed by Elizabeth Wager of the Committee on Publication Ethics in the United Kingdom, and professors Cameron Richards of University Teknologi Malaysia and Syun Tutiya of Japan’s National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation.

“Research must be reliable and the findings must not cause harm,” Wager said, adding that published works must be dependable and have integrity.

Richards, meanwhile, said “sustainability, innovation, and social relevance must be a rationale of scientific research.”

The international conference will end later this afternoon. F. E. M. P. Flores


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