When Evil Intrudes
Caplan, Arthur L.
Hastings Center Report. 1992 Nov-Dec; 22(6): 29-32.
The acceptance of the Tuskegee study findings as valid refutes the argument that bad ethics is always incompatible with valid science, but the question still remains as to whether the data of the Tuskegee study should continue to be utilized. It may make sense in some situations to argue that data obtained by immoral means should not be used purely on ethical grounds. But even if it were wrong to cite data acquired by immoral means there is simply no way to purge the knowledge gained in the Tuskegee study from biomedicine. Too much of what is known about the natural history of syphilis is based upon the study, and that knowledge has become so deeply embedded that it could not be removed....Should the results of the Tuskegee study continue to be invoked in review articles and texts without some accompanying discussion of the manner in which the findings were obtained and the ethical impact that the study had on the subsequent responsibilities of researchers? Given that the study played a crucial role in causing Americans to rethink the ethics of human experimentation, it would seem morally incumbent upon those who discuss its findings in the context of textbooks and review articles to allot some space for a discussion of the ethical problems associated with it.
Biomedical Research; Deception; Editorial Policies; Ethics; Evaluation; Federal Government; Fraud; Government; Health; Human Experimentation; Indigents; Investigators; Knowledge; Literature; Males; Misconduct; Moral Complicity; Nontherapeutic Research; Public Health; Research; Research Subjects; Researchers; Review; Responsibilities; Science; Scientific Misconduct; Syphilis;
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