Introduction To Bioethics And Bioterrorism Position
Scientific discoveries and developments have opened new paths in finding cures to diseases, and advancing the capabilities of life through genetic engineering and research. Bioethics is the study of philosophical and ideological beliefs of what is right versus wrong applied to chemical and medical disciplines. Throughout scientific history, the subject of bioethics has come into play especially in the field of medicine and experimentation with new chemicals. The term bioethics first appeared around the 1960s as insights from various views in society revealed concerns regarding new developments in medicine.
However, before this, the notion of bioethics can be traced back to 1750 BC to the Code of Hammurabi containing some of the first laws concerning medical ethics and even more prominently in 500 BC in the Hippocratic Oath which was used by the ancient Greeks for holding ancient physicians to certain ethical standards. Today, bioethics address what risks should be taken in order to honor both individual morality and human rights as well as to benefit biological scientific research. Bioethical issues ranged from private medical decisions, to the moral evaluation of scientific studies of animals and humans, to advances in technology that alter the way in which we live our lives. Some believe that the processes to which bioethics is applied is tampering with nature, inhumane, or unethical. Bioethics encompasses concerns that surface in the relation of foundational disciplines of theology and philosophy to medicine and law. The reason that bioethics is a controversial topic is due to the expanse of different views that are influenced by the diverse theories from both ethical thinkers and scientists.
Despite the drive for scientific development and knowledge, the majority of the scientific community is held accountable for the ethical conduct of their research. Scientists do argue that ethical principles block new technologies and can be reluctant to confronting ethics in their research. Although scientists may not be in favor of adhering to public standards, several policies and codes within various scientific institutions require scientist to conduct their research at the highest ethical and stafety standards. Eventhough chemical professionals should be highly devoted to their research, they should work in ways that are responsible and safe for the environment and the public. While being restrained by ethics, scientific experts hold that if the benefits of medical advantages of genetic engineering, the use of chemical weapons and other procedures are proven to weigh out the negative effects, to the development of our knowledge and human survival, these advances should be taken for the larger benefit. Although scientists may see these advances as an opportunity for research, it may bring up ethical concerns from the public of how to implement them without violating human rights and morals.
On the ethical side of the spectrum, advances such as experimentation should not be taken if it violates any rights or social ethics. Even if it may be beneficial to research or achievement in the long run, if it infringes on personal and social morality it should be prohibited. Today, in addition to encompassing the evaluation of morality applied to the use of chemicals and biology, public standards come into view in deciding whether or not the government should fund organizations in favor of using new technology to research and carry out medical procedures or processes. Inspite of the effort to pursue research, in the larger picture, government funded organizations are held accountable for their work by the public. If government funds organizations, the taxpayers automatically become indirectly involved in supporting scientific research that might be considered unethical. In 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) delayed federal funding for this biological and chemical research until the agency was able to consider the field’s scientific and ethical implications. Then in 2016, the NIH proposed a new policy allowing funding for the research to continue, but with specific protocols to prevent its unethical use. The line between what is considered ethical and unethical is thin and changes from different beliefs, religions, and cultures. For this reason, scientific advancements in technology and biology largely rely on public approval.
A controversial topic under the subject of bioethics is bioterrorism. Biological terrorism is the deliberate release of a deadly toxins, chemicals, viruses and microscopic organisms with the intention of inflicting harm on an enemy. Throughout history, bioterrorism has been used against enemy populations not oly to eliminate the population but they also generate economic loss, panic, turmoil and national insecurity in an inexpensive efficient way. This form of terrorism can be accomplished anonymously, seeing that it only requires the release of a virus or disease which can be produced cheaply and released on a different soil and whose origins are extremely difficult to trace. Because of the concentration of chemicals and efficiency, a biological weapon used at war could mean the end of the war. In times of war it can be a necessary strategy to end a war avoiding future deaths through the pursuits of war. Many argue that the develpomet of biological weapons are an unnecessary way of killing people, but most scientific researchers pursure the development of bioweapons because it expands the knowledge of genetic engineering and technology. Arguements also claim that other countries are begining to research biological weapons and this could be a threat. However, biological warfare is currently prohibited by the 1972 Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BTWC). This prohibition of the use of bioweapons was a smart action for the convention but it does not and should not hinder the growth of technology. In addition, the United States tries to remain prepared against any enemy by investing in technological innovation, and today, a significant part of that investment goes into biologcal science. By continuing research and development in bioweapons it only increases our knowledge of technological genetic engineering while ensuring that we have the ability to defend ourselves if another nation were to attack.
Pursuing research in bioterrorism and the development of bioweapons today continues to be a struggle over cultural values and beliefs of what should be considered morally and ethically humane and civilized. But in weighing the pros to the cons of the development of bioweapons and the study of biowarfare, it enables us not only to expand scientific research but to increase our country’s security. For this reason, when ibioterrorism is looked at straight forewardly, is seems like an inhumane way of killing innocent people, but in reality it is the development of knowledge that could protect us in the future.