Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE) Doc. 11886 - The ethics of science - Motion for a resolution
The responsibility of scientists to consider the ethical dimension of their work emerged as a public issue with the development and use of the first atom bomb during the Second World War. Since then, growing global inter-connectedness and commercial pressures have driven technological change faster than ever, making the forecast and assessment of its long-term consequences increasingly difficult, and generating increasing numbers of pressing ethical dilemmas for scientists and policy makers alike.Some of these ask how far we should go in changing the human body – gene technology and cloning, biomedical engineering and human enhancement, neuroscience and modifying the brain, or the moral status of the embryo. Some raise concerns about the long-term effects of new technologies on human health – for example, the proliferation of electro-magnetic fields and new chemicals in the environment, nanotechnology or genetically modified organisms. Some look at the wider consequences of technological advance – should there be limits on the development of new weapons, the private exploration of space, or climate change geo-engineering? Ultimately, a deeper philosophical question emerges: what exactly is mankind’s relationship to nature, and how far should scientists be permitted to go in altering it? The Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media reviews the various initiatives at national, European and global level to bring ethical thinking to bear on the aims and methods of scientific endeavour, as well as its consequences and side-effects. It proposes new fora for such thinking, and suggests that parliaments and the public should become more involved in the debate. Finally, the European Union and UNESCO are invited to join forces with the Council of Europe to draft – and periodically review – a basic set of ethical principles to be applied to all fields of science and technology.
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Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) (PACE)
The ethics of science (PACE)