Question: Is Science a moral endeavor?

äÍÉÔÒÉÊ óÅÒÇÅÅ×ÉÞ þÅËÍÅÎ£× chicha at mail.cir.ru
Sat Jan 31 18:01:51 EST 1998


Guy Oshiro writes:...

> Is Science a moral endeavor?  

I suppose that science can't be moral or not moral, because science is not
such tning that can be done or not done by people. Development of science
has its own internal reasoning. It's something like evolution. Of course,
human race could escape cold war or arms race, but invention of nuclear
bomb couldn't.

> Part of the reason that I got into science was because I wanted to be
> involved in something that would help humanity.  I really wanted to
> help find a cure to diseases such as cancer and arthritis.  I wanted to
> make a difference.  I felt that biomedical research was the best way to
> achieve these aims.

I suppose you must be more selfish!
>I love the act of
> discovery and the ability to figure out a research question." - your own
words!

> Now, I find myself starting to question both my reasoning and my
> sanity.
> I am currently working on my Ph.D. studying cell cycle regulation in
> yeast.  This is a far cry from my goal of helping humanity but I think
> this basic research work is important because it will give us a clue on
> how things work. 

You are not so far from your dreams. Cell cycle regulation can led to
possibility of cancer treatment. What is possible for yeast can be possible
for humans.

> I am nearing the end of my graduate career and I wonder if I have what
> it takes to continue on this career track.  The road ahead seems both
> long and dark.  There are so many people out there (post-docs) that are
> having a difficult time finding a job.  I don't want to be 35, losing
> my hair, and just hoping that someone will give me a job.

I suppose that you are tired and need vacation. Forget about science for
some months after you finish your PhD work. You will return with new ideas.
 
> I didn't come into science for the money - but I certainly didn't come
> into it to lose my life and to become poor.  I work about 60 - 70 hours
> a week now.  I don't mind the work load now in graduate school but I
> don't and can not keep it up forever.  Eventually I want to get settled
> down and lead a normal life.

> Please forgive me for the inane rambling.

I found your "inane rambling" most interesting news from this year
begining. I suppose other people too - look at number of replies.
I'am also PhD student. I'am also didn't come to science for money. I'am
also ask myself such questions, and not only I.

> I guess my main question is this -- why do scientists do what they do?
> don't get me wrong, I love being a scientist.  I love the act of
> discovery and the ability to figure out a research question.  But when
> you do that at the expense of all else - I begin to question the
> reasons.  Do you do it because you love doing it or because you believe
> that you are doing it for the good of humanity?

I do it because it is interesting! This is the main reason. You must know
it. I feel greate when studing article by article in scientific journals
and step by step you see problem clearer and clearer. Suddenly you can
realize that it is something in your head that was not in journals,
something that knowbody know yet. It can be little and seems not
significant, but it is YOUR OWN IDEA and you know that once it can changes
to greate discovery.

Doing something for good of humanity is also reason, but its hard,
especially if you are tired, but exist other reason for me (see below).

> The sad thing is that humanity really does not know what scientists do.
>  they are definitely not rewarded financially.  there seems to be very
> little job security in this field.  So do people stay in science
> because they have a moral conviction of what they are doing?  Or are
> they just too afraid to consider an alternative career.  I guess in the
> end - everything boils down to just being a job.  The fantasy of saving
> the world is destroyed by the dream of leading a normal life with a
> wife, 2 kids and a dog and the reality that it takes money to do these
> things.

Society is not perfect (in all world, in all times), because human been is
not perfect. 
I hope that biology can improve it. We have no other way.

I know many people who have wifes, kids, dogs and jobs with good salary,
but almost all of them envy me, because my life is more interesting for me
and their not interesting for them.

Sorry for my english.

With best wishes Dmitry Chekmenev (the programer who have interests in
biology).




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