Ethics, Science, Art - where do we draw the line? (Split from Shermer rape allegations thread)

Started by billy rubin, February 10, 2021, 03:37:04 AM

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billy rubin

Quote from: Sandra Craft on February 09, 2021, 12:34:05 AM

The medical stuff I realize is emotionally touchier, but data doesn't have any moral value on its own -- only on how it's gotten and how it's used.  We didn't have any control over how that data was gotten (and frankly, not a lot of moral high ground over the Nazis on things like that either) but it should definitely be analyzed to determine if it has any beneficial use, and if it does, use it.  That strikes me as ironic justice.

i dunno.

what about snuff films. the ones where real people are lured into porno movies and then murdered in front of the camera? some people say they don't really exist, but what if they did?

could a genuinely artistic movie that included a murder be acceptable for release as a money maker?

this separation of works from workers gets pretty murky for me sometimes.


more people have been to berlin than i have

xSilverPhinx

Quote from: billy rubin on February 10, 2021, 03:37:04 AM
could a genuinely artistic movie that included a murder be acceptable for release as a money maker?

Not according to most people, I'm certain of that.

I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


billy rubin

well then the murkiness continues.

an experiment where a jew is killed by induced hypothermia in an ice water tank generates useful data on hypothermia, but its not very different from a snuff film. one is art and the other is science, but thats the only difference that i can see


more people have been to berlin than i have

xSilverPhinx

Quote from: billy rubin on February 10, 2021, 12:07:44 PM
well then the murkiness continues.

an experiment where a jew is killed by induced hypothermia in an ice water tank generates useful data on hypothermia, but its not very different from a snuff film. one is art and the other is science, but thats the only difference that i can see

Is morality and ethics purely logical? I don't think so. :chin: If you try to apply purely logic to a question that isn't logical you're going to get your head in a knot.

Both examples are unacceptable in my mind. It isn't all that murky. Killing a person so that the effects of hypothermia can be studied would never get approved by any ethics committee today. It doesn't even make sense to go that far on a human being. Even killing a rat for science requires a strong scientific basis and justification and when approved, it must be humanely done. Killing someone to make a profitable film is even worse. Heck, even killing an animal for a movie is heinous.

We've come a long way since WW2. When submitting a research project to an ethics committee there is the principal of replacement (from the 3R's: Reuse, Replace and Refine) that must be considered. If you can study a question which is aversive or cause physical harm to subjects using an animal model instead of humans, that is preferable. Likewise, if you can use cells in a petri dish instead of a mammal like a rat, that is also preferable.

That being said, there are a number of past experiments that would not get green lit today but are useful in scientific terms. The Stanford prison experiment, for instance. Or the Little Albert experiment. They were performed and we can't change that now. But they're still important today.

Experiments that wouldn't get an ethical pass today such as the above and especially Nazi experiments should be analysed with scrutiny. Many aren't exactly known for being well designed and with conclusive results. Unfortunately victims of Nazi "scientific" endeavours likely died in vain just to satisfy the curiosity of ubermonsters and are not of much use in serious science. In that sense, it really isn't very different from sadistic people who seek pleasure from watching snuff films (if those truly exist) or even paedophile porn (which certainly does). 
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


Sandra Craft

Quote from: xSilverPhinx on February 10, 2021, 11:05:12 AM
Quote from: billy rubin on February 10, 2021, 03:37:04 AM
could a genuinely artistic movie that included a murder be acceptable for release as a money maker?

Not according to most people, I'm certain of that.

Yeah, I would say there's a big difference between a snuff film and questionable research methods where the researcher was punished but the data used because it lead to a cure for something.
Sandy

  

"Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet."  Sarah Louise Delany

xSilverPhinx

Quote from: Sandra Craft on February 10, 2021, 01:56:05 PM
Quote from: xSilverPhinx on February 10, 2021, 11:05:12 AM
Quote from: billy rubin on February 10, 2021, 03:37:04 AM
could a genuinely artistic movie that included a murder be acceptable for release as a money maker?

Not according to most people, I'm certain of that.

Yeah, I would say there's a big difference between a snuff film and questionable research methods where the researcher was punished but the data used because it lead to a cure for something.

Agreed.
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


billy rubin

if the snuff film is a work of art i don't see what the difference would be. both art and science are just different cultural activities of human societies. how should we treat them differently? is there a way to quantify how art and science co5mpare in value?

does a modern symphony have more or less value to society than a archeological journal article?

but anyway, here's the case i remember. the moral issues just aren't clear to me no matter which way i look at it.

[spoiler]Pozos' Chilling Dilemma

Doctor Robert Pozos is the Director of the Hypothermia Laboratory at the University of Minnesota of Medicine at Duluth. His research is devoted to methods of rewarming frozen victims of cold. Much of what he and other hypothermia specialists know about rescuing frozen victims is the result of trial and error performed in hospital emergency rooms. Pozos believes that many of the existing rewarming techniques that have been used thus far lack a certain amount of critical scientific thinking.

Pozos points out that the major rewarming controversy has been between the use of passive external rewarming (which uses the patient's own body heat) and active external rewarming (which means the direct application of exogenous heat directly to the surface of the body). Hospitals have thus far microwaved frozen people, used warm blankets, induced warm fluids into body cavities (through the pertinium, rectum or urinary bladder), performed coronary bypass surgery, immersed the frozen bodies into hot bath tubs, and used body-to-body rewarming techniques.11 Some victims were saved, some were lost. This might be due to the lack of legitimate information on the effects of cold on humans, since the existing data is limited to the effects of cold on animals. Animals and humans differ widely in their physiological response to cold. Accordingly, hypothermia research is uniquely dependent on human test subjects. Although Pozos has experimented on many volunteers at his hypothermia lab, he refused to allow the subject's temperature to drop more than 36 degrees. Pozos had to speculate what the effects would be on a human being at lower temperatures. The only ones that put humans through extensive hypothermia research (at lower temperatures) were the Nazis at Dachau.

The Nazis immersed their subjects into vats of ice water at sub-zero temperatures, or left them out to freeze in the winter cold. As the prisoners excreted mucus, fainted and slipped into unconsciousness, the Nazis meticulously recorded the changes in their body temperature, heart rate, muscle response, and urine.12

The Nazis attempted rewarming the frozen victims. Doctor Rascher did, in fact, discover an innovative "Rapid Active Rewarming" technique in resuscitating the frozen victims. This technique completely contradicted the popularly accepted method of slow passive rewarming. Rascher found his active rewarming in hot liquids to be the most efficient means of revival.13

The Nazi data on hypothermia experiments would apparently fill the gap in Pozos' research. Perhaps it contained the information necessary to rewarm effectively frozen victims whose body temperatures were below 36 degrees. Pozos obtained the long suppressed Alexander Report on the hypothermia experiments at Dachau. He planned to analyze for publication the Alexander Report, along with his evaluation, to show the possible applications of the Nazi experiments to modern hypothermia research. Of the Dachau data, Pozos said, "It could advance my work in that it takes human subjects farther than we're willing."14

Pozos' plan to republish the Nazi data in the New England Journal of Medicine was flatly vetoed by the Journal's editor, Doctor Arnold Relman.15 Relman's refusal to publish Nazi data along with Pozos' comments was understandable given the source of the Nazi data and the way it was obtained.
[/spoiler]

much more here where i got it

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-ethics-of-using-medical-data-from-nazi-experiments

i'm not trying to dwell on nastiness, but the japanese did similar human experimentation in china. they used the results of their experiments to perfet their biological warfare campaign, arguably a moral good, from their point of view:

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/unit-731-japans-secret-horrifying-human-experiments-175476


more people have been to berlin than i have

xSilverPhinx

A snuff film is a work of art? Really? In what way? I don't think recorded murder should be elevated to such status. 

One thing I forgot to mention is that biomedical journals will not accept a manuscript if it hasn't be approved by an ethics committee. So it makes sense that no serious journal would accept data obtained from Nazi experiments, which were clearly unethical by today's standards.

Ethics is taken very seriously if you want to publish in an academic journal. That's just how things work. "This is the way", as the Mandalorian would say.

[spoiler=Click to see The Way][/spoiler]

Whether it's moral to publish and use such experimental data is another question altogether, and depends on who you ask.   
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


billy rubin

Quote from: xSilverPhinx on February 10, 2021, 06:38:47 PM
A snuff film is a work of art? Really? In what way? I don't think recorded murder should be elevated to such status. 

silver, we glorify causing people harm in media all the time. everything from monty python and the holy grail to el cid. what is or is not art is a completely subjective evaluation, one that i don't pretend to understand. i wouldn't let my kids watch lord of the rings movies until they were older because of the violence, and have similar feelings about harry potter moves. but images of harming people are commonplace in my culture, sadly. look atthe first few minutes of this lady gaga video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2smz_1L2_0

if we're willing to make dramatic art out of simulated harm, where is the artistic difference between that and real harm? i see real people killed in real life on news broadcasts. why not a snuff film? i can imagine a beautiful and artistic work of visual imagery that ends with someone dying or being maimed.

Quote

Whether it's moral to publish and use such experimental data is another question altogether, and depends on who you ask.

that's the important question, to my way of thinking. why should it depend on who you ask? is there no general consensus on what is right and wrong?

i just don't understand this right and wrong stuff. nothing about it is clear to me.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Sandra Craft

Quote from: billy rubin on February 11, 2021, 01:48:44 AM
if we're willing to make dramatic art out of simulated harm, where is the artistic difference between that and real harm?

Here's the problem then -- if you can't see the difference between real and enacted harm there's no way of explaining it to you.
Sandy

  

"Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet."  Sarah Louise Delany

billy rubin

Quote from: Sandra Craft on February 11, 2021, 01:58:12 AM
Quote from: billy rubin on February 11, 2021, 01:48:44 AM
if we're willing to make dramatic art out of simulated harm, where is the artistic difference between that and real harm?

Here's the problem then -- if you can't see the difference between real and enacted harm there's no way of explaining it to you.

i guess so. i honestly don't understand how watching simulated harm is acceptable-- entertaining, even--  while real harm is somehow forbidden. what's the difference, to the observer?.

here's one that bothered me. watching people's heads explode while set to artistic music and imagery. it's not a dramatic depitcion, it's a celebration of violent death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD24VY0YWdQ

i find this very disturbing, and i don't know how to think of it in any other way.




more people have been to berlin than i have

xSilverPhinx

Quote from: Sandra Craft on February 11, 2021, 01:58:12 AM
Quote from: billy rubin on February 11, 2021, 01:48:44 AM
if we're willing to make dramatic art out of simulated harm, where is the artistic difference between that and real harm?

Here's the problem then -- if you can't see the difference between real and enacted harm there's no way of explaining it to you.

:this:

Billy rubin, the difference is that in enacted harm no real harm is done, and that's a big difference. Violent movies, video games, etc., they're not real and mature people in general have no problem distinguishing them from real violence and so don't need to be protected/shielded from it.
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


billy rubin

maybe so. i think there is a causal link between acceptance of simulated harm and acceptance of real harm, though. watching something on a screen tends to make it acceptable in real life. thats how advertizing works, after all.

but its a side point. i think the heart transplant metaphor resolvez my difficuties with nazi war data tho. thats the one that imagines a dying person waiting for a transplant. when the heart arrives, it is discovered that it came from a man murdered for his organs. everybody is arrested and taken away, but the heart and the dying man are still there. should the surgeon use the heart to save a life?

this is similar to the nazi data, and i would say yes, use the heart and use the data. both arrived in poor circumstances but are morally neutral in themselves.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Davin

That's a small picture view though, of one instance. If people see that they can murder people for their organs, then it opens up a path for people to exploit. And it's not going to be the poor people or the common person that will benefit from the exploitation.

If data from unscrupulous experiments is accepted, then that opens up a path for exploitation. And even here in the US we don't have a very good track record for that kind of behavior. See exposing people to nuclear fallout without telling them that it is dangerous. See the Syphilis experimentation on black people in Macon County. Etc.

For the good of all people, especially the more easily exploited, a line needs to be drawn about how we used human organs and data obtained by hurting people without their consent.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Davin

I would also add, against the point of using of data derived by torturing and killing people, that if the data is so important, then we can plan out less harmful studies to gain the so badly needed data and then use that.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.