Human Experimentation: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly [12:25]


This tricky issue asks one of our biggest ‘do the ends justify the means’ questions.  On the one hand, human medicines can only really be tested on humans.  But on the other, researchers have often justified torture and racism.   Hank goes over the long history of human experimentation, including self-experimentation, from Aristotle and Hippocrates to the present.  He covers a wide range of graphic examples, so this may not be appropriate for young kids.

Discussion Questions

  • When is human experimentation ok?  When is it not?
  • Are some experiments justified if they are performed on criminals?
  • Is it wrong to use medicine that was developed from immoral medical research?
  • Why is consent so important?  Even with consent, why is it important research is left to professional scientists?
  • What does “do no harm” mean?  A dentist of course causes pain when he drills into your teeth.

Keywords: ethics, morality, experiments, medical ethics, medicine, research, scientific method, science


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