On Saturday, Oct. 21 and Sunday, Oct. 22, over 150 guests attended Haverford’s Symposium on Scientific Ethics which was hosted by the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center (KINSC), the Center for Career and Professional Advising (CCPA), the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC), and interested faculty. It was the latest on-campus event sponsored by Haverford’s recent Initiative in Ethical Engagement and Leadership (IEEL), which was made possible two years ago by a generous gift from Andy Pleatman ’66.
The symposium featured seven panel sessions that discussed ethical issues related to being human, HIV/AID medicine, clinical trials, genomic medicine, preventative medicine, and food and water in a changing climate, as well as the challenges of teaching ethics. A poster session on Friday featured the related work of ten students from across scientific disciplines.
Friday’s keynote speaker was University of Wisconsin Law and Bioethics Professor Alta M. Charo, who drew on her multifaceted background to discuss a new type of genetic engineering, called “CRISPR,” and how reactions to developments in scientific research are framed in both political and intellectual contexts. Saturday’s plenary speaker, Majora Carter, a MacArthur Fellow and president of Majora Carter Group, spoke from an urban development background. She looked at ethics through the lens of the concept of justice, and how it often has punitive implications in the dominant culture and frustratingly unjust implications in the subdominant culture. (Her work in revitalizing and diversifying “low-status” neighborhoods in the Bronx is a part of a process she calls “self-gentrification,” which works to provide better resources and infrastructure for existing low-status communities and help their inhabitants find educational and employment opportunities.)
Bringing together experts and educators from various disciplines, alongside students, the Symposium on Scientific Ethics proved to be a successful, well-organized effort that called attention to the increasingly important intersection of science and ethics.
-Photos by Leigh Taylor