• anonymous
Scientists should not undertake a research project that is considered A. costly. B. unethical to society. C. unimportant to society. D. unpopular.
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • chestercat
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  • blues
This is a subjective question - a case could be made for any of the answers. In practice, research materials cost money. A lot of money. At least in the U.S., research budgets have not kept up with inflation and at some times actually been cut over the last ten or twelve years. According to the NIH (the major grant giving organization in the U.S.), something crazy like 2 in every 100 grant applications are actually funded these days. That is a lot of people not getting research funding and a lot of people under a lot of pressure to not get involved with expensive experiments or expensive fields. Unethical research should not be done - but what 'ethical' actually means is different for many people. A good example is stem cell research: because a small amount of stem cell research is done on human embyronic stem cells, some people feel that all stem cell research is unethical. Some people think all stem cell research is ethical. Other people feel that stem cell research done on embryonic stem cells from other animals, adult stem cells and normal adult cells induced to become stem cells is ethical. And who is to say who is right? The same argument could be made for 'unimportant' scientific research. Who is to say what is important? Some projects which were considered unimportant, trivial or academic in their day have contributed to major insights and changes in scientific thought in later generations. And some scientific work is unpopular. Climate science, which suggests that humanity needs to make some major and inconvenient reductions to our carbon emissions by changing our lifestyles, is certainly unpopular. People like the convenience of driving wherever they want whenever they want instead of car pooling or bicycling. But science which tells people things they don't want to hear is important and should be done.

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