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Ethical Principles


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Ethical Principles ------------------ The practice of compiling lists of ethical principles has been so successful in the past that it is required by [DHHS][1] and [FDA][2] regulations. One principle that led to the creation of this Committee is found in *1 Thessalonians 5:20-21*: > Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all; hold on to > what is good. Where genuine disagreements exist, refusal to test the different positions can be cruel to those holding the minority position. Bad blood and social rifts impacting many generations resulted from contempt for claims like that of Galileo Galilei. Recognizing that such rifts continue to divide modern society, we are asked to consider all of the ethical principles of our community, rather than only those related to a particular doctrine The lists of ethical principles typically used by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) include the [Nuremberg Code][3] (1947), [APA Ethics Code][4] (1953), [Declaration of Helsinki][5] (1975), and especially the [Belmont Report][6] (1979). These are time-tested lists of ethical principles which explain the offenses of - **Control** (e.g. involving subjects without their informed consent or without honoring their right to withdraw), - **Harm/Negligence** (e.g. putting a person, animal, or the environment at undo risk of pain/damage, perhaps by failing to provide privacy), and - **Unfairness** (e.g. excluding certain groups from equal participation) More recent advances in [moral foundations theory][7] have found that some people may also be offended by: - **Degradation** (e.g. creating abominations in the name of science), - **Subversion** (e.g. using science to undermine a tradition or legitimate authority), and - **Betrayal** (e.g. drawing conclusions which are unfavorable to some of one’s supporters or subjects, such as identifying certain subjects as having lower educational potential) Different principles manifest to different degrees among different communities. For example, degradation and subversion are especially offensive among social conservatives. Some people may manifest ethical principles beyond the six identified above. Given historical expansion in lists of ethical principles, it would be unwise to assume that any such list is complete or unbiased. Finding ways to accommodate all ethical principles can be difficult but worthwhile. We aim to serve our community, so we consider any ethical principle to the extent that it manifests in our community (i.e. our town, our nation, our religions, etc.). The potential to look beyond current lists is an advantage of a committee and one reason to seek diverse membership. [1]: [2]: [3]: [4]: [5]: [6]: [7]: [8]:
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