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"How inventions and discoveries are used is not the concern of the scientist." Do you agree? (Nov 2004) by Mind Map: "How inventions and discoveries are used is not
the concern of the scientist." Do you agree? (Nov
2004)
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"How inventions and discoveries are used is not the concern of the scientist." Do you agree? (Nov 2004)

scientist may be restricted in their research if they are to hold responsible for their discoveries and inventions. one example is that nuclear fission was originally invented to provide alternative source of energy, but no to provide bases for the culprit of massive damage--nuclear weapon. however, the counter example would be the manhattan project in which research is carried out for the sake of victory in the war, which has devastating effect for mankind

Developments and Usage of Inventions Not Within Their Control

Scientists and inventors often do not have any control over the future developments and the usage of their inventions once it is made available to the masses. An example would be Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. His invention was never intended for use in war, or to harm someone else. But unfortunately, it was used in war that created massive damage.

Some of th'eir inventions are put into use after they are dead. Eg Leonardo da Vinci's inventions like the parachute

NO, its not their concern

Some discoveries are such that scientists themselves do not know what it is going to be used for in the future. EG: Internet was supposed to be a US military software before it opened up to the public. EG: ETFE, a plastic, was accidentally invented and started to be used as non-stick cover for cookware. Now, used as building material, for aerospace industry as well.

The main duty of scientists is to communicate their research and social and ethical implications to the policy-makers and the public. They do not decide how the inventions can be used and neither do they have any control the usage of them.

The job of a scientist is to delve into the unknown to discover and unravel the mysteries of our universe. As a scientist, his duty is discovery, and any applications of these discoveries (inventions) are none of his concern

Scientists are often not held accountable for the harm and destruction caused. The research they have been silently doing in the laboratories cause mass destruction but often, they are isolated from the social responsibilities of their inventions. It is politicians that are the ones who gets the blame.

For example, in response to North Korea's recent nuclear tests, the world is putting the blame on its government instead of the scientists involved in the tests.

Inventions and discoveries are always double edge swords, just like rifle could help hunter catch quarry, but can also be used to kill people. The effects of any inventions and discoveries are subject to their users, not their founders. It's not within scientists' ability to control the usage of their discoveries and hence it is unnecessary for them to concern about it. Therefore, possible drawbacks should not become a hindrance on scientists' work. Indeed, to achieve maximum efficiency, a scientist should always focus on his or her own field rather than being distracted by unnecessary factors.

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Jun Rong

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YES, its their concern

Each scientist has a moral obligation that their invention does not adversely affect anyone. This goes directly against defence scientists as their job is to design things that are supposed to harm people.

Scientists should have in mind that concern for man and his well-being should be the objective of inventions and discoveries. At the same time, as highly educated individuals, they should never forget all man are made equal. Never should we resort to abusing inventions (technology) to harm an equal being for the sake of the safety of the people around us.

Despite so much being said, we always have our vested interest in mind when it leads to national security. Like what Bush puts it, we (America) have a right to wage pre-emptive war against those deemed a threat.

However, if a scientist knows the possible drawbacks are far more significant than the benefits, he or she should nevertheless stop doing such research. (For e.g. a deadly virus which could possibly kill millions). As scientists are those who know their discoveries and inventions the best, they also know about the possible drawbacks and benefits the best. Hence they should try to take up the social responsibility to recommend or at least advocate positive usage of their findings.

Who owns the invention?

Given the vast amount of funding required for R&D, a question to consider might be who owns the invention/discovery. Is it the scientist or perhaps the agency that provided the scientist with the funding? If the scientist doesn't have any rights or say to how the invention is used, then it wouldn't have mattered because even if he is concerned, there is little he/she can do.

In a capitalism society, the product of every investment belongs to the owner of the original capital invested. In this way, the physical capital came from entrepreneurs or governments who provided funding for the research, but the knowledge capital, which is equally important, came from the researching scientist. Hence, the invention should be co-owned by both the scientist and the investor. A negotiation could be done to consolidate on the detail proportion of dividends.

Inventions are the results of discoveries

Rather than saying inventions are the results of discoveries, I think we should best say that inventions are the applications of old discoveries.