Saturday, August 18, 2007

Research on Humans

Those of us who nowadays express ethical concerns with regard to scientific research conducted on human beings sometimes get branded as opposing science, but a current news story about to an old event serves as a reminder that scientific progress should not be an ultimate value. The state of Iowa has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to victims of a 1939 experiment known popularly as "The Monster Study." The research, which was intended to prove that stuttering is learned behavior, consisted of subjecting 22 children to "steady harassment, badgering and other negative therapy in an attempt to get them to stutter."

The hypothesis proved incorrect, but learning that it was wrong came at too great a cost.

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