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Seminar: Scientific Development vs Moral Advancement

"During the process of science and social development, new challenges are brought to traditional ethics, and scientists must protect technology from being abused," Lu Yongxiang, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said at a seminar on Monday.

The seminar was jointly held by the CAS and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Beijing on October 31. More than 100 scientists took part in the seminar and discussed moral issues concerning scientific research.

Lu said that moral concerns should not hinder the growth of science and technology. Scientific spirit and humanistic conscience should advance side by side. While developing scientific ethics, scientists should insist on technological innovation for the common weal.

Scientists present agreed that ethical lapses were not the natural results of scientific development but were caused by inappropriate utilization of science and technology. To address such issues, all society needs to be involved.

Scientific development has contributed greatly to the advance of human society. But it also brought ethical challenges, such as the moral issues of cloning and genetic technology, said scientists.

To tackle these challenges, the Scientific Ethics Committee (SEC), a consulting organization, was established by UNESCO in 1998. A total of 18 scholars, including Lu, are its members. SEC is an initiator of a series of seminars on ethics in science, including Monday's Beijing meeting and another to be held in Shanghai today.

Though China is late in its research on ethical issues in scientific research, great attention has been paid to it. The Committee of Ethics in Science was founded by CAS and the Chinese Academy of Engineering to advocate self-regulation in the academicsphere.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2005)

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