The Experiences and Challenges of Science and Ethics
PROCEEDINGS OF AN AMERICAN–IRANIAN WORKSHOP
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by the National Research Council, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS IN THE UNITED STATES AND IRAN
Kenneth Shine, Chair President
Institute of Medicine (through 2002)
The Rand Corporation
Enriqueta C. Bond President
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
James Childress Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Religious Studies
University of Virginia
Glenn Schweitzer Project Director
National Research Council
Wilhelmine Miller Senior Program Officer
Institute of Medicine
Sara Gray Program Associate
National Research Council
In April 2002, the U.S. National Academies hosted an interacademy workshop involving participants from the United States and Iran at the Conference Center of the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy, on the topic of Science and Ethics. The American participants were selected by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine of the United States; and the Iranian participants were selected by the Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Medical Sciences of the Islamic Republic of Iran. All attendees participated in their personal capacities, and the documents that were developed prior to and during the workshop express their personal views and not the views of the academies.
This workshop was the first of six interacademy workshops to be organized by the academies in the two countries in accordance with discussions between the leaderships of the academies in Tehran in September 2000.
This report includes documents prepared by four breakout groups that held concurrent meetings between plenary sessions and a statement on priority areas for future interacademy cooperation developed at the final plenary session. Also included are background papers prepared by some of the participants prior to the workshop that had not been previously published and two particularly relevant background documents that had been published. The statements made in the enclosed papers are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent positions of the National Academies. The participants recognized that given the state of U.S.-Iran relations, future contacts will be limited, but they never
theless considered that a broad menu of possible cooperative activities would provide impetus to begin serious cooperation.
The breakout groups were charged with considering the following four issues:
Similarities and differences in the United States and Iran in defining and approaching selected issues.
Roles of the academies in the United States and Iran in addressing the issues.
The global character of the issues.
Opportunities for international cooperation: bilaterally between the U.S. and Iranian academies, through the Inter-Academy Panel, on the basis of scientist-to-scientist contacts, and through other channels.
At the final plenary session, each of the breakout groups presented its two highest priority topics for future interacademy collaboration in the field of science and ethics. The groups also suggested how these topics might be incorporated into specific joint projects. All of the participants then cast votes as to which of these topics should be given the highest priority.
Formal criteria for the initial selection and then the ranking of the topics were not adopted, but participants suggested that the following considerations might guide the voting: importance of the topic, the feasibility of obtaining financial support for a project directed to the topic, and past experience and current interest of the academies in addressing the topic. The topics are listed in priority order based on the views of the participants
The Iranian Academy of Sciences and the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences were full partners in organizing and leading the workshop. The insights of their specialists provided an unusual and essential dimension for this NRC report on an important topic.
We also express our appreciation to the Rockefeller Foundation for accommodating us at the Conference Center and for providing financial support. We are particularly indebted to the staff at the Conference Center for their administrative assistance during the duration of the workshop. The W. Alton Jones Foundation and the National Research Council provided additional financial support for the workshop.
The staffs of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council organized and took the lead in preparing these proceedings. Glenn Schweitzer, the responsible staff officer, Wilhelmine Miller, and Sara Gray ensured that the arrangements were conducive to valuable discussions among the participants during both the formal sessions and during informal activities.
This proceedings has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its reports as sound as possible and to ensure that they meet institutional standards for quality. The review comments and draft manuscripts remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of the papers in this proceedings: Thomas Blasingame, Texas A&M University;
George Bugliarello, Polytechnic University; Michael Fischer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; William Kastenberg, University of California, Berkeley; and Richard McCray, University of Colorado.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the individual papers, nor did they see the final draft of the proceedings before its release. Responsibility for the final content of the papers rests with the individual authors.
Final Plenary Session: Areas for Future Cooperation
Ethics in Medicine
Ethics and Education
H Current Situation of Bioethics in Genetic Research in Iran
I Medical Ethics in the Life and Works of the Great Iranian Scholars
J The Impact of Moral Values on the Promotion of Science
L Science and Technology without Ethics Can Do Nothing for the Prosperity of Human Beings