Title 5 – TOK Essay May 2017 KQ 7 : To what extent ‘ Ethics’ or the lack of it , play a role in the disagreements between experts within a discipline?
The traditional ideal of “ appeal to facts and the interpretations by experts “ is undergoing a change in public perception and trust that experts are not infallible and the scientific methodology cannot always guarantee the expert’s objectivity” and this ‘ impersonal opinion’ may be influenced by financial , professional , economic , political and social considerations. Speaking from an Ethical viewpoint , the neutrality and infallibility of expertise is under a scanner specially when there are disagreements that have commercial implications.
The in house expert of the corporation/producer/manufacturer will always claim to have more authority and better data , is more likely to have a bias in favor of their employer and will support their employer’s position .For example , decades back smoking of tobacco was very popular and manufacturers of tobacco products brought forth research results that seemed to deny the validity of new scientific data showing that smoking of tobacco causes cancer and other major health problems .
There are also efforts to suppress dissent to safeguard your own commercial interests and reputation. “The controversy about the alleged human toxicity of glyphosate and Roundup is more than a decade old -This ongoing controversy not only has scientists arguing with other scientists, but also has scientists disputing with a very large well-established commercial company , Monsanto, allegedly hindering the research and investigations.”