The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines ethics as a branch of philosophy concerned with that which is deemed human conduct in pursuit of goals and aims. In modern world, science and technology have become indispensable. But the question of ethics is raised whenever the chances of misuse of science emerges. Promotion of science should lead to the breaking down of irrational and superstitious beliefs and ideas that so often hamper human progress, after the bombardments on Japanese cities, the debate has caught the highest order of intensity. Whenever we talk about ethics, we demand a judicious application of the thing or behavior concerned. The danger, primarily ethical danger becomes obvious, when man crosses this judicious limit. The case is applied in the context of application of science in development.
Science is one of the basic factors in the dividing wall between poverty and prosperity. There is no doubt that science has shaped and reshaped India over the years. The result of research and experimentation is seen in transformation of a subsistence agriculture into commercial agriculture; eradication of diseases like plague and small pox; establishment of rapid development of an industrial base; development of electronics, nuclear energy capability, space exploration, oceanography all being overlaid to meet social-economic needs. This is the constructive aspect of science.
There are some short comings: the dangerous side-effects of rapid technological development have to be seriously and earnestly faced and checked: environmental degradation, for instance, has to be prevented with the very help of science and technology whose careless application can cause irreversible damage. Interaction between the scientific community and the rest of the society must be encouraged so as to avoid misdirected research and sub-optimal use of investment made. A better management of resources is called for so that science and technology can be used constructively and to the best effect in the development of the country.
In the post – liberalization era the ethical danger from the misuse of science has become noticeable. Some of the important areas under the shadow of ethical controversies are: application of hybrid seeds, artificial seeds, and cloning. These technologies often become tools for creating gaps between rich and poor nations. Though, genetic technology played a vita role in increasing the productivity and bringing green revolution is has become a Pandora’s box. Due to increase in the number of vehicles and factories, life in metros has become miserable. Here the question of ethics is raised – how the persons who do not get the benefits of such technologies are subjected to the health hazard posed by pollution. Science poses danger when it becomes subservient to the greed of people. It is a boon when it is used for fulfilling the need of people.
Therefore, the issue of ‘science and ethics’ becomes hot if the line of demarcation between “the need of people’’ and “the greed of people’’ is not clear.