Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Morality of Geoengineering

Periodically the news will discuss some new idea by a group of scientists that seek to change the Earth for the better. Alot of these ideas involve geoengineering. Geoengineering sceams range from moderate scale, damming a river to create a resevor for wildlife, to global schemes like dumping iron into the oceans to boost plankton populations and combat climate change.

All these actions have consquences. Some consquences are positive while others harm groups not directly involved with the plan. As technology advances allowing us to severely impact the world, many are calling for somesort of ethnical/moral discussion about the whats, hows, and whys of our actions. Some see humans playing God with geography is wrong while others think we are unable to fully comphrened the changes we will make with geoengineering.

What do you readers think? Should "what beneifts the most" while hurting a minority be the model of geoengineering or should we take a que from doctors and "do no harm" even though inaction will lead to misery and/or death for some?


Anonymous said...

As you said it is a complex issue so the answers are complex. What may seem to only negatively affect a minority may actually affect a majority in the long run.

For example, for many years fire suppression was viewed as a good policy. The benefits were a reduction in the loss of life and property. It was thought that no one was affected negatively by it. In the long run we are finding that this policy actually results in larger, more destructive fires.

So my answer is that only God knows the ultimate outcome of our actions. The best that we can do is look to Him for guidance and act on it.

svengali said...

That's probably the most suggestive question I've ever seen for a poll.

Richard said...

I don't know if there's a straight answer to your question, or rather the answer is: it depends.
You're correct that we need to take more time to talk about ethics in science. I'm not afraid of science like Christians get accused of being, but I think we as a society jump to quickly in some areas and do stuff just because we can without thinking of the ramifications.

Svengali, I fail to see how that question is suggestive. I think it's a legit question.