Nearly everyone is aware of how significant research is in the development of further psychological, scientific, and medical advances. However, there is currently the debate as to whether certain forms of research are ethical, moral, and fair. The counter argument to support these "unethical" forms of research is that dramatic medical and scientific strides could be made towards better understanding the human brain, locating cures for difficult diseases, curing cancer, and much more.
Ethics in research has long been up to debate. For example, In the early 1930's researchers at Tuskegee practiced cruel research methods by refusing to treat African American men with their diagnosed syphilis, the disease they were unaware that they had, instead choosing to merely observe the patients as the disease progressed. There is also unethical research being done on animals, in which animals are often damaged or even killed in order to reach better scientific conclusions. Groups such as PETA as well as many who are against unethical research of animals are standing up, however animal research continues today.
Probably the most pivotal of all the ethical research debate is whether or not the use of stem cell research can be justified. Many argue that the use of stem cells could cure memory disorders, allow for nerve repair, and even possibly cure cancer. However the use of stem cells in research is often deemed unethical by many individuals, who claim that it is destruction of human life.
As the debate goes on over which research methods are ethical and which are not, it is clear that the development of the issue has led to great strides in research ethics. For instance, a case like what happened at Tuskegee Institute will never happen again, and many guidelines and rules have been set in place for testing on humans. Every major institution has at least one major institutional review board which now enures that several ethical guidelines are met. These guidelines include the requirement of informed consent for participants, a debriefing of what the research will entail for participants, and protection from harm and discomfort.
Time will tell whether ethics or demand for scientific advancement will show victorious in the debate of certain research methods like stem cell research. As the majority of the population grows older and older, and new more innovative and liberal ideas are being taught to the youth, it would not surprise me if ethics are sacrificed for medical and scientific gains.