Cover image for Encyclopedia of ethics in science and technology
Title:
Encyclopedia of ethics in science and technology
Author:
Barber, Nigel, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Facts on File, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xiii, 386 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780816043149
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

With the emergence of many new branches of ethical debate and discourse in such areas as computer science, genetic engineering, and environmental sciences, there is an increasing need for a reference work that clearly outlines the many ethical issues in science and technology that have arisen in modern societies. Encyclopedia of Ethics in Science and Technology is the only single-volume resource to provide extensive coverage of such issues. Historically and internationally comprehensive, the encyclopedia features more than 400 entries that describe the varied ethical controversies in science and technology: laws, precedent-setting cases, regulations, agencies and organizations, ethical principles, concepts, people, and important events. Also covered are phenomena that are at the fringes of science but have important ethical implications, including voodoo deaths and experimental research into extrasensory perception (ESP). All entries are written in an objective manner, allowing readers to reach an even-handed understanding of these controversial issues. Coverage includes acid rain, Chernobyl nuclear accident, Darwin, electromagnetic radiation, ethics of care, fraudulent research, g


Author Notes

Nigel Barber, Ph.D. an evolutionary psychologist and writer, received a Ph.D. in biopsychology from Hunter College of the City University of New York. Dr. Barber taught psychology at Bemidji State University of Minnesota and later at Birmingham-Southern College. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, he has published other reference titles in the sciences and articles in a number of peer-reviewed scholarly journals


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

From stem cell research to the Kyoto Treaty to land mines, our lives are intertwined with science and technology and the social and ethical controversies surrounding them. This work attempts to give a broad overview of the ethical issues surrounding the development of science and the deployment of technology. Although the goal is admirable, the choice of topics is somewhat random and superficial and often focuses more on debunking pseudoscience than on ethics. The more than 400 entries range in length from 25 to more than 1,000 words and fall into five general categories: biography, legal aspects, specific technologies or theories, events, and movements and organizations. Some entries include brief lists of further reading, most of which is taken from secondary popular literature. The entries on philosophical concepts, such as Utilitarian ethics or Dualism, do not provide a better or more relevant explanation than one would find in a basic philosophical or ethical reference work. Some biographical entries (e.g., Mendel, Gregor Johann) discuss ethical issues, but others offer only simple biographical information with little or no explicit ethical discussion. Other types of entries that are not well integrated into the theme of the book include one on UFOs, a very lengthy entry on the history of science, and entries that simply describe an event or experiment (e.g., Hubble Space Telescope, Catalytic converter). The strength of the encyclopedia is its coverage of specific technologies and events and their controversial aspects. The author has done a good job of treating many of the technologies--such as contraception and genetic engineering--that we see in the daily news. The coverage is fairly evenhanded in addressing the claims of both the opponents and proponents of the technology in question. Useful cross-references to related articles also add value here. There is a helpful appendix listing organizations (with contact information) that treat ethical issues in science and technology. Overall, this volume provides a decent introduction, and high-school and public libraries may want to consider adding it to their collections as a supplement to other resources. Academic libraries will find that larger, scholarly works such as The Encyclopedia of Ethics [RBB Ja 1 & 15 02] have adequate coverage of science and technology issues.


Library Journal Review

Written by a psychologist who does research more in the area of human reproductive behavior (The Science of Romance), this slim, one-volume encyclopedia collects 400 articles covering the concepts, people, important events, and controversies associated with ethical issues in science and technology. Although coverage of such topics as stem-cell research, electronic privacy, and genetic engineering is to be expected, Barber also includes such curious choices as the Hubble Space Telescope, bridge collapse, and Thomas Edison, leaving the reader to wonder what the ethical dilemma is. Barber's writing is accessible to high school students, but he can give only a brief overview of each topic within the allotted space. In addition, he addresses the important topic of biomedical ethics in terms of technology only, so that abortion, for example, is discussed in the context of contraceptive technologies. Finally, gaps exist in the cross references and the index, e.g., there is no cross reference from abortion to RU-486 abortion pill. This could be a good source for students in search of a research topic or for quick, ready-reference answers (users will appreciate the small bibliography of two to six useful sources at the end of most entries). But beyond that, the book does not offer a great deal. Libraries may prefer a more authoritative resource such as The Concise Encyclopedia of the Ethics of New Technologies or the larger Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics. Teresa Berry, Univ. of Tennessee Libs., Knoxville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

The latest encyclopedia to address the ethical complexity of a scientifically and technically advanced society is shallow, unbalanced, and unfocused. The author selected and prepared all 800 entries, which attempt to cover the ethical issues affecting advanced industrialized societies. They range in length from a brief paragraph to several pages. The emphasis is idiosyncratic; Rachel Carson and Karen Silkwood are covered in single paragraphs, while Sir Cyril Ludowic Burt warrants two double-columned pages; Marie Curie gets two paragraphs, Charles Darwin over four pages; "informed consent" is covered in about 30 words. Lois Gibbs appears neither as an entry nor in the index. The longest entries, "Science, history of" and "Technology, history of," are not written with an ethical focus. The author appends brief bibliographies to many of the longer articles, but the selection of publications is careless, generally ignoring major studies; the Love Canal entry, for example, cites news notices and one collection of essays on environmental ethics, but none of the book-length studies of this watershed case. Entries are shallow in content, emphasizing facts and not meaningfully addressing societal and ethical contexts. Most libraries can skip this volume, despite its wide scope and reasonable price, relying instead on such titles as Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics (CH, May'98) or its one-volume spin-off The Concise Encyclopedia of the Ethics of New Technologies (CH, Oct'01), both ed. by Ruth Chadwick, Encyclopedia of Ethics, ed. by Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker (CH, Feb'02), Encyclopedia of Ethics, ed. by Susan Terkel and R. Shannon Duval (CH, Feb'00), Joseph P. Hester's Encyclopedia of Values and Ethics (CH, Jun'97), as well as subject encyclopedias in business, biomedicine, environment, engineering, etc., that include ethical topics. J. A. Adams-Volpe SUNY at Buffalo


Excerpts

Excerpts

With the emergence of many new branches of ethical debate and discourse in such areas as computer science, genetic engineering, and environmental sciences, there is an increasing need for a reference work that clearly outlines the many ethical issues in science and technology that have arisen in modern societies. Encyclopedia of Ethics in Science and Technology is the only single-volume resource to provide extensive coverage of such issues. Historically and internationally comprehensive, the encyclopedia features more than 400 entries that describe the varied ethical controversies in science and technology: laws, precedent-setting cases, regulations, agencies and organizations, ethical principles, concepts, people, and important events. Also covered are phenomena that are at the fringes of science but have important ethical implications, including voodoo deaths and experimental research into extrasensory perception (ESP). All entries are written in an objective manner, allowing readers to reach an even-handed understanding of these controversial issues. Coverage includes acid rain, Chernobyl nuclear accident, Darwin, electromagnetic radiation, ethics of care, fraudulent research, genetic engineering, Internet and information ethics, lead poisoning and neurological problems, organ donation, plagiarism, Rousseau, Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and video games/desensitization to violence. Excerpted from Encyclopedia of Ethics in Science and Technology by Nigel Barber All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Entries A-Zp. 1
Appendix Ethics Organizations, Resources, and Websitesp. 369
Indexp. 371