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Friday, October 1, 2010

On Experiments on Vulnerable Populations

The spirochetal bacterium Treponema pallidum
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized for a U.S..-Funded study that led to the deliberate infection of hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis from 1946-1948. (NPR)

...Vulnerable people were ruthlessly exploited in the name of America's scientific progress. (BBC)

Good Heavens!  (This is when we invoke Deities). Is there anything else waiting to be uncovered by some academician that we would be better off not knowing?

This sort of experiment to look into the feasibility of this or that drug to cure this or that disease is not new. How can we account for the endless list of chemicals used as medicines and remedies for our aches and pains? 

Ethically speaking, it is reprehensible when experiments are carried out as exemplified in the story. Besides, what is stomach-churning here is whether the prisoners and the mental patients were cured after the experiment and the fact that they were kept completely in the dark about the whole affair. That was done on purpose.

Isn't this reason enough for us to believe in conspiracy theories when they crop up? How do we separate fact from fiction. Better, fact and fiction are blurred. We can no longer tell. 

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