3.1 – Sourcing Information

After watching a rerun of Star Trek: Voyager, I came across a particularly interesting moral dilemma. In the episode, medical procedures that had been discovered by unethical experimentation on sentient creatures were used to save a crewmember after an alien parasite had attached itself to the crewmember. This presented an ethical problem for the crew, as the medical technique used to save the individual was developed by a doctor who, in the course of his experimentation, killed thousands of people. His methods included infecting people with a virus and observing them die, opening patients abdominal cavities and expose their organs to radiation, and many other attrocities. His results, however, led to success. He learned enough to create vaccines to the viruses he infected his patients with, to significantly advance the medical profession, and ultimately, to save the life of the crewmember of the Star Fleet vessel. 

This presents an interesting delima. Does the source of information matter? Is there a morality component to the use of information? Can information be used without the ethics of its discovery affecting the morality of its use, or is the source of infomation relevant to its use? 

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