Ethical Dilemmas In The Nazi Hypothermia Experiments

1228 Words 5 Pages
One major underlying theme that many of our recent readings for this course share is that of ethical boundaries with regard to scientific research. At various times in history, unthinkable atrocities have been committed with scientific research being their justification. During the Second World War, Nazi forces and (and other 'Axis powers ') carried out some of the most unethical and inhumane experiments to date. At times the experiments being carried out on human beings were so barbaric that any discoveries made were met with disgust and disapproval from scientists around the globe. Even so, the use of minorities as guinea pigs to test the most extreme limits of the human body and spirit does provide scientists with some legitimate …show more content…
Nazi Hypothermia
Despite their difficulties, Einstein, Heisenberg, and their colleagues were actually spared from much of the brutality that the National Socialists reserved for those they accuse of being Jewish. The Nazis were the perpetrators of undoubtedly some of the most unethical and inhumane actions in all of history. David Bogod writes in his article The Nazi Hypothermia Experiments: Forbidden Data? that
"The Nazi ideology was predicated on the concept of racial supremacy At the top of the tree was the Aryan race; at the foot were the 'untermenschen ': blacks, gypsies, homosexuals, and Jews. In the obscene logic which emerged from this categorization, such 'sub-humans ' were legitimate targets for extermination and, before their death, experimentation." (Bogod,
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There is a long and difficult to read list detailing several of these experiments which includes, for example: castration, amputation, irradiation, injections of caustic substances, immersion in ice-cold water, dehydration, and the dissection of living humans. Many of these experiments were carried out on women and children. This type of experimentation draws criticism from scientists claiming that it is so unethical that it should be considered out of bounds, even if it does provide usable data. Many scientists question the usage of this data from an ethical standpoint. Bogod claims that "even if the data were of the highest quality, its provenance should surely put it out-of-bounds to the ethical scientist" (Bogod, 1156). This demonstration of extremely unethical actions being carried out under the guise of science is hardly isolated to the Nazi death camps

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