Dr. Nancy Jones, a Senior Science Policy Analyst at the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, presented the 2015 Walter Randall Lecture on Research and Ethics on Monday, October 19. Her topic was “Navigating the Nexus of Science and Ethics.” She talked about the difference between how science actually works and how it is sometimes perceived. Science is sometimes seen as the ultimate source of truth, but is really a way to model physical reality in a way we can begin to understand it. Science does not have the ability to produce moral values, but is influenced by the values that researchers bring to it. Science is best when it is objective, but objectivity is difficult to achieve. For science to be done well it needs to be done within a moral framework that science itself cannot produce.
This annual lecture series is done in memory of Dr. Walter Randall, a Taylor University alumnus, who returned to Taylor toward the end of his career as a researcher in physiology to include Taylor students in doing his research on cardiac physiology.
The Center for Ethics hosted a Conversation on Animal Welfare and Christian Ethics on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. There were approximately 50 people present to discuss the recently released Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals written by Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Convention, Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Mark Rodgers of the Clapham Group. Our panel of speakers included Abby Skeans of the Clapham Group, Reasa Currier of the Humane Society of the US, Dr. Charles Arand of Concordia Theological Seminary and member of the HSUS Faith Advisory Council, and Dr. Jim Spiegel, professor of philosophy and ethics here at Taylor. The presentations by the panel explored the biblical theology of creation and how that impacts the way we care for animals as stewards of creation and referenced the history of Christian support for animal welfare, while recognizing that the place of human beings in creation is different than that of animals. There was a good discussion between those attending and the panel members following their presentations. If you are interested in the statement we were discussing it can be found at EveryLivingThing.com. Clicking the “sign the statement” button allows you to read the statement and then choose if you would like to sign it.