Science, Commerce & Politics

Task 4 – P5

Organisation

Campaign

The Food Commision

http://www.foodcomm.org.uk/home/

The Food Commision (UK) is a non-profit company which campaigns for healthier, safer and sustainable food in the UK. The company had been created and funded by the Greater London Council to improve the nutritional health of people across the whole of the UK.
Drug Free America Foundation

http://dfaf.org/

It is a drug prevention and policy organization committed to developing, promoting and sustaining national and international policies and laws that will reduce illegal drug use and drug addiction.
National Wildlife Federation

http://www.nwf.org/

National Wildlife Federation is America’s conservation organisation protecting wildlife for our children’s future. It is supported by conservation group, organizations, businesses and government to protect wildlife and the environment.
Animal Aid

http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/AA/HOME/

Animal Aid is the UK’s largest animal rights organisation. The group campaigns peacefully against all animal abuse, and promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle.While Animal Aid opposes animal experiments on both moral and scientific grounds.
Greenpeace

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/

Greenpeace is an independent  global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. The campaign does not involve with government or corporations so donations are rely on contributions from individual supporters and foundation grants.

 

Task 4 – M4 & D4

Animal Aid
In laboratories animals are used to test new products, study human disease and in the development of new drugs. Animal Aid opposes animal experiments on both moral and scientific grounds. They investigate and expose animal cruelty, and those evidence are used by the media to get public and government attention which can influence science. And they urge people not to donate money to charities that conduct or fund tests on animals. Therefore, it causes distrust between the public and the science field.

The political, pressure and social groups can influence on scientific achievements and recognition. Political group and pressure group are slightly different but in some point they are quite similar because they are people who want to change or influence laws and Government policy on science. However, both political parties and pressure group have their own methods, organisation and ultimate goals.

Political parties work alongside pressure groups but aim to achieve power by winning control over Government. Pressure groups is a group of people which undertake various activities in order to promote their views to get the government attention to their demands. Meanwhile, social groups are people who defend science usually because they work or have invested in such organisations that are at risk of being shut down.

Both political parties and pressure groups influence science by giving their opinion in the media, distributing leaflets and demonstrating. They can carry out direct action against organization they disagree or carry out protests in cities. Because science needs funding and large amount of money to carry out their research. And scientists and researchers need to be paid for their job as well. But the money come from public sources, government or private sources. If the group expose what scientists been doing behind, then it can cause distrust between the public and the science field.

References:                                                                              09/01/2015

https://prezi.com/vg4mvuxefkr0/how-different-groups-have-an-influence-on-science/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/higher/modern/uk_gov_politics/central_gov/revision/4/
http://www.peterjepson.com/law/UK-5%20Newman.htm

Scientific Advances, Ethical & Moral

Task 3 – P4

Example Scientific develop Benefits Moral issues
Turning water into fuel Use electricity to break water into hydrogen and oxygen, store it in separate tanks, then recombine the gases in a fuel cell when we need power The process of hydrolysis is easy and simple to break down hydrogen for the car fuel. It takes a lot of energy to break water into hydrogen and oxygen which could cost a lot of money.
Medical benefits of silver Silver contains strong antimicrobial properties and able to turn normal antibiotics into antibiotics on steroids. Silver uses many chemical processes to stop bacteria from forming bonds, slow their metabolic rates and disrupt homeostasis. Using silver may have potentially toxic side effects on its users.
Human Cloning Scientists take an unfertilized egg cell and remove the DNA in the nucleus, keeping its mitochondrial DNA intact. Then take an adult skin cell and extract the DNA and insert it in the place of the egg’s original nucleus. Human cloning technology could be used to treat heart attack by cloning healthy heart cells and injecting them into the areas of the heart that have been damaged. Some people might criticized the claim that human cloning would diminish the value we place on, our respect for, human life, because it would lead to persons being viewed as replaceable.
Abortion An abortion is the medical process of ending a pregnancy before the birth of a baby. Medical abortion allows women to have the freedom of choice. Some religious people think that all human life is sacred, that life begins at conception, so abortion is wrong.
Animal testing Scientists use animals in research to study how human and animal bodies work and test medicines and chemicals. Animal experiments are widely used to develop new medicines and to test the safety of other products. Many experiments cause pain to the animals involved or reduce their quality of life in other ways.

 

Task 3 – M3 & D3

                                                   Abortion
Abortion has become controversial issue, provoking strong reactions both ‘for’ and ‘against’. A thousand of women die every year because they were unable to access safe abortion and protect themselves from infections. Some women who don’t realise that they are pregnant. They seek abortion services and obtain abortion because of their health, economic, social or other personal circumstance. Maybe some of them seek them because they have experienced sexual assault or rape. Medical abortion allows women to have the freedom of choice and helps to avoid situations where unwanted children are neglected or abused by people who are in no position to be parents. Nonetheless, the pregnant woman has the right of life, where not aborting the foetus would put the mother’s life or health in danger, so she has the moral right to abort the foetus.

However, some religious people think that all human life is sacred, that life begins at conception, so abortion is always wrong. While people would argue that no one has the right to decide baby’s life. Abortion punishes the unborn child who committed no crime. And from the medical’s perspective, some doctors and nurses feel that their job is to save life, not to destroy it by carrying out abortions.

Some moral philosophers might argue that full consciousness begins only after birth or even later, so foetus and infant is not full human beings with human rights. And some people believe that abortion deserves no condemnation because of the difficulty of deciding  at what stage a foetus becomes a being with the right to life.

As a result, adoption of the unwanted baby might be the best solution in some cases. Or some women might decide that she cannot offer her child a life worth living and abortion might be better choice. People need to consider the long-term effects as well as the immediate ones. It is not an easy decision, and requiring an abortion is a situation that most women would prefer to avoid.

 

 

References:

  1. http://www.123helpme.com/assets/16887.html
  2. http://atheism.about.com/od/abortioncontraception/p/AbortionEthics.htm
  3. http://www.lawteacher.net/medical-law/essays/abortion-impact-on-society-positive-and-negative-medical-law-essay.php

Science, the Media and Public Perceptions

P2 – Questionnaire:

Do you believe in Science?
1. Yes           2. No               3. Don’t know

How often do you read Science news article ?
1. 1-3 times a day       2. 1.3 times a week       3. Once a month      4. Never

Where do you usually find recent news?
1. Facebook     2. BBC News    3. Television      4. Newspaper       5. Others

Does media have impact on science?
1. Yes                 2. No                           3. Don’t know

Do you think Science is an accumulated body of factual information?
1. Yes                 2. No                           3. Don’t know

Do you think science can solve any problem or answer any question?
1. Yes                 2. No                           3. Don’t know

These questionnaires were distributed to the public and student  to find out whether they have common knowledge on science. I have asked people for their opinions whether they would want it to be confidentially so that they would answer it freely and honestly. While I have distributed the questionnaire to other students apart from science student because they already have an idea on science so I wanted to know what other students and public think about science and media.


Results:
https://onedrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=c81247a1ebd67f44&page=view&resid=C81247A1EBD67F44!126&parId=C81247A1EBD67F44!114&authkey=!ArPH4XMyC0oU01s&Bpub=SDX.SkyDrive&Bsrc=Share

From the graphs, it shows that 68% public believe in science, 12% of public don’t believe and 20% of them don’t have an idea. The reasons could be due to religion beliefs but over half of the public believe in science. And it shows that 60% of the public read the science news article 1-3 times a week from the press. Almost 48% of the public find the news from BBC News website which tells that the website is quite reliable and trustworthy. However, 50% of the public don’t think that science shows the factual information regardless the media has great impact on science. Since science makes people’s lives easier and rely more on science, 80% of the public think that science can solve any problem or answer any question.

                                                         

           

Task 2 – P3, M2 & D2

                                                                          Swine Flu
The outbreak of swine flu started to get the media’s attention, with constant news updates and top story status as scientists and the media tried to understand the potential threat posed by the virus. The media have great impact on public perceptions. News coverage of the swine flu pandemic is likely to have influenced public perception and understanding as the media are a key source for health related information.

Different mediums report the same topic differently depending on their audience. From the BBC news they presented the article in more details on the Swine flu. They talked about the background of swine flu and antibodies to fight against the disease. They interacted more with the public and concern about their opinions which raise awareness to the public. However, in other science article – Popular Science,  they talked about the background of swine flu and how it affects the global perceptions. And the article also related it with government’s perspectives on how the disease has affected the economy and public health.

The swine flu pandemic has impact on a large number of people across the globe. The huge death tolls in the UK due to swine flu resulted in unnecessary panic about the disease and its potential threat on the population. The media have a part to play in spreading information about swine flu.
In newspaper article shows the potential threat caused by swine flu influencing public perceptions. Outbreaks in swine as common and cause significant economic losses. The disease could cause economic losses in meat industry, while it could cost the vaccine companies negatively impact public health because it interferes with the timing of deploying sufficient measures to prevent the pandemic from getting out of control.

The media tend to focus more on rare and dramatic events. When media shows vast numbers of headlines or coverages in the press, people tend to focus on it and perceive it as a real threat. This raises concerns regarding how people view their own health, understand the disease and how they treat themselves.

References:                                                                                  (20-11-2014)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21194090
http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-05/swine-flu-news-update?dom=PSC&loc=recent&lnk=4&con=IMG
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1007/10072003

Scientific Theory

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M1: What is the difference between scientific and philosophical questions?
Philosophical questions do not use a systematic collection of evidence while scientific questions are the systemic method of acquiring knowledge based on observation and experiment.

D1 – Explain why sometimes there is resistance to new scientific theories.

Peer review is a system that requires all new scientific discoveries, ideas and implications to be studied by expert scientists before they become widely accepted.
The scientist write up new theory and send it to the author, who sends it to other scientists for peer review. When other scientists give their feedbacks or recommendations to the author, he/she may reject it, return to the scientist for corrections or accept to for publication.

For example : Vaccination
MMR vaccine protects against three separate illness- measles, mumps and rubella. It is given to new born babies if they may have been exposed to the measles virus.
A study was first published in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield. However, most of the authors rejected his work.  In his paper published in ‘The Lancet’, Andrew Wakefield claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism or bowel disease. Since no scientist had been able to replicate his work, parents and physicians were also disrupted by a lack of evidence and patient values in their work and decided to look at evidence based medicine. So parents did not risk letting their child have the vaccine which later lead to an increased number of child deaths.

To accept some new scientific theories can be challenge the traditional interpretation of matters that replied on religion and faith for answers. There are always going to be people with different points of views and theories of their own which lead to skepticism. Therefore, a new theory will remain a hypothesis until the evidence is presented and properly examined by the scientist.

Reference : http://www.nature.com/ni/journal/v9/n12/full/ni1208-1317.html