Scientific research

Skepticism is in order

For years, and rightly so, bioethics has wrestled with the "technological imperative." The phrase has characterized the excessive use of technology at the end of life, or the rush to unnecessary tests and procedures. Did you really need that sigmoidoscopy? But there is another neglected imperative now, the research imperative.

Try a taste of it. The Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg once said of research that "if we do not pursue...

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About the Author

Daniel Callahan, a former Commonweal editor, is president emeritus of the Hastings Center and the author of What Price Better Health: Hazards of the Research Imperative.