Ethics in the News: Video-Based Ethics Program, Ethics in Design, The Ethical Honor System, The Ethics of Guns in Schools, & More – August 24, 2018

Photo by Dan Mason

Bioethics/Medical Ethics

Jahi McMath, Teen At Center Of Medical And Religious Debate On Brain Death, Has Died
Jahi McMath, a brain-dead patient who had been on life support since 2013, died on June 22, 2018 because of liver failure. McMath’s situation sparked a debate over whether brain-dead patients are considered physically dead. Though McMath is dead, her family is still fighting for brain-dead patients to receive legal rights.

3 Big Ethical Issues Medical School Doesn’t Prepare You For
While medical schools place emphasis on taking ethics classes, there are some ethical issues that medical schools do not delve into deeply enough. Therefore, young physicians feel that they are not prepared when it comes to ending a code for a dying patient, speaking up when an injustice has been done, and handling harassment.

When Doctors Give Their Patients Gifts
Is it ethical for patients to give gifts to their doctors and vice-versa? Both doctors and patients are divided on the issue. Many patients offer gifts to their doctors as a means of thanking the doctor for his or her efforts. Doctors cite giving patients gifts because of the feeling that a doctor’s occupation extending beyond mere medicine.

Injecting Drugs Can Ruin a Heart. How Many Second Chances Should a User Get?
“A life-threatening heart infection afflicts a growing number of people who inject opioids or meth. Costly surgery can fix it, but the addiction often goes unaddressed.”
Response Letter to Editor: How Many Chances Should a Drug User Get?

What to say to a parent who requests genetic testing
“Genetic testing can open the door to a wealth of information about an individual. Ethical guidance for physicians helps them know when to counsel parents that the wisest course is to hold off finding out what’s there.”


Former WH Ethics Lawyers Say Trump Wouldn’t Qualify For a Top Security Clearance Though Trump has recently revoked the security clearances of former White House officials, ethics lawyers contend that, ironically, Trump probably would not pass the criteria for getting a security clearance. Trump’s extramarital affairs, potential obstruction of justice with James Comey’s firing, and global financial transactions make him an unlikely candidate for being granted clearance.

Why Engineers Should Refuse to Work on Trump’s Wall
The ethics code for engineers does not specify the appropriate mode of action for situations such as building Trump’s border wall. Nevertheless, there are great political implications of building this wall, which can conflict with an engineer’s moral obligation and work obligation.

Bill Nelson Slapped With Ethics Complaint Amid Charges of Fabricating Russian Hacking Claim
Democratic Senator Bill Nelson was served with a complaint by a conservative group stating that he falsely claimed Russian operatives had intervened in Florida’s polling stations for the 2016 presidential election. The group filed the complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee. Nelson, however, asserted that the complaint was a political stunt by the group.

Trump Administration is the Most Unethical in Recent U.S. History, Americans Say in New Poll
Although Trump campaigned on the promise to clean-up Washington, he is actually doing the opposite. According to a Gallup poll, only 37 percent of Americans believe that Trump’s ethical standards are good or excellent, which is the lowest number since the poll began asking Americans this question in the 1980s. From Trump’s alleged Russian dealings to his cabinet’s suspicious travel practices, Trump and his administration appear to have greatly lowered the presidential ethical standards.

White House Ethics Lawyer Finally Reaches His Breaking Point
“Stefan Passantino, one of the top lawyers in the White House, has plans to quit the administration by the end of the summer…”

Business Ethics

4 out of 5 Americans Lie for Money
While an astounding 80 percent of Americans have admitted to lying about financial gain, many do not even feel guilty about doing so. However, millennials seem to be outliers in this unethical trend, as they reported feeling guilty after such lying, and are more likely to admit to their transgressions than other generational groups.

Are Rich People More Unethical?
A study by the University of California, Berkeley found that wealthy people tend to lie, cheat, and behave unethically as compared to those from a lower socioeconomic class. This tendency occurs among the wealthy because they are more likely to take ethical risks, as they have the financial resources to bail themselves out of trouble.

Technology and Ethics

Were the Raw Materials in your iPhone Mined by Children in Inhumane Conditions?
Apple is not living up to its ethical code of conduct, as much has been not done much to protect the workers in countries that supply its raw materials, such as aluminum and iron. Miners around the world, as young as six years old, risk their lives in landslides and collapsing pits to obtain the materials for Apple’s products.

Should an Amazon Echo Help Solve a Murder?
Victor Collins died while visiting his friend, James Bates, at Bates’ home in Arkansas. Bates was charged with first-degree murder. Bates had an Amazon Echo device, which can accidentally pick up certain words if it perceives that its command name is called. Investigators asked Amazon, who refused, to release any and all information that the Echo had heard. This raises an important questions on the ethical implications of using such devices in legal cases.

Google Employees Protest Secret Work on Censored Search Engine for China
“Hundreds of Google employees, upset at the company’s decision to secretly build a censored version of its search engine for China, have signed a letter demanding more transparency to understand the ethical consequences of their work.”

Keeping ethics in artificial intelligence
“As artificial intelligence (AI) develops and its uses continue to grow, there’s still a discussion to be had around how to use AI in a trustworthy and ethical way.”

Video-based ethics program increases moral awareness, study finds
“Ethics Unwrapped, a video-based behavioral ethics curriculum created at The University of Texas at Austin and adopted by educational institutions around the world, effectively increases student understanding of ethics and human behavior, according to a study published today in the Journal of Business Law and Ethics Pedagogy. The study was based on a two-year survey of approximately 8,600 UT undergraduates.”

What Are “Ethics in Design”?
“People in the field [design] are calling for more ethical decision-making—but it’s hard to pin down what exactly that means.”

Law and Ethics

The Ethical Honor System
It is well-known that Supreme Court justices do not have to show accountability when making decisions about cases. Justices also do not have to answer to an oversight board for their all-expense paid trips. These trips could range from university visits to five-star resorts. There seems to be a great lack of transparency from justices in this regard.

Cuomo Signs Bill Creating Watchdog Commission for Prosecutor Conduct
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed and approved changes to a bill that will create a commission to investigate complaints of misconduct by county prosecutors who have already promised a constitutional challenge to the legislation.”

Theological Ethics

How Christian Slaveholders Used the Bible to Justify Slavery
While it is almost universally acknowledged that slavery was and is an ethical and theological injustice, Christian slaveholders thought otherwise and purportedly used the Holy Bible to justify their wrongdoings. Oftentimes, Christian slaveholders pointed out that slavery was common among the Israelites in the Old Testament and that Jesus never explicitly spoke against slavery in the New Testament.

Pope Francis Could Save the Church. Will He?
“The current crisis could be a chance for him to advance his radical vision and turn a crisis into an opportunity for renewal.”

Climate Change Ethics

As Trump Dismantles Clean Air Rules, an Industry Lawyer Delivers for Ex-Clients
“As a corporate lawyer, William L. Wehrum worked to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the Environmental Protection Agency in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants. Now, he is about to deliver one of the biggest victories yet for his industry clients from inside the Trump administration as the government’s top air pollution official.”

Education and Ethics

Teachers Are Overwhelmingly Opposed to Carrying Guns in Schools, Says Survey
Although Trump believes that arming teachers with guns is the best way to combat school shootings, most teachers disagree. Nearly 75 percent of teachers oppose the idea of being trained to use guns in the classrooms, and 60 percent of teachers believe that schools would become less safe if teachers were armed.

Students’ Broken Moral Compass
With the advent of the Common Core curriculum, subjects and topics related to character, morality, and ethics have been virtually removed from classrooms. Numerous research and studies indicate that these disciplines are necessary if we want to build a well-rounded workforce in society.

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