A Biologist Provides a Frightening Tour of The 20th Century's Most Evil Science Experiments on Human BeingsRoundup: Talking About History
Farhad Manjoo, writing in Salon (Jan. 2004):
In 1932, the United States Public Health Service alerted hundreds of poor black men in Macon County, Ala., to a new treatment for"bad blood," a term locals used to refer to a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases. The"special treatment," the government said, would be offered by doctors at the Tuskegee Institute, the Alabama college founded by Booker T. Washington; the men would be treated for free as long as they allowed doctors to observe their condition.
Almost 400 men responded, and when they arrived at Tuskegee, doctors from around the country descended on the school to monitor them. But the men who checked in to Tuskegee for salvation from bad blood were not offered any new medicine there. Instead, doctors administered aspirin and an"iron tonic" placebo and, over four decades of annual visits, watched the men descend to grisly deaths from a well-known disease -- syphilis -- that the government knew could easily and effectively be treated with penicillin.
Since 1972, when details of the program were first uncovered in the press, the"Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male," as the government called it, has come to stand as a monument for all that can go wrong in science -- a horror committed not only by a racist government but also by doctors sworn to the highest ethical conduct. The Tuskegee study might seem to most of us like an aberration, a product of a place and time particularly lacking in ethics. The scientists who organized the program may have been mad, but surely all scientists aren't so, you might think.
While that's a sensible way to look at the world, Andrew Goliszek, a biologist at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, cautions that it's not always wise to give science the benefit of the doubt. In his new book,"In the Name of Science: A History of Secret Programs, Medical Research, and Human Experimentation," Goliszek recounts dozens of unethical and sometimes ghastly experiments conducted on humans, many much worse than what occurred at Tuskegee. Some of these -- like the crimes of Dr. Josef Mengele, the"Angel of Death" who presided over prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp -- are infamous; others, such as the CIA's experiments with LSD, the Defense Department's Cold War-era radiological experiments on unsuspecting soldiers or the Japanese government's germ-warfare program of World War II, have been nearly forgotten by history.
comments powered by Disqus
Elaine - 1/18/2004
We don't learn from history. The 21st century's first evil scientific experiments are the extraction of stem cells from human embryo's. Scientist's don't give a hoot about moral or ethical concerns when they want to experiment.
I wonder how many other evil scientific experiments this century will perform and not call them evil.
Bernard J. Wolfe, Jr. - 1/17/2004
The greatest danger to mankind is denial and rationalization that such activities cannot occur in the future even when we have clear evidence that it has been a reccurring danger. We have to be on aware and take steps to keep such activities to a minimum.
I would refer you to http://www.bjwolfejr.com for similar issues for our concern. If not working try http://www.wolfewebscaping.biz, Development, BJWolfe.... We know it can happen even here in the U.S. under the auspices of established science and medical professionals.
Judith Ronat - 1/16/2004
Farhad Manjoo writes that the Tuskegee experiments began in 1932 and "that the government knew could easily and effectively be treated with penicillin." But penicillen was in very limited use only a decade later, and in general use later still. That does not condone the experiments, but treatment in 1932 was relatively ineffective.
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Tourism spot for Colonial Williamsburg shocks some New Yorkers during Super Bowl 50 for use of 9/11 attack footage
- We asked 6 political scientists if Bernie Sanders would have a shot in a general election
- The price of oil has plummeted and with it Russia’s finances
- Legal scholars at Harvard debate Cruz’s eligibility to serve as president
- Has one of Sally Hemings’s siblings been neglected by history unfairly?
- Retired historian George Dennison remains on the payroll at the U. of Montana while faculty are cut
- The Atlantic profiles exciting ways to teach history
- LDS Church has gone from 0 to 4 historians specializing in women’s history
- American Historical Association protests Turkey’s crackdown on historians and other academics who signed a a petition critical of the Turkish government
- Israeli historian Yair Auron lays out details of a massacre in 1948