Friday, November 8, 2013

Ethical, legal and social implications of "go to hell"

I was feeling quite unproductive the other day so i decided to waste some time in a "Science and Society" conference that happened to be taking place around. Saw a couple of cute talks and then "ethics management" happened.
Let me preface this by saying that i have a modicum of respect for research in the area of ethics and policy making (really, just a smidgen of respect). Let me also say that i do not give a flying toss for research on how to manage research in ethics. That's a level of meta too many for me.
I had also made a strategic mistake in sitting in the middle of a row which made it hard to get out mid talk. Thus, i had to sit there through the entire ordeal. The torturers name is Jane Kaye. I do not know her outside this one talk so i'm going to infer everything about her from it (sorry Jane). She is a professor at Oxford. Sounded promising. Oh, was i wrong!
There was not one piece of actual information in a 45 minute talk. Nothing! She went on and on about accelerating ethics research and making it more adaptable and dynamic. Did she ever tell us how that would happen? Of course she did: ethics research should be "grounded in a commitment to the shared values of mutual respect, trust, and active collaboration". Yeah, that sounds like a plan. Really, read that again and try to come up with what that actually means. It means nothing. It's fluff and nothing more. Actually, it's not only fluff. It's a good excuse to get a lot of people to travel all over the world (she showed pictures from at least 3 cities she visited in the past couple of years for the purpose of "international collaboration" or some junk catch phrase like that) and sit around doing close to nothing.
I wanted to ask some horribly sarcastic question at the end of the talk but i didn't want to be that guy (i'd rather rant about it in a damn blog).
Then i did some googling and it turns out these people managed to get a Science paper out:
Now, Science, really? You have to read this paper. It's not too long and it says nothing. It's all words i understand but they don't come together to form content.
One of these days people will wake up and realize there's a class of managers (i'm using this as a pejorative) that have infiltrated science and are ruining it for all of us. I'm sick and tired of having to put up with these guys which are either:
- evil -> they know they're not adding any value.
- stupid -> they think they're somehow useful and important.
I haven't decided which one is worse.

Ahh, this feels better!

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