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Subject:RE: Ethics and Job-Hunting From:edunn -at- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Fri, 30 Nov 2001 15:24:28 -0500
Darren Barefoot says:
"I must assume that anyone who, in a democratic society, documents a
product advocates its use."
and Shauna Iannone asks: "Why?"
Instead of just asking why, I'd like to offer a decent counter argument. While I
have stayed out of this thread up till now, following it seems to show
that some seem to place their ethical decisions in purely black or white
terms. Or, as Bruce Byfield pointed out judge others in a black and white
manner based on who they work for.
It would be nice if we lived in a world where everyone played nice, asked before
taking things, knew how to share resources, and never resorted to
violence. Unfortunately we aren't living in such a world and with the way
human nature is I doubt we ever will.
Is a technical writer advocating the use of guns against innocent lives if they
work for a gun manufacturer? No way. Perhaps they are only advocating the
use of guns for the apprehension of dangerous criminals by the Police.
Just because you work for an aerospace company fabricating fighter jets
does not in any way mean you advocate their use against innocent civilians
or their sale to dictatorships. If you don't think guns or fighter
aircraft should ever be produced, you're living in a fantasy world.
I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, but I've found that often people sometimes
are vehemently against things because they lack an understanding of the
subject or they are simply squeamish about performing the act in question.
This to me is reflected in negative attacks against something without any
positive alternative or constructive ideas being presented.
If you are going to be against something just because of what it MIGHT do,
there's a word for you. It's Luddite. To be against a technology or
industry simply because it has some bad uses is ridiculous. We'd never
have even attained the dark ages if every technology that could be abused
was avoided, heck we wouldn't be able to lift a blunt stick under those
I would hope that more people would subscribe to the theory that if a technology
has but one useful application that justifies the research, then it should
be pursued. The technology must then be watched and the ethics of other
uses be throughout/debated to legislate and control them.
What I think many find difficult about ethics or morals is that they are not a
set of rules under which you are punished if you disobey (Professional
regulatory bodies not withstanding). They are in fact a set of guidelines
based on varying degrees of importance and a large number of assumptions.
Having saved this post as a draft to try and come up with something more
coherent, I have to admit Arlen Walker beat me to it. I must agree that
what drove me to post is the arrogance and hypocrisy of people deciding
what others believe by judging them based on their own prejudices.
Eric L. Dunn
Collect Royalties, Not Rejection Letters! Tell us your rejection story when you
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