GCD Core Value: Global Understanding

 

This is a photo of me delivering a speech regarding an amendment to the resolution

During my junior year, I attended a model united nations conference in Taipei as the delegate of Denmark in the World Health Organisation, debating to define the ethics of stem cell development and technologies.

When people ask me about my background, I have to walk them through a brief story of my third culture childhood – I was born in South Korea, moved to Japan when I was three, attended an international school from kindergarten exposed to Western culture, and lived in Canada for an year. Additionally, my moral and ethical values have been influenced greatly by my christian and relatively religious family.

Even today I have trouble identifying my self with the views and beliefs of one distinct culture. My education and intellectual perspective have been heavily influenced by Western culture, while my ethical values have been shaped by christian values as well as both Korean and Japanese cultures.

Before investigating stem cell research and development, I had a prejudice against abusing and destroying the earliest stages of human life. However, through my research from Denmark’s perspective – one of the leaders of stem cell research with paramount support from the government – I was able to learn about the lifesaving advancements made from stem cell research such as bone marrow transplants, treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, lung disease, and many more. The most fascinating part about the research was the fact that this field of stem cell research has recently emerged in the last two decades and has great potential to save and better the lives and well beings of humans in the future.

While debating and drafting resolutions regarding the question at hand, I noticed that  interestingly,  the majority of nations were in favour of stem cell research regardless of religion. The main concern with all countries was the threat and ethical dilemma of human cloning. Although stem cells can treat deadly diseases and be beneficial, its pluripotent nature has the ability to essentially clone humans. I was able to discover that all nations shared the same belief to ban human cloning but differed in the extent of both legal and financial support depending on their economic development and capacity to support as well as how much they valued scientific development.

From this experience, I was able to learn the valuable lesson of not letting my religious views establish a preconceived opinion before  having sufficient understanding of the topic. Moreover, given the truly diverse and global society we live in today, although governments and people have differing beliefs, I felt that no matter the difference in nation, religion, or culture, we live in caring society where people generally strive to support efforts that aim to better the lives of others.

 

 

English: Reflection on Media Fair

 

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The last unit for grade 10 English was ” Mass media.” In this unit,  students had a chance to explore the usage and influence of various types of media.  Students were assigned to research a controversial topic with 5 different sources of media, and discuss the features, and perspectives. The media fair, held on Wednesday, the 8th of June by the grade 10 english classes was a chance for students to present and share what they had researched amongst themselves.

Kate

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Topic:  Kate’s topic was the novel “Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger, which was the most censored and banned  young adult book in the 21st century. She had explored 6 different types of media : comic, video, magazine, journal, book review, and a blog. Interestingly, she said that most of the media had negative attitudes and perspectives, criticizing the book for the violent content. However, we had a interesting discussion and both agreed that “Catcher in the Rye ” was not as violent as other books, and we were both quite upset that people had misconceptions about a great novel.

Toshi 

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Topic: Toshi’s topic was President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima. Recently, President Obama was the first American president to visit the Hiroshima after the bombing. However, this event resulted great debate as to President Obama’s attitude during his speech and the fact that he never apologized for the actual bombing. Toshi looked at 4 different types of media: image, news article, and twitter. I thought it was quite interesting that many Japanese people were complaining about President Obama’s attitude because Toshi and I both felt that they should appreciate the fact that he visited. Also, we thought that it was reasonable for President Obama not to apologize for the bombing because in the context of bombs, Japan had bombed pearl harbor as well so they should not merely blame the US

Yudai 

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Topic: Yudai’s topic was the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There are a considerable number of people who were against Japan hosting the 2020 olympics because they felt that they should be more focused on recovering from their economic crisis after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. Yudai explored 5 different types of media: Opinion column, poster, blog, news article, and social media. I was surprised that so many people were against hosting the olympics because I thought that the olympics was a sporting event everyone wanted to host. However, it also gave me the chance to explore other perspectives and reasons why some people were against the olympics.  Yudai and I were both for hosting the olympics and discussed that the olympics does contribute to recovering the economy because there will be an increase in tourism and more spirit. We also discussed with Ms.Barbour that Japan should consider being more foreigner friendly by having more signs in english.

Science: Unethical Experiments

Monkey Drug Trial

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What’s the story/What were they trying to find out?
In 1969, Deneau and a group of researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School conducted an experiment aiming to find out information about the self-administration, addiction, and the outcomes of drugs usage.  In this experiment, rats and animals were used as test subjects and trained to self inject drugs such as cocaine, morphine, amphetamines, alcohol, methamphetamine, and others. These animals were given an unlimited supply of these drugs, which was accessible whenever they wanted.  As a result, the animals had developed a strong biological and psychological dependence on these drugs. All of the animals suffered with harmful side effects and even lead to death in some cases. The majority of test subjects suffered from convulsions and  hallucinations and in fact, according to OPD “a monkey who took amphetamines tore off all of the fur on his arm and abdomen and even it’s fingers” (2014). From this experiment the researchers concluded that there was a link between drug abuse and physiological dependence, although its scientific value had been doubted.

Was this ethical?

First, the concept of animal testing itself is a controversial and sensitive matter that is still debated in society today. According to American psychological association, “an ethical experiment: gives informed consent, protects patients, grants withdrawal from the experiment, and discusses procedures”. This experiment had not met any of the qualifications mentioned above. Given that the test subjects were animals, they could not give consent, withdraw from the experiment, or discuss the experiment procedures. Although the qualifications for animal experiments differ, the fact that these animals were not protected but in fact harmed to the extent of death, and put into life threatening situations. Thus, this experiment was extremely unethical and is remembered to this day for cruelty and said to have triggered voices against animal testing.

How else could the information have been gathered?

Unfortunately, the nature of this experiment requires test subjects to be using drugs for information to be gathered. However, instead of forcefully training animals to inject these additives, the scientists could use human subjects who are already taking these drugs. Although the qualification of “protecting the patients” may be questioned, if the subjects give consent, granted a withdrawal, and procedures are discussed,  this would be a more ethical and result in minimal damage.

 

Works Cited

“Ethics in Science: Why makes an experiment ethical?” American Psychological Association

2013. Web. 20 April 2016.

Resnick, David. “What is ethics in research and why is it important?”

               National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. 2015. Web. 20 April 2016

Rossing, Diana. “Monkey Drug Trials – Unethical Studies”  IB Psychology.

2012. Web. 20 April 2016.

OPD. “10 Bizarre Psychology Experiments that Completely Crossed the Line”

               Online Psychology Degrees. 2014. Web. 15 April 2016.

Yanagita, G. Deneau.  “Self-administration of psychoactive substances by the monkey.”

               Psychopharmacologia,. 2015. Web. 15 April 2016.