Ends justifying the means?

Can scientific knowledge derived from immoral acts think : horrific Nazi experiments on live humans , aborted baby research, be used ethically for present scientific advancement. I can see both sides myself but there is some really bad feeling if I choose for the present advancement.:confused:

Are you referring to what was learned from the immoral acts, or doing the immoral acts? The immoral acts are always wrong, no matter what. Using information acquired from these acts is stepping into dangerous territory. An example I can think of is the studies involving pre-marital sex. These studies are always immoral, but the information learned can be used to convince other that abstinence is the way to go (no sources on hand, but we’ve all heard “multiple partners increases your risk of STDs” and the like)
To go purely on opinion, I do not think it is wrong to use such information. However, until I get a firm answer, I will refrain from doing so.

The end does not justify the means (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1753, #1759). One may not do evil so that good may result from it (CCC #1756; Romans 3:8).

I’m not talking about doing the immoral acts for whatever the reason. That is Sin with a capital S. What is our responsibility now? Is it morally permissible to use that knowledge that was derived from an evil act :confused::confused::confused:

Yes, one may use information which was derived from a study that was performed using immoral means. We do not have an obligation to be ignorant of publicly available information just because that information was immorally obtained.

On the other hand, it would behoove you to avoid supporting the creators of that study in any way, and to not give any fiscal or reputational support to the kind of study. And it is absolutely wrong to perform such a study in the first place.

You mean something like Tuskegee syphilis experiment?

The end does not justify the means (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1753, #1759). One may not do evil so that good may result from it (CCC #1756; Romans 3:8).

Thanks for this post Richa.

My wife said Saint Teresa of Ávila has a very good quote against the “ends justify the means” paradigm.

You (or anyone else?) don’t happen to know this quote do you? I couldn’t find it.

God bless.


Ok that makes sense. By the way I am not trying to stump anyone here I have a genuine interest due to our current culture. However let me take it a step further. Let us say you have a child with some type of serious abnormality. Can you use an already expired pre born baby to take what is required from it. You had no part in the abortion nor do you wish to ever
do so. Isn’t this very similar to the scientific knowledge you obtained through an evil act?:confused::confused::confused:

No, you cannot do that. To do so dishonors the body of the deceased human being, and gives precedent to further perpetuation of the evil of abortion. We do not want the market for such a thing to grow.

The difference between the two scenarios is that in the previous, we are talking about knowledge alone. Here, we are talking about the actual misuse of the dead body of a murdered human being.

Yes I see your point but it’s shocking how many people would rationalize that since the abortion act was done already it would be morally ok.

Thank you for your sincere remarks. Judgement Day is probably going to be a real eye opener, myself included.:eek::eek:

Indeed. Somewhat of a terrifying prospect, but as long as you’re in the state of grace, we can have faith in being on Christ’s right rather than His left. :slight_smile:

What about data derived from an aborted baby? Can this research be morally used by another party separate from the one who actually performed the abortion? If affirmative the very thought of it gives me the creeps.

God bless you.

Can you give me an example? I’m having difficulty figuring out how this would happen in real life.

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