TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Banning science because of racist origins

I was looking for 'the best atlas of human anatomy', and I found that one of the top books ever written in medicine is the 'Atlas of Topographical and Applied Human Anatomy' by Eduard Pernkopf is no longer available in the market. BANNED :-(

Yes he was wrong and unethical when he used the bodies of more than 800 victim of the nazi terror, spending two decades in dissecting corpses and letting a team of artists draw. But that finished. It is done. What is left is the science and knowledge he discovered.

Do you think that banning the knowledge in this book from the public is the right decision?

Shouldn't we take the knowledge discovered a step further and discover new facts in an ethical way?

Should other books be banned because of their history or background?

Is banning scientific books like this better than banning the books, websites, video's...etc that tell the history of the terror of the Nazis? (there are thousands online and in different languages)

Are we being ethical by banning historic achievements? ( we don't have to promote them, only present and make them available)

Isn't it more ethical to stop the wars that WE CREATE all around the world? (dead people are burnt, burried, 'thrown in the sea (political rumour) .....etc

To all of those who participated in this debate: Thank you very much!!

Some members deleted their comments, so I did the same.
However, I have copied the full conversation to an MS Word document (42 comments)
I may also delete the whole conversation before it gets closed (unless you ask me not to do that)

Again, Thank you for your participation! I appreciate your ideas and thoughts

Critical thinker AND PROUD :P


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 26 2011: It is to my understanding that the main problem of ethics with this case was that these bodies were sent to Dr. Perkopf DURING nazi times. Which means the nazis murdered these people and then sent them to be studied to the University of Vienna. Which is of course wrong. I think it is proper to ban the book. If only to discourage allowing these sorts of atrocities. You are right, knowledge is knowledge however we can not reward Eduard Pernkopf's work because of how it came about. We have to discourage any investigators from 'sacrificing' their ethics for the good of scientific advancement with the idea that in the end their work will be published anyway. They must know that if the don't follow scientific ethics, they will NOT be acknowledged and their knowledge will NOT be shared. At least I believe that is the justification behind banning Dr. Pernkopf's work. I think comparing to works that speak OF the holocaust is unfair. Since these works mention it's atrocities to make people conscious of it's horrors. Dr. Pernkopf's work is a product of these horrors and takes advantage of them in a sort of positive way.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.