The Ethics of Engineering

Topics: Ethics, Suspension bridge, Tacoma Narrows Bridge Pages: 6 (1694 words) Published: March 22, 2013
“The ethical and professional role of the engineer is to ensure that engineered goods and services are technically accurate and correct rather than focussing on the impact that the products of engineering may have on the community and environment.”

Do you agree with this statement? Develop an argument, supported by relevant evidence and references, to validate your opinion.

Table of Contents
Introduction - 3
Ethics - 3
Stem Cell Research3
Inhumane Practices3
Professionalism - 4
Tacoma Bridge5
Mariner I 5
Millennium Bridge5

The importance of an engineer's ethics is vital in a successful design due to a majority of failures occurring because of it. The ethics of an engineer are embedded in an engineer and as such directly correlate to the professionalism of the engineer. Professionalism can also be important to have as seen in cases such as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Mariner I space shuttle and the Millennium Bridge. However there are instances, when disregarding the public's opinion such as in the case of stem cells is needed in order for advancements to be made in the respective field and are considered a necessary .

The ethics and professional role of an engineer are occasionally bounded by societies values and ideologies. These bounds prevent engineers from progressing through unethical means and avenues and as such this dogma comes as both a hindrance and a muse for an engineer. This results in a hesitant approach by engineers in an attempt to garner as many positives as possible for both society and firms. It is when engineers choose either path completely that structures begin to show signs of failure.

A strong set of ethics lays down a firm foundation for an engineer. This is because it ensures that the engineer applies to his fullest, and as such results in a far less likely chance of failure for the structure. Thus it can be said that a strong set of morals are needed for an engineer if they are to avoid catastrophic disasters. However genetic engineering which are unable to avoid the debate over ethics due to its close relation to religion which has left a slowed progress in stem cell research. Stem Cell Research

The ethics of genetic modification and inhumane practices have often come under scrutiny. This is not due to the design of the system but rather the ethical and moral implications that are brought about by them. Stem cell research has been under a lot of scrutiny and genetic engineers have to tread a fine line when exploring ways to further the profit margin in produce. Genetics has always been on the edge of ethics due to its close ties with several religions and moral dilemmas surrounding them. During the 1960s' breakthroughs were made in stem cell research which laid down the foundations for today's research in cloning animals. It was not until 1997 when " Dolly the sheep" was cloned that society fully understood how close engineers were to human cloning. This lead to debates over the moral and ethical implications of stem cells especially in the topics of eugenic selection, psychological suffering of the clone and the use of people as a means to an end.[1] Genetic engineering is to traditional crossbreeding what the nuclear bomb was to the sword. INSEERT REFERENCES This goes directly against natural selection and is considered unethical by most people, and has resulted in a very shunned opinion of genetic engineers. War

[The surplus of basic knowledge of the atomic nucleus was] largely used up [during the war with the atomic bomb as the dividend.] If I would be a young man again and had to decide how to make my living, I would not try to become a scientist or scholar or teacher. I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances.

[W]e have made a thing, a most terrible weapon, that has altered abruptly and profoundly the nature of...

References: Bibliography
[1] Savulescu, J, 1999
[2] The Oxford English Dictionary (2010), 3rd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
[3] Vasudevan Srinivasan and Gary Halada. 2008. Engineering Disasters and Learning from Failure. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 August 12].
Scott, R, 2001
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