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Koreans and ethics 
22nd-Nov-2005 10:16 pm
Dilbert
The news are currently talking about the case of the Korean clone researchers Hwang Woo Suk and Roh Sung-il. I am asking myself, if Korea is such a Christian country, why don't they have ethical norms forbidding cloning humans and playing around with human embryonic stem cells? In Germany (considered spiritually inferior by Korean missionaries), both is forbidden. It fits into the picture that these researchers not only engage in unethical cloning of humans, but even used unethical means to get the needed human eggs.

I noticed Koreans show deficient ethics in other areas, as well, such as euthanasia:
http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200504/kt2005040117114110220.htm
Or abortions - the reported abortions rates are incredibly high though the real rates are probably much higher:
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ab-southkorea.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12178427&dopt=Abstract
http://www.dhushara.com/book/orsin/rites/korea.htm
Many Koreans seem to condone abortion and silently tolerate it. Even a Korean UBF "missionary" told me that abortion was not a real problem "since the Bible does not say anything about it". Reported cases of forced abortions by UBF leaders including Samuel Lee were simply ignored by the UBF Koreans, it did not seem outrageous or even mentionable to them.

I have the impression that Koreans have difficulties having a sense of "life ethics" or overall "Biblical ethics."

(I'm only talking about the democratic and Christian South Korea, not about North Korea. It makes no sense speaking about ethics in North Korea. I read torture, forced abortions and infanticide are the norm in North Korean prisons.)

I found one article that tries to explain this "ethical defects":
http://www.slate.com/id/2128361/

But I think this explanation is not really sufficient.

(Please do not think I want to bash Koreans. I want to understand them.)
Comments 
23rd-Nov-2005 05:34 am (UTC)
I think this article fairly accurately describes the ethics problem in Korea.

The work culture is not merely relentless, it is also collectivist. In American and European labs, Cibelli says, researchers jockey to test their own hypotheses, run their own experiments, and publish their own papers. At Hwang's lab, scientists take their orders from the top, work ferociously to carry them out, and let the glory fall to the boss. This is likely the product of Korea's Confucian tradition. Confucianism teaches that workplaces should be run as benevolent hierarchies, with younger and junior people obediently taking guidance from seniors. Stem-cell research depends much more on technical proficiency than blue-sky brainstorming. It fits well with a collectivist approach that focuses the entire scientific team on a single goal.

Those underlined parts are very similar to how UBF is run according to Korean work ethics. In this kind of paradigm of work ethics, there cannot be any room for morality. It is mostly about taking orders from the top and ferociously carrying them out. That is the highest morality in such ethical paradigm.

Korea reveres scientists more than we do. Science is trendy in Korea. It attracts the nation's best students. There's no nerd derision. Hwang Woo-suk is a celebrity in a way we can't imagine an American scientist could be. The national law-enforcement agency assigns officers to protect him. Korean Airlines flies him around the world for free. The minister of science and technology ranks at the top of the South Korean Cabinet—as high as the secretary of state or treasury in the United States. While most foreign scientists who study in the United States end up staying there, nearly 90 percent of Korean scientists end up returning home, despite much lower salaries.

I also agree with the article about how blind Korean people can be. They worship science blindly. Koreans think that science should direct them rather than they direct science as is done in America and other nations. This kind of blindness can also be found in UBF. Especially the UBF Koreans think that UBF should direct them rather than they direct UBF. The blind UBF Koreans thought for them to direct UBF when it was run by Mr. Samuel Lee was cardinal sin which amounts to blasphemy. Why this blindness? I don’t have an answer. I often heard my fellow Koreans utter “Dictatorship works better for Korea” not only in Korea but also here in America among the UBF Koreans. It has been my personal opinion for a long time that that kind of ridiculous idea must have been the product of Japanese imperial rule or the product of the ferocious industrialization run by the late dictator Park Jung-Hee.
23rd-Nov-2005 06:13 am (UTC)
if Korea is such a Christian country, why don't they have ethical norms forbidding cloning humans and playing around with human embryonic stem cells? In Germany (considered spiritually inferior by Korean missionaries), both is forbidden.

When I visited Korea a few years ago, I felt like I was in Sodom and Gomorrah. For example, I happened to take my preteen nephew to a computer store to buy him a gift. When I entered the sotre, I had to take him out of the store right away. There were all kinds of pictures, posters, CDs with women's pictures not appropriate for him. I asked him why he wanted to go to that store. He said he and all other kids go there sometimes with their parents to buy games. It was never like that when I was growing up and even at the time when I left Kroea to come here. I think American culture is much more decent than Korean culture now. The divoce rate in Korea is now somewhere at 50% now.

Koeans seem to think that they have become like the people of one of the rich Western countries because the degree of sin they enjoy in Korea measure up to almost that of those rich countries now. Especially Korean young people seem to measure up their wellbeing by comparing the degree and the variety of their enjoyment of sins against how the rich Western countries enjoy their own sins. You can see this by just visiting some of the websites of Korean TV stations or movie theaters. I think American young people have much higher standard of ethics and morality than Korean young people. It is because Korean young people blindly admire the cultures of rich Western countries when American young people do not blindly admire the cultures of rich Western countries. I even read a Korean newspaper article criticizing young Korean college women of rich family who are sleeping with foreign english instructors to learn english from them. Some lawmakers in Korean even talk about making English the officail language and dump the original Korean language. Korea needs more prayer support than any other nations. UBF should pray for Korea to become a holy nation.
4th-Dec-2005 04:07 am (UTC)
A guy I know is also blogging about this here and here.
4th-Dec-2005 08:55 am (UTC)
Interesting. They seem to affirm my observation. I hope one day there will be a revolution of Koreans against this traditional mindset of "end justifies the means" and "truth isn't important, only keeping face is important." I think this is not a problem of Koreans as people, they are just people as everybody else, but a problem of a culture/system/tradition that influences and poisons the minds and undermines morality instead of strengthening it. Just as UBF.

The articles also make clear that it all boils down to "end justifies means" idea. And that's exactly what I have seen in UBF as well. Two quotes:

"We have asked ourselves, Is there any way to achieve the treatment of some incurable diseases without therapeutic cloning? The answer is, It is a scientist's responsibility to do this research because it is for a good purpose."

"They are enraged at the idea that ethical concerns could block scientific advances."

That was the exact mindset of Samuel Lee. Ethical concerns should not block UBF's mission. What counts are only the number of new members and their degree of loyalty. These goals can be achieved with any means.

The problem is not only the "end justifies means" or "success overrules ethics" idea itself. The problem is also that those very people with deficient ethics *define* what has to be considered "good" and "success".

One quote from the scientist in question was also very telling: "I was blinded by work and a drive for achievement," a grim-faced Dr. Hwang told a nationally televised news conference today. "I should have slowed down my pace to make sure that everything was up to global standards. I didn't, and now I find myself in shameful misery."

Note that he was not contrite because he behaved unethically. He was contrite because he "did not meet global standards." If the global standard had been different, he would have seen no problem?
16th-Dec-2005 02:43 am (UTC) - It may be worse...
16th-Dec-2005 09:13 am (UTC) - Re: It may be worse...
I read there were rumours about which had been rebutted. Now it seems they have been true. Let's see whether he admits or not.
16th-Dec-2005 09:20 am (UTC) - Re: It may be worse...
Quote from
http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2005/12/16/200512160039.asp

"The close collaborator of Hwang then confirmed from his subordinate working in the United States that Hwang had instructed him to fabricate photographs for the paper."

So he didn't even fake the images himself, but let his subordinate do it. These peoples are so sure of the loyalty of their subordinates. Subordinates will always do what they are told and never speak about it.

Wasn't it the same in UBF when Samuel Lee ordered a missionary to fake the photos in the UBF newsletter?
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