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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.
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