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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 
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?
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