This paper is a research revealing ethical issues in business statistics and discussing how my personal values can be applied to them. In order to examine the given question, it seems necessary to dwell on key concepts such as statistics and Christian ethics.
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Statistics is an indispensable element of the information system of a democratic society that serves the government, economics, and the society by means of collections of data about the economic, demographic, social, and environmental situation in any particular case (Sweeney, Williams, and Anderson 4).
Personal data compiled by statistical companies with the aim of the numerical information, regardless of whether they relate to the physical or legal individuals, are to be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes. The basic principle of Christian ethics is love to the fellow, in other words, agape.
After all, Christianity teaches that God is love. Love is not only the central content of the moral teachings of Christ but also a sense of His sacrifice on the cross (Geisler 7). The main primary sources for moral theology is Sacred Scripture and the Christian ethics along with ascetic literature disclosing a Christian approach to understanding the nature of ethics.
It is a well-known fact that achievements of modern science and technology are great. Principally noticeable achievements of scientific and technological progress occurred in the 20th century in almost all fields of science. Unfortunately, not all of these truly great achievements have been used for the benefit of people. In addition, relationships between science and religion were rather difficult throughout the history of humankind.
However, a movement of science, in particular, statistics towards Christianity foreshadowed in recent years (Geertsema 161). Modern science becomes closer to the realization that the conflict between the world of the divine and the real world, or, using philosophical concepts, between materialism and idealism, is far-fetched in favor of some political, social, and economic reasons.
In the case when any of the conflicting parties ebbed arguments in defense of their innocence, they often turned out for support to the authority of science. I would not say that science has always strongly rejected their claims. Unfortunately, scientists have always been ready to serve gratuitously for one of the conflicting parties, or even both, not thinking about the ultimate goal of their activity that is inextricably linked with the highest goal of any reasonable person – the search for truth.
Slowly but surely people come to comprehend that the solution of a number of challenges facing the human community is possible only in the way of close cooperation between science and ethics. Nevertheless, the way this cooperation has not yet found its final form, as there are still different views on this issue, so far they are the subject of debate.
Christianity was the basis on which modern science emerged (Ostapski and Superville par. 2). Firstly, Christianity’s faith and ethics are monotheistic. Belief in one God led people to the expectation of uniformity of nature of things when fundamental laws remain unchanged through time and space.
No doubt that for many years Christianity and science were allies, not opponents. For instance, Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543) laid the foundation of the modern astronomy and prepared conditions for the scientific revolution assuming on the basis of mathematical computing that the Earth moves around the Sun. At the same time, he conducted services in the Polish church as a canon of the Freiburg Cathedral.
Another example is a mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). He was the founder of the contemporary mechanics and experimental physics. Galilei challenged the theory that the Earth is the center of the universe. Pursued by the church, he remained a faithful Catholic and once said that there are two great books: the book of natural – nature and supernatural book – the Bible.
There are also some new models. Let us take into the consideration the so-called “theory of superstring” and its modification, namely “inflationary universe model” that is less known. In developing this model, authors paid attention to not only the theory of relativity but also to the field theory that allows reconstructing the history of the universe and explaining the interaction of particles and bodies in it.
It turned out that the image of the universe has amazing properties that were not previously considered. It was stated that people live in a three-dimensional world. It means, in particular, that they could move back and forth, left and right, and up and down, if, of course, there are no obstacles.
Moreover, any of man’s movement in space could be represented as the sum of the individual displacements. Relativity adds one more, the fourth dimension, but according to the theory of relativity, this dimension is not spatial as it is time-related and exists in a single system (continuum).
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Therefore, it turned out that the universe formed according to the “theory of superstrings” cannot have three dimensions. It generally cannot be less than ten measurements, in other words, there is some super space in which our world is just a fragment of the whole.
In our time, a large number of scientists openly acknowledge themselves Christians. In England, the organization that brings together scientists and Christians has more than 700 members, and in America – more than 7,000 members (Polkinghorne 56). One of the leading scientists of nowadays is Dr. John Polkinghorne, a president of King’s College, Cambridge, a member of the Royal Society.
Prior to his ordination in 1983, John Polkinghorne was a professor of mathematical physics. He wrote: “a Christian could learn science by means of ideas about the structure of the physical world in its historical development as well as gain a clear understanding of religious ethics” (Polkinghorne 87).
Scientific men have the opportunity to learn through religious outlook such a depth understanding of the processes that are impossible to get engaged in only one science. Besides, one might note Christian Machiavelli and his Prince as well, “advice to rulers on how to gain and exercise power in a highly competitive political environment” (Wogaman 110).
Studying the impact of technological progress on human society, the following unpleasant regularity might be noted: as science and technology are coming up, the moral and spiritual level of people decreases significantly and it is possible to talk even about the degradation of the modern society.
It turns out that high-tech, both real and informational, suppresses human morality and its spiritual level. Such a brutal combination of scientific achievements and human crimes along with catastrophes history has never known. The impact of science and technology on the environment might be commensurable with the processes that occur in it.
Sometimes, a researcher pulling away from the outside world might be tempted to step back and lose his moral obligations driven, for example, by personal or political purposes. If the fact occurs, it is usually motivated by the fact that the phenomena of nature cannot be moral or immoral. However, the moral character always plays a considerable role in the society, science, and life of an individual.
In my opinion, the connection concerning statistics and Christian ethics is rather apparent. It goes without saying that any statistical data should be collected and presented in accordance with the moral code. The ethical guideline of Christian ethics itself is the most applicable to me as it affected my decision-making strongly.
The statistician should follow the principles of scientific ethics in order to engage successfully in scientific research. An important principle of the scientific ethics is the requirement of scientific honesty in presenting the results of the study. A scientist may be wrong, but he has no right to falsify the results; he could repeat already made discovery, but has no right to engage in plagiarism.
Since scientific knowledge is carried out in a complex social and cultural context, the ethics of science should take into account a vast array of factors and nuances of the most diverse nature: cognitive, technological, cultural, socio-political, and religious. I consider that the moral compass of human behavior should always be presented regardless of the political, economic situation, or personal purposes.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that ethics played a decisive role in the establishment of the modern science and statistics, in particular. Consequently, it is very significant nowadays as well.
Geertsema, Jan. “A Christian View of the Foundations of Statistics.” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 39.3 (1987): 158-164. Print.
Geisler, Norman L. Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options, New York: Baker Academic, 2010. Print.
Ostapski, Andrew S., and Claude R. Superville. “Ethics and the Statistical Consultant.” Ethics and the Statistical Consultant. n.d. Web. <https://www.westga.edu/~bquest/2001/consultant.htm>.
Polkinghorne, J. C. Science and Religion in Quest of Truth, New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. Print.
Sweeney, Dennis J., Thomas A. Williams, and David R. Anderson. Fundamentals of Business Statistics, Canberra: Cengage Learning., 2012. Print.
Wogaman, J. Philip. Christian Ethics: A Historical Introduction. 2nd ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2011. Print.