Friday, June 29, 2007

Truth is closer to fiction than you think

Last night, I was watching the X-files, and saw this episode, where they talk of a govt. conspiracy to run nazi experiments on citizens. Pretty creepy episode I must say, but gave interesting insight on how the X-files started.

Obviously, the story of the episode was fiction, but as usual, I spent some time thinking "what if it was for real?". I guess that is a common side-effect of watching Chris Carter's creation.

It was interesting then to see that B's status link today was pointing to the Tuskegee Study page. As I was shocked to read [from here]:

For forty years, from 1932 to 1972, 399 African-American males were denied treatment for syphilis and deceived by officials of the United States Public Health Service. As part of a study conducted in Macon County, Alabama, poor sharecroppers were told they were being treated for “bad blood.”In fact, the physicians in charge of the study ensured that these men went untreated. In the 25 years since its details first were revealed, the Tuskegee Syphilis study has become a powerful symbol of racism in medicine, ethical misconduct in human research, and goverment abuse of the vulnerable.

NPR has a piece on it here.

This sure gave me the creeps. I wonder if similar stuff happens in India. [yes, I know about this post, but do we also have stuff sponsored by the govt?]

still shocked,


  1. Anonymous4:48 AM


    shows that abuse of the (mostly poor and uninformed) public is carried out by those in power, while


    describes why the brakes are put on trials but for better reasons.


  2. This study is the most important case study for any and all social research classes (undergrad or grad) because it clearly illustrates the repercussions of the violation of ethics of research.

    I remember reading this study and the Obedience Study conducted in Germany as part of my first social research class. In fact, this was the first thing our prof discussed in class, Ethics in Research.

  3. I don't know if this even has to do with ethics rather than the true abuse of power and utter lack of regard for someone else's life. A man in teh study lived until 1997 and for his troubles was given 35,000 AFTER complaining to the government. As a reparation for absolute false hope and exploitation he was given what many people in a low end job make in a year. What I hope people will take away is to not blindly trust, to realize the government is not benign or always thinking of its citizens, and to always exercise our power carefully

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