Home » Accountability » What are Ethics? Part 9: When the means sacrifice the ends

What are Ethics? Part 9: When the means sacrifice the ends

Dr. John Bates made headlines early this year when he accused his former boss, Thomas Karl of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, of knowingly misrepresenting data to influence government policy on global warming.

Predictably, climate change skeptics railed against the corruption of the scientific community while climate change advocates charged Dr. Bates with exaggerating his claims.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the charges are true.  If so, it’s likely that Dr. Karl was motivated by the purest intentions, that he wanted to spur action to prevent the devastating effects of global warming, and that he believed that the data represented an anomaly rather than a larger global trend.

If all of that were actually true, would he have then been correct to doctor the facts for the greater good?

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