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Scientists And Other Researchers Should Focus Their Research On Areas That Are Likely To Benefit The Greatest Number Of People. - With A Free Essay Review





"Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position."

It seems appealing at first glance but actually ambiguous and invalid that scientists should focus their research on those areas which benefit the greatest good. In principle, scientific research should be carried out for the sake of knowledge itself and any basic scientific research can benefit human beings in the long run. To choose what specific subject or area to research depends on each scientist herself. Most scientists or researchers make the decision what to research out of interest, motivated by fame, financial return, intellectual pleasure or simply a sense of accomplishment. As long as scientists find their research fulfilling and meaningful, not against human beings of course, their freedom to choose their research area should be respected. Furthermore, their achievements might inspire themselves or other scientists to invent something of greater practical value to benefit more people at the end of the day. To benefit the greatest number of people is also a utilitarian standard for scientific research which ignores the interests of the minority. It is unfair for the patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease to have less attention from scientists than those who have flu, even though the former group has much less people than the latter. In a word, the decision to research what area should be left to scientists themselves so that everyone else is better off.

First of all, the question whether a research benefits the greatest number of people is hardly to answer. No individual, organization or government can decide and no one can prove and guarantee it will work as planned in the end, lest it bring benefits to the majority. Moreover, in many cases it is simply meaningless to care about the number of the beneficiaries. Any scientific research has its particular scope and it will benefit a certain group of people whose size is constantly changing. When AIDS first emerges, it is the problem of an individual but it turns into a global issue today. Both the results of scientific research and the scope of the problems are unpredictable so that we cannot tell whether a research will benefit the most people at the beginning.

Secondly, the freedom of scientists to choose what area they would like to research should be respected. Scientific research is for the sake of knowledge itself not only in principle but also in practical terms. The unpredictability of science means it could only be furthered by those who are truly motivated and devoted. Each scientist has her own specific academic interest which can fully exercise her talents to the utmost. The longing for knowledge and the thirst for science drive each scientist to make their unique contributions. Psychologist, biologist, historian, mathematician are equally important to us. Even though some of their work seems not useful or practical at the beginning, it may inspire other scientists to make great inventions to bring a great return. For instance, in order to put a man on the moon scientists developed better sound recording and reading technology, which was subsequently applied in the digital music industry to make audio cassettes, greatly increasing the availability of the music and benefiting more people than the Apollo program. To let scientists choose their own field is not only a protection of their rights but also a promotion for their research work.

Finally, the interests of minority group of people should also be valued when scientific research is concerned. From humanitarian perspective, any individual’s right cannot be violated or ignored. Their problems, no matter how limited the scale, deserve the same attention from the scientists. Fortunately, it is true as well in reality. For example, researches focused on some rare diseases like autism are funded by government and especially by some charitable foundations. Admittedly, more common illness like cancer and malaria receive more funds but that doesn’t mean every doctor and scientist is focused on these disease exclusively. To promote the life of every individual is the more rightful mission for every scientist and researcher.

In conclusion, scientists should not focus on the area that can benefit the majority of people, due to the unpredictable nature of science, the freedom of scientists and the humanitarian perspective to protect the minorities. Instead, scientists should have full freedom to choose what they want to research on the premise that they don’t hurt any individual or the human beings as a whole. Government, corporations and other organizations can provide all kinds of incentives to attract scientists to do some certain research but no one can force them to focus on any of those even in the name of benefiting the greatest number of people.

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Essay Review

Your arguments here are reasonable so let's focus on two technical points.

1. Structure. For a short (timed) essay, the introduction is too long; it also doesn't read like an introduction, but rather like a poorly structured (poor in that it deals with more than one topic) body paragraph. For that reason, the phrase "first of all" came as a surprise to me (I thought we were at at the third point, not the first) and subsequent arguments appear a bit repetitive. Introductions for these essays are arguably unnecessary and should in any case be short. Writing a long introduction in which you try to anticipate even the nuances of your basic arguments will likely eat up too much time and so curtail your ability to fully elaborate those arguments.

2. Responding to the prompt. GRE test instructions should be followed rigorously. Your essay does not do this. Your "first" argument is impressive enough but largely irrelevant. The prompt speaks only of "areas that are likely to benefit the greatest number of people," and determining that doesn't require that one "prove and guarantee that [proposed research] will work as planned. I do not think it is necessary or relevant, in any case, to take issue with a presupposition of the prompt, since doing that avoids the main issue to be debated (or, again, reduces the amount of time you can devote to it). One should say "assuming it's possible, what then?" However, I like the argument and the example, so it would be nice to have a way of justifying its inclusion. One could perhaps argue that following the recommendation would sometimes put an additional, onerous burden (the burden of benefit analysis) on scientists.

Generally you tend to focus on developing reasons, which the prompt of course gives you leave to do, but the prompt also demands attention to the discussion of specific circumstances in which following the recommendation would or would not be advantageous. Your essay doesn't devote much attention to that task; your considerations tend to be general rather than specific. The easiest way to ensure that you are doing what you've been asked is to write sentences that adopt the vocabulary of the instructions. Here, for example, once you've identified a specific circumstance to consider, you could write a sentence like the following: "In this specific circumstance, following the recommendation would be disadvantageous because etc."

Best, EJ.

P.S. Please note that we now ask students to submit no more than one essay in a given day.
Submitted by: kentblue
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