Science in ethics, and ethics in science: What can science tell us about ethical issues in sports?

What do a bat, a philosopher, a chemist, and a psychologist all have in common? They were all panelists at the first of the Fall 2017 Science and Technology in Society Panel Discussion Series: Ethics in Science, and Science in Ethics. Our panelists shared their expertise about how science can help us understand ethical issues in sports.

Chemist Janusz Pawliszyn talked about detecting doping. Dr. Pawliszyn has developed a sampling method that revolutionized drug testing. His method is even used in the Olympics.

Ethicist Mathieu Doucet, of the Waterloo Philosophy department, demonstrated that science can reveal ethical problems in sports, can complicate ethical issues we thought we had solved, & that science in sports itself can be an ethical issue. Science can give athletes a competitive advantage and science is expensive. Surely the best cyclists, not the cyclists whose team can afford the best bikes, should be the ones who win the races.

Psychologist Steven Mock from the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies rounded out our panel presenting his research on how sports can increase the well-being of LGBT athletes. He discussed some of the stresses LGBT-identified folks often face when they participate in organized team sports, and how LGBT-focused sports groups can help mitigate some of these stresses.

Just in time for Halloween, the bat crashed the party. Although it didn’t have much to say, it demonstrated athletic prowess when it swooped out from behind the lectern, flew right down the centre of the room, then disappeared out into the hallway in the middle of Doucet’s remarks. Doucet, with a steely nerve, simply continued with his presentation.

We enjoyed a great discussion, good food, and a full house. There were even prizes. Many thanks to the panelists and the audience for a fun afternoon.

Please join us for the next Ethics in Science, and Science in Ethics discussion about how we can use scientific research to diversity our engineering workforce. This event will feature remarks by Dr. Carla Fehr (Philosophy), Dr. Hilary Bergsieker (Psychology), & Dr. Mihaela Vlasea (Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering) and will take place on November 3rd, from 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm in Arts Lecture (AL) room 211.



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