What are some areas that science has a blind spot in because they're too unethical to research and why?

  1. Any sort of life-altering experiments that can be done on infants or small children. Like how depriving them of certain things can affect their development. I know they've been done before but doing them now would be too controversial.

  2. This is why the case of Genie was so groundbreaking for the Linguistics world. Its a terrible story of abuse where this child was deprived from any sort of human contact during her first 13 years of her life by her father. She was never exposed to language and was never able to catch up, and this brought very important insight into language acquisition.

  3. I forget their names but there were three boys, triplets, who were given to three separate families at birth and they grew up and reconnected starting with two of the boys who happened to attend the same college. The reconnection of the two boys generated so much conversation that the third boy also ended up reconnecting with the first two. They weren’t certain at first but after digging the three boys confirmed they were triplets separated at birth; not just three teenagers who looked a lot alike.

  4. Sometimes they still won’t have things tested on women of childbearing age (not pregnant, just at an age when they could become pregnant).

  5. Alot of studies about parental neglect are not developed because you obviously cant just take kids away from their parents and neglect them. So they can only study the rare few cases where you find a child that was already abused. Such as the case with a girl named Genie who was locked in a basement for her entire childhood with no interaction with people. They studied her to see the effects of the neglect and also if you could learn language after the age of 5 where science believes it is impossible to learn speech after that point. Also there were a few cases of feral children apparently raised by animals without human contact that were studied but that is about it.

  6. In medieval Germany, a cruel emperor named Friedrich took three baby boys without parents and locked them in a tower to see how they'd develop almost without any human interaction. They were being breastfed by nuns, but they wouldn't say a single word to them. The babies died very soon after.

  7. I think we should take some volunteers and a ton of steroids to a private island or a boat in international waters and try and make a real life hulk. Maybe bring some green body paint for effect

  8. Tbh I found people who were hot heads before they took them, were even hotter heads when they were taking them. People who were naturally chilled could take even the supposed nasty stuff and never loose their cool.

  9. In my early 20's I was into power lifting I knew a few dozen people who were or had taken steroids and myself have taken steroids and HGH. None of us have experienced it and none had even heard of anyone else having it, several of us talked about it and other than hearing 3rd hand stories about friend of a friend of a friend type stuff could never put a name to it.

  10. Another issue is telamere [spell check] shortening which reduces the clones lifespan to the time when your DNA was sampled. Hypothetically if you took DNA from birth we could clone healthy people once we get the science down pat.

  11. Cloning isn't such a big deal anyway. It isn't very practical, because many embryos won't develop. There are way easier methods to reproduce, and the peculiarities of getting a genetic copy aren't even a big deal. As identical twins prove, sharing DNA doesn't mean they are the same, not that any sane person would want to prioritise that.

  12. The exact amount of alcohol (or other drugs) that can be consumed during pregnancy without causing birth defects or developmental delays. Because to get a real result you would have to test thousands of pregnancies and would end up with a bunch of kids that need extra care, also finding willing subjects that are reliable would be impossible

  13. I recall reading somewhere that timing is just as important as quantity. A little alcohol at the wrong time can apparently do disproportionate damage.

  14. This was the first thing I thought of. So many medications are considered not safe but we really just don't know so doctors err on the side of caution. As for food, I think some of those are slowly going away, which is nice. Just had my second baby and the list of "no" foods was significantly smaller: basically high mercury content fish, like tuna, and cold lunch meat were a solid no.

  15. I was having a similar conversation with my sister in law, who was pregnant last year. But about foods you're supposed to limit or not eat while pregnant. Apparently a lot of the recommendations are basically guesses formed by piecing together anecdotal information.

  16. Not to mention its much more intricate than noting how much it takes to develop birth defects. We know there has been links to various mental/behavioral disorders. Not to mention even a little bit of EtOH causes markedly lower IQ’s in the population. Its so nuanced that its too complicated to study. You’d have to lower the IQ’s of a fairly large population just to find out how much it takes to cause defects.

  17. This is where a passive observational experiment can be used . You find subjects who, without any prompting are already drinking a certain amount and no amount of prompting can convince them to stop .

  18. This is a big problem when it comes to beneficial drugs. Science doesn't know the effect of so many drugs on pregnancy, even common drugs. Like stomach medications, allergy medications, blood-pressure medications, antidepressants... There are loads of drugs where they just don't know if it's safe for a woman to take them and feel OK or if that relief will damage the baby.

  19. Upon further reading I have learnt that scientists also know very little about the female orgasm, but I suspect different reasons.

  20. Well we kinda have an answer to why this happens. The muscles in the human body are much stronger than you realize, your arms and legs could splinter the bones within them just by flexing, in theory. But we as humans have limiters put in place to prevent ourselves from injuring ourselves, however the ful potential is still there just locked away. Adrenaline is the key, it's generated during stressful periods and unlocks some of that strength to allow us to deal with a danger that is greater than ourselves hurting ourselves

  21. Apparently research for aids and cancer are largely behind due to facilities not being able to experiment with groups of humans over time. (Rats and monkeys aren't cutting it)

  22. Is there a shortage of terminally ill cancer patients? Shit I feel like trying experimental drugs would be on the top of my list if I were terminally ill

  23. Freezing people and reanimating them later has merit (we already know,how to freeze people safely, it's thawing them safely that's the problem) but it is illegal to test, even with permission from volunteers.

  24. Do we know how to freeze people safely? I always thought that freezing a person would cause untold damage to veins/arteries because of crystallization of the blood that basically just ruptures everything and causes irreversible damage. I don't keep up on this stuff though, so I'm interested.

  25. Yeah I’d imagine that volunteers for this sort of thing are those who are looking for some sort of immortality or “time travel”. I think it would be wrong to entertain the idea that such an experiment can extend their life

  26. Was he happy afterwards? Not having seizures but also not remembering things. Sounds like an awesome docu series

  27. Just how much society impacts people. It's horribly unethical and damn near impossible to raise a child without any society at all.

  28. the full extent of childhood development studies. there was so much studying done on young children, especially identical and fraternal twins that stopped in the 60s due to ethics, but the discoveries are the whole basis of developmental psychology. whole units in my studying (i’m a psych major) have been boatloads of info that started with clauses like “we could never ethically replicate this study or try to add onto it”. so many questions that would be answered by testing and analyzing children, but children are basically off limits in studying due to ethics

  29. Updated Resuscitation/Rescue strategies for Hypothermia or Hypoxia. The information used today regarding hypothermia and hypoxia is derived from inhuman and utterly cruel human experiments by the nazis who most often didn't care whether the victim lived through the experiment or not (and most often preferred they didn't so they could be dissected for information.

  30. Some of our medical knowledge on how the body deals with extreme conditions (e.g. hypothermia) is AFAIK actually derived from Nazi experiments. They did a lot of nasty shit (no shit) but documented it very carefully. When the concentration camps were liberated, they found all the information. In the end they decided that while the information was obtained in a highly unethical manner (to put it mildly), it could be useful to further medical knowledge and possibly help others, so it is now used. However, the knowledge is never really expanded because that would have to involve further unethical experiments.

  31. Although the vast, vast majority of it was completely useless because the "research" such as it was was pointless shit like "what happens when you fill 100 12yo girls' privates w/ cement" (answer: THEY DIE!).

  32. Can human babies create language on their own. Raise a bunch of babies but don't talk to them. Don't communicate in any hand or facial gestures either. See in 10 years, whether these babies develop any kind of language or communication methods.

  33. Twins make their own language when they are babies but I think they forget how to talk in it when they grow up.

  34. Twins routinely develop their own languages, so I think this would obviously work just fine...but would be completely useless from a scientific perspective. Unless we're trying to prove innate genetic superiority to monkeys? Pretty sure we answered that question by trying to raise them as humans and failing.

  35. I believe this was done as an experiment during the enlightenment age. There is actually a whole wikipedia article on similar experiments being done -

  36. Isn’t this more a limit of technology than ethics? The major issues right now is re attaching the spine/nerves

  37. I can’t imagine the shitshow that would ensue over debate whether transgender folks or physically disabled folks would have priority over a new host body.

  38. We can assume the results would be psychologically devastating. There’s research on people who have had limb or face transplants and it’s......not great.

  39. i mean we really have answers to this. so many olympic competitors and professional athletes across the world. the ones that didnt burn out or have sufficiently limiting negative effects beat everyone else. most of the athletes who have used these type of drugs successfully at the highest level were probably toeing the line with the physiological limits. we know nothing is magically gonna give us capabilities of a cheetah or a gazzelle or a chimp. drugs can't change fundamental biology like that.

  40. I think if they're consenting adults who are well aware of the risks and are checked on constantly to make sure they're okay mentally and physically, I don't really think that's all to unethical.

  41. Diet. Diet research is so hard not necessarily because it's unethical but because it is too expensive and onerous on the subjects to do any kind of good science that would allow a researcher to make a causal claim. The best science can do this but the overwhelming majority of diet research is based on asking people what they eat and correlating it with outcomes. And with the influence of corporate funding on diet research it's only getting worse.

  42. What really happens to a living human body in the vacuum of space. We can only theorize because no one wants to go up in space and be thrown out just to die just to we what happens

  43. There's an excessive study on it done for the sake of high altitude pilots. In general, you have ten seconds of being conscious then you drop down due to oxygen deprivation. There are documented cases of people having their suits ruptured in low pressure environments, I recall one in the vacuum chamber on land, and another, I think, was a stratosphere balloon pilot.

  44. Actual stem cell from umbilical cord of fetuses. When they first started researching about it, it immediately attracted controversy and put a stop on it. It was showing promising outcomes. They still harvest it but on a more “ethical” way but not as promising.

  45. Didn't they recently discover within the past few years that stem cells can be harvested from teeth?

  46. Isn’t there a certain country that has no such moral compass to try these thing? The ‘Make and appointment and get your organ transplant in 2-weeks’ place?

  47. I almost guarantee that there are experiments being carried out by governments and scientists that are completely unethical.

  48. Psychology studies are all super boring and less insightful than they used to be. Back in the 60s and 70s we were having people beat each other to test the influence of power and now it feels like all surveys.

  49. They've also gotten much more competently structured, though, particularly when it comes to formatting research to get statistical proof. A lot of the older stuff it just kind of throwing rocks at five or six people and making up wild theories about why they reacted like they did.

  50. I mean i heard a lot of the old classic psych studies have been found to not be reproducible anyway.

  51. Reverse engineering birds to create dinosaurs. One guy did it with a chicken embryo and it had a alligator like snout in the x ray. He said he didn’t hatch it

  52. I think you underestimate the rules and oversight in labs or overestimate the amount of rich scientists who are actually scientists.

  53. Drugs used in resuscitation We can’t study if giving adrenaline help bring back a person who has died because you can’t have a control and test group. We still give it but have no idea if it actually works or to what degree

  54. Neural cybernetics is rather stuck. Sure, Elon Musk is working on Neural Net and some other companies on similar things, but ethically speaking it's rather taboo to experimentally implant electronics into live human brains to test them. Or wherever for that matter. If there's a small ciruit board malfunction or physical injury, the subject is at andignificantly higher chance of dying.

  55. Go even further and figure out why people can hear and see things in 3rd perspective when their brain has ceased to have any activity. They may even see dead relatives, something strangely my grandma has witnessed, stating she saw her son and husband perfectly, as if they were standing right next to her. This was nothing common that she has ever said before in her life. She did pass away a few days later.

  56. There's loads of cases where it would be unethical to the study participants themselves, but there's also larger issues where the experiment itself might not be unethical, but the social climate doesn't support the research. Research into new methods for nuclear power, for instance, is only recently coming out of the dark room after being nearly impossible to get funding for for several decades.

  57. This one irks me so much. There is so much potential for treatments to save lives, organ replacement, gene therapy, etc. But anytime we get close to a break through or more funding is proposed the hyper-religious-hypocritical assholes come out of the woodworks and try to shut it down.

  58. Almost anything to do with pregnant women, because of the fetuses. AIUI, pregnant women are more chemically different from non-pregnant women than non-pregnant women are from men. But we can't really do a lot of testing...

  59. This is why nazis performed unethical experiments on the jews they imprisoned in concentration camps such as tests on the cold tolerance limit of humans and what is the best way to make them recover from it and even more painful ones like how much weight does it take to hit a human on the head for that person to pass out/die But obviously this is a extremely grusome and disturbing thing to do to a human And because of this many thousands of people died

  60. Which makes me think how much will the scientific understanding go forward when we inevitably find the findings of the Chinese experiments on Uyghurs in their concentration camps.

  61. Eugenics. Regimes have dabbled but never truly committed to making a superior man through forced sterilization and assigned breeding pairs.

  62. Its hard to commit to eugenics when the subject has the same life span as you. Can study it with bacteria though

  63. The problem with eugenics is that it just doesnt work down the line. If you only allow a small amount of people to reproduce you’re gonna be getting quite a bit of incest. If you kill/sterilize all incest babies, the population will die out. If you dont, they’ll reproduce with your “superhumans” and fuck up the gene pool

  64. I'd point to pure-bred dogs as a great example of why eugenics doesn't work, and how it causes terrible side effects that ultimately make the subject weaker than a genetically diverse population.

  65. Fun fact there are already numerous cool books and manuals on this in existence, thanks in part to a thriving cannibal community that exists to this day

  66. Kind of similar: sexual orientation in environments entirely controlled for sex distribution. Like a pocket community consisting of only males and male imagery - would most/all newly born males grow up to be sexually attracted to men? And what would happen if you turn later introduced them to women?

  67. There's a sizable gap in our understanding of the psychology, prevalence, behavior, and possible diagnosis/treatment of pedophilia

  68. Child sexual offenders and pedophilia and whether they can be rehabilitated. The reason why it’s not well understood is because even if the person hasn’t offended, mandatory reporting laws make it really hard to work with it.

  69. It’s something I’ve always pondered about many a times, but forced de-evolution and/or forced evolution. Obviously both things would require so many generations to even see any possible changes. I even pondered about like forced evolution on a species like ants since they’re easy to keep, and a lifespan is about a few months for an average worker. However the hardest part of the challenge is the queen ant which can live for decades. One would have to find a species with a short life span to see many many generations to see if changes are capable and if they’re capable of being forced by outside manipulation

  70. Did this in high school with fruit flies, actually! We would selectively breed them for certain traits and see the relative numbers of certain traits shifts with every few generations. Not quite evolution but on a mini-scale it was super cool.

  71. What you're calling "forced evolution" is called "breeding" and we've been doing it to other organisms for millennia.

  72. We humans do this in what is called domestication for agricultural purposes, making the cow from wild bovine, making corn from this hard little grain. A broader definition is selective breeding, which is why dog breeds have changed so much over the decades and are so varied. We even have some accidental human examples from people living in isolation or from small populations that grew large suddenly. So we know it's possible, but ethical boundaries of creating, say, a super human by selecting desirable traits and breeding these traits into people while deliberately eliminating undesirable traits is definitely not cool, though some have attempted in the past through various eugenics experiments and societal level "ethnic cleansing" genocides.

  73. I mean, that's what we did with dogs. Pugs are definitely "de-evolved" because we bred them for cuteness at the cost of their health.

  74. Technically it has been done but obviously they only did it with animals and they kept it predator with predator and prey with prey cause ofc the predator could end up killing and eating the prey before they even mate!

  75. It has to be small enough to exert a lot of pressure, tall enough to press deep into the sole and sturdy enough to not break or bend. I would guess it is is the simple 1x1 brick.

  76. This may be more common, but c-sections and trying to make them healthier. Generally everything involving the health of babies doesn't get experimented on too much so there isn't much progress. Many women just get told they should feel bad if they want or get a cesarian because it's unnatural and studies show that kids born from it are more likely to have diabetes or allergies, but instead of working on it, they just accept the "normal" way which is already pretty bad for mothers, like births are exhausting, and don't put enough research into perfecting alternatives. Some say that the stress from birth or vaginal bacteria is what's giving the inmune system of babies an early boost so there's studies on smearing it on their face, but honestly, there's still not a lot of progress and acceptance of alternative births.

  77. South Korean scientists are trying revive the wooly mammoth by splicing frozen mammoth tissue with elaphant genes. Even if they managed to make it live,it probably wouldn't last the day,even if it doesn't die immediately,it would be depressed as fuck because good luck making two or three more without fail. That's assuming it works at all,and even if it did, what purpose would that serve?

  78. Anyone else come here expecting skynet type shit from the terminator and get let down by the baby comments..

  79. A lot of pain research like possible in vivo studies into the biochemistry behind pain and pain transmission is considered unethical even if performed on non-human animals. It could be valuable for developing drugs, etc. but should not be performed.

  80. Stem cell research has been deemed unethical and fought against for years. It's made advancements but they have been slow due to push back from anti-abortion crowds claiming scientists are experimenting on unborn babies and limiting government funding.

  81. I feel like throwing a creature/human into a black hole would be up there but with no black holes relatively close by for us to even reach, getting to a black hole is a larger hurdle than ethics as of now.

  82. All kinds of stuff pregnancy-related. I heard one scientific complaining one time because fake news say stuff like "pregnancy vitamins are not probed to work", and she said that it's true that while some of those prescriptions are not tested following the same procedures that other medicines (you have to be really careful so you don't end up hurting the fetus, and it would be as unethical to try stuff you think would hurt the baby as not recommend those medicines to pregnant women if you are as sure as you can be that they are safe), they are still as tested as they can ethically be. In the end is like those guys saying that "gravity is just a theory", that it's true but, come on!

  83. Anything that smacks of Eugenics. I remember when we had our first kid and the expensive formula announced it had specific ingredients "proven to increase brain development". Well if we could really make changes to improve human intelligence, broadly, wouldn't that be a good thing? Having billions of people be just a hair smarter could have huge implications. But that starts to get into Eugenics and everyone stays far away from it.

  84. Not necessarily because they're unethical, but hallucinogens are super under studied because they're controlled substances. Only recently researchers have been allowed to study their effects and possible uses for treatment.

  85. I know that a researcher at my university applied for permission to create a super virus which would've been deadlier than the Spanish flu so that they could research it and begin developing a cure and treatment in the event that such a disease ever appeared. They didn't get permission, however, because there was too big of a risk that the virus would accidentally be released.

  86. Baby regeneration. There is some proof, that infants can regenerate parts of fingers, like lizards and axolotls. But can we test it? No...

  87. I always think about researching the connection between anger, violence and video games when it comes to unethical science. My teacher in a video game/ethics class talked about this and I can't remember exactly why it would be unethical, but I'm guessing it's something to do with purposefully putting certain children in bad environments and such.

  88. What happens if I just start pulling out Dna? Or maybe switching it around and waiting seven years for when all the cels in the body are replaced

  89. Sleep deprivation studies, at a certain point they become too hazardous to the health of participants to continue and are discontinued.

  90. The (mine)field of tax evasion, secret taxation deals and subsidies using tax dollars for multinational corporations because freedom of information and transparency is not tolerated in this field. The taxpayers have to settle with a scandal once in a while (panama gate) which simmers out of the limelight as quick as they came.

  91. There are lots of things we could discover in medicine and psychology if we didn't care about the harm inflicted on test subjects.

  92. They do this with fish pretty often. A common hybrid animal you could probably think of is the mule.

  93. Hey! I just took a genetics/evolution class at my uni, so I can explain why this does/doesn’t work in certain cases.

  94. Heritability of traits like intelligence and criminality across the various human populations. Pretty much all of evo-psych is dismissed because it contradicts the blank slate fallacy of sociology.

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