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Shelleys Counsel At the heart of mankind there are certain rules by which society runs These timeless laws or ethics cross cultural bounds in order to preserve lifes order and maintain a righteous standard For example almost all societies agree that it is immoral to kill another human being outside of self-defense Christine Menefree of the School Library Journal defines ethics as the moral principles by which a person is guided 1 Many people develop their moral beliefs from their religious premises but when applied to other influential aspects of life these rules can become problematic In the pursuit of knowledge in todays scientific world there are many encounters of moral dilemmas and ethical debates Although this seems like common knowledge there was a time when scientific ethics were undefined Certainly the philosophers of Galileos time did not concern themselves with the way that moral principles affected their research of the stars and cosmos But during the early nineteenth century as scientists began making discoveries in chemistry physics and biology many people began to wonder just where the ethical line should be drawn Mary Shelley wrote during this time of social and scientific upheaval Scientists like Erasmus Darwin and Humphrey Davy were making constant improvements in the field Davys comment on the surge of this new discipline and the controversial development of Galvanism reveals that the surge of science has made way for the possible recreation of life The dim and uncertain twilight of discovery which gave to objects false or indefinite appearances has been succeeded by the steady light of truth which has shown the external world in its distinct forms and in its true relations to human powers The composition of the atmosphere and the properties of the gases have been ascertained the phenomena of electricity have been developed the lightnings have been taken from the clouds and lastly a new influence has been discovered which has enabled man to produce from combinations
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