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Obedience and Ethics [electronic resource]: Benefits and Costs of Psychological Conformity Studies

Psychological experiments have shown that the natural human desire to conform can lead people to mistrust their own experiences, turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, and even inflict harm on the defenseless. But these findings have come at a price: the potential emotional damage of those being studied. This three-section program grapples with some of the thorny ethical issues arising from psychological research into obedience and conformity as it questions the ethicality of Stanley Milgram's Study of Obedience; uses a proposed student project on bullying to address the need for ethical constraints when conducting experiments; and weighs the benefits and costs of increased ethical regulation of research.
2009; 2001

Stem Cells [electronic resource]: Ethical Issues

Providing a balanced look at a highly contentious issue, this program takes viewers inside the scientific, religious, and philosophical debate over embryonic stem cell research. Divergent opinions and perspectives are presented by respected researchers, thinkers, and stakeholders-including renowned Australian geneticist Dr. Alan Trounson; Father Norman Ford, a prominent ethics commentator and opponent of embryonic stem cell research; and patients with life-threatening medical conditions that stem cell innovations could potentially treat or cure. Each speaker identifies core principles and calmly articulates the reasons for his or her views.
2009; 2006

The Bitter Taste of Tea [electronic resource]: Journey Into the World of Fair Trade

This program travels to tea estates in Sri Lanka, Kenya, India, and Bangladesh-some traditional, some fair trade-to expose unsafe work environments and labor exploitation. Finding little meaningful difference between fair trade and non-fair trade operations, questions arise: Are fair trade organizations such as the E.U.'s Max Havelaar Foundation being duped by tea growers? Or are growers doing the best they can in a brutal industry and a market that has yet to demand the quantities of fair trade tea that would create meaningful trickle-down profits for their workers? It is left to the viewer to weigh the arguments and decide.
2009; 2008

The Ghosts of My Lai [electronic resource]

On March 16, 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, American soldiers killed 504 unarmed civilians in the village of My Lai. After a brief overview of the war and the home front backlash against it, this program seeks to understand the massacre and its aftermath through the interwoven narratives of three U.S. soldiers-radioman Fred Widmer, helicopter crewman Larry Colburn, and photographer Ron Haeberle-who were present on that horrific day. The first participated in the slaughter; the second intervened in it; and the third revealed it to the world. In a Pittsburgh classroom and in present-day My Lai, these deeply scarred veterans tell their unforgettable stories with candor, grief, and insight.
2009; 2008

Democracy Isn't for Everyone [electronic resource]: Debate

Is it reasonable to expect the entire world to adopt democratic ways, or is it wrong to press other countries to embrace a system that-however beneficial it may, in theory, be-is completely at odds with their cultures and traditions? The motion under consideration in this Oxford Union-style debate is "Democracy isn't for everyone." Panelists in favor stress that true democracy is more than merely the holding of elections and therefore must evolve organically out of a society's circumstances, while those against argue that to say democracy isn't for everyone is tantamount to saying that democracy, for some, can never be-a proposition rejected because whatever some people can achieve, all are humanly capable of achieving. Questions from the floor follow. The final vote? Marginally agai [...]
2009; 2007

The Hunt for Our Thoughts [electronic resource]

Who should have access to our thoughts, and to what degree? This program presents some of the current scientific research on the thought processes of the human brain, with special attention paid to its clinical applications and its ethical implications. German philosophers Thomas Metzinger and John-Dylan Haynes explain neuroethics, or the social, legal, and ethical repercussions of brain research. In addition, research scientists, such as Harvard professor Alvaro Pascual-Leone, demonstrate how their virtual reality programs, powered by computers and the human brain, can improve the lives of stroke patients and people with paraplegia.
2009; 2008

CyberEthics [electronic resource]

Most people learn traditional standards of behavior and respect for others by the time they are teenagers-but many don't realize that those rules are just as valid in cyberspace. This program helps students take the high road on the information superhighway and avoid the temptations of the fast lane, pointing the way toward an ethically sound Internet presence and lifestyle. Guidelines for the use of intellectual property are featured, with emphasis on the consequences of illegal downloading, copyright infringement, and plagiarism. Pornography, gaming sites, chat rooms, and online social networks are also discussed, helping viewers steer clear of antisocial and abusive activities, especially cyber-bullying. Comments from experts, as well as questions from peers who are confused about [...]
2007; 2008

Death of a Wonder Drug [electronic resource]: Vioxx Recall

On September 30, 2004, pharmaceutical giant Merck voluntarily withdrew its popular painkiller Vioxx after it was linked to increased risks of heart attack and stroke. Was Merck's move driven by genuine concern for patients? Or, given findings from earlier studies, was the recall a self-protective move that came too late? This CNBC investigation takes viewers through the process by which one of Big Pharma's most widely prescribed products was tested, approved, and marketed-at the expense, many say, of thousands of consumers. Several medical experts provide commentary, in addition to FDA whistle-blower David Graham, who has cited numerous faults in the government's handling of Vioxx testing.
2008; 2004

The Big Lie [electronic resource]: Inside the Rise and Fraud of WorldCom

Beginning as a theoretical calculation, WorldCom's projection for business growth soon became corporate strategy and eventually a model for the entire telecommunications industry. Unfortunately, it was completely unfounded. This CNBC news documentary exposed the extent of the WorldCom fraud and the smoke-and-mirrors behavior that prevailed not only at WorldCom but throughout the industry as a whole. Viewers will gain insight into the actions, decisions, and deception of several key participants, including the then-chairmen of AT&T and Sprint as well as the WorldCom capacity planner who constructed the growth model.
2008; 2005

Nice Guys Finish First [electronic resource]: Game Theory and the Quest for Mutual Cooperation

The Selfish Gene is frequently misread as a biological justification for ruthless behavior. In this classic program, author Richard Dawkins sets the record straight through an exploration of selfishness and enlightened self-interest built upon evidence from the Prisoner's Dilemma game and real-world non-zero-sum social situations. "The tragedy of the commons," symbiotic behavior among animals, benign cooperation between stalemated armies during the First World War, and Robert Axelrod's findings from his landmark Prisoner's Dilemma computer program tournament are considered. Also, footage of a simple Prisoner's Dilemma experiment being conducted is included.
2008; 1986

Right and Wrong [electronic resource]: Moral Development in Children

Do most people get their values from their parents or from society at large? At what age, and with what tools, do children begin to work out what is right and wrong? Can young children distinguish between actions that are morally deviant and those that simply violate a social convention? This program explores those questions by observing a group of 25 six-year-olds and the varying levels of honesty and compassion they display. Confronted with simple yet specific tests-gauging their willingness to lie, cheat, and even destroy a photograph they are told is sentimentally valuable-each child exhibits a unique sense of what is good and correct. Equally revealing are the program's comparisons between childhood and adult idealism.
2008; 2006

Confronting Discrimination and Prejudice [electronic resource]

Encourage students to explore biases and stereotypes with this group of ABC News segments. Each scenario puts actors into exchanges with unwitting bystanders, generating a wide range of responses-from overt hostility towards other races and cultures to acts of genuine compassion. Scenes include a bakery clerk's refusal to serve a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf; cruelty towards an overweight woman seated on a boardwalk; a very public argument that threatens to become violent; and a purse-snatching in a crowded square, after which witnesses are asked to view a suspect lineup. Repeating the two latter situations, producers achieve varying reactions among onlookers by switching the races of the actors.

Standing Up as a Citizen [electronic resource]

Spark class discussion on civic responsibility with this compilation of ABC News segments. Each scenario involves onlookers who-unaware that they are observing actors in staged situations-exhibit a variety of responses, from complacency to outrage. Scenes include flagrant littering at a seaside resort; displays of hypocrisy when the chance to be a Good Samaritan arises; illegal use of a disabled-only spot, even as a truly deserving driver attempts to park there; and another parking-space dispute, this one concerning severe damage to surrounding cars and an offending driver who doesn't care. Viewers will find several opportunities to explore the meaning of good citizenship and the importance of community involvement.

Opposing Aggression and Bullying [electronic resource]

Initiate lectures and class dialogue with this cluster of ABC News segments on violence, aggressive behavior, and crime. In each scenario, actors draw unassuming spectators into tense and often disturbing situations-with a broad spectrum of results. Scenes include intense verbal bullying by three teen girls against one in a very public setting; a racially loaded incident in which three teenagers vandalize an automobile in broad daylight; the theft of a wallet in a crowded restaurant while some onlookers apparently couldn't care less; and an occurrence of the shocking nationwide phenomenon known as bum-bashing, in which a homeless person is attacked for no apparent reason. Each scene is designed to provoke both introspection and group debate.

Albert Camus, Journalist [electronic resource]

Far from embracing the existentialism he is often associated with, Albert Camus was a social activist and staunch believer in the positive potential of the human race. In this program excerpts from private film archives and a variety of interviews document Camus' career as a journalist concerned with social justice. From his early years in Algeria writing about poverty and oppression to the underground newspaper he edited for the French Resistance, the video reveals how Camus' journalism informed the themes and style of The Stranger, The Plague, and The Myth of Sisyphus.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Paul Zak, Trust, Morality, and Oxytocin

What drives the desire to behave morally? In this TEDTalk, neuroeconomist Paul Zak discusses why he believes oxytocin - he calls it "the moral molecule" - is responsible for trust, empathy, and other feelings that help build a stable society. A pioneer in the field of neuroeconomics, Zak seeks to understand how the hormone promotes social bonding, and shares with the audience the unorthodox experiments he has conducted to test his theories.

God on Trial [electronic resource]

For more than a millennium Western civilization looked to the Church for answers to questions about life's meaning. But for many, acceptance of ecclesiastical doctrine wasn't enough. This program traces the roots of modern religious skepticism back over 400 years to examine both the unraveling and the endurance of Christian belief. It explores challenges to established theologies in the ideas of Spinoza, Newton, and Voltaire and in the ideals of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the Victorian era and considers erosion of faith in the 20th century caused by the impact of World War I and political totalitarianism. The video goes to Auschwitz, the Vatican, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields to consider how the Holocaust, the Second Vatican Council, and late-20th-century social cha [...]

Great Thinkers [electronic resource]: The Grand Experiment

The image of "the intellectual" as a person unaware of mundane reality changed with the advent of broadcasting, which turned deep thinkers into celebrities, experts at using the media to transmit their views. From experimental thought inspired by two world wars to the youth rebellions of the 1960s, this program presents historic footage of the political and economic theorists who helped mold 20th-century Britain. Bertrand Russell reveals what turned him from philosophy to politics, William Beveridge explains his stance on the welfare state, Milton Friedman defends monetarism, and Germaine Greer defines key concepts of the Women's Liberation Movement. Also featured are J. M. Keynes, Isaiah Berlin, Herbert Marcuse, Tariq Ali, Ralph Miliband, Selma James, Keith Joseph, and Francis Fukuyama.

Great Thinkers [electronic resource]: Culture Wars

Once characterized by classical music, ballet, and Renaissance paintings, "culture" was associated with audiences who were "refined," meaning educated and wealthy. The development of broadcasting blew this notion apart, giving social critics a voice and delivering their ideas into the living rooms of rich and poor alike. Beginning with the founding of the BBC and its mission to expose people to the fine arts, through to the mavericks who legitimized the sensibilities of the working class, to the 1960s' shockingly informal approach to the arts, this program uses vintage footage to track the changing definition of culture over the course of the 20th century. Features John Reith, Raymond Williams, F. R. Leavis, C. P. Snow, Richard Hoggart, John Berger, Marshall McLuhan, Susan Sontag, C. [...]

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Harvey Fineberg, Are We Ready for the Neo-Evolution?

In this TEDTalk, medical ethicist Harvey Fineberg shows us three options for the ever-evolving human species: to evolve naturally, to stop evolving completely - or to control the next steps of human evolution, using genetic modification, to make ourselves smarter, faster, better. Neo-evolution is within our grasp. What will we do with it? Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine and former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health.