- Science is a Moral and Ethical Undertaking
It is worth noting that science is a moral and ethical undertaking. Science-fact and -fiction writer Isaac Asimov pointed out in an interview with Bill Moyers, “There is a morality in science that is further advanced than anywhere else. If you can find a person in science, and it happens—scientists are only human—who has faked his results, who has lied as far as his findings are concerned, who is trying to steal the work of another, who has done something scientists consider unethical, his scientific reputation is ruined, his scientific life is over, and there is no forgiveness.” Most scientists, fortunately, are honest. Mr. Asimov pointed out that in 1900, three scientists—Hugo DeVries (a Dutchman), Charles Carrinse (a German), and Eric von Chermark (an Austrian)—studied genetics (separately, not as a team) and worked out the laws of genetics. All three then studied the literature of genetics to find out what had been learned before. All three discovered that in 1867 Gregor Mendel had discovered the laws of genetics, but his discoveries had been ignored. All three gave credit to Mr. Mendel and reported their own findings as confirmations of Mr. Mendel’s work. Only Mr. DeVries is well known today—because of his work in studying mutations. Mr. Asimov pointed out that “as far as the discovery of genetics is concerned, Mendel gets all the credit. And they knew at the time that this would happen, but they did it.”
- “I Can See Clearly Now”
Thomas Weller, aka The San Diego Highwayman, loves working on cars and he loves doing good deeds. He is an auto mechanic in California, and he rides around looking for stranded motorists. His rig is well equipped for dealing with vehicular emergencies, and he always declines money for helping people with their vehicles. Instead of taking people’s money, he gives people a card with this message: “Assisting you has been my pleasure. I ask for no payment other than for you to pass on the favor by helping someone in distress that you may encounter.” In January 2011, some people helped him. His rescue hobby was affected by two problems: a cataract that made his left eye blind, and an expensive breakdown of his 1950s rescue truck. Both problems were solved. On 6 January 2012, Dr. Sanford Feldman, of One-to-One Lasik in Clairemont, a suburb of San Diego, gave Mr. Weller an artificial lens in his left eye. Dr. Feldman donated his medical skill, and an anonymous Good Samaritan donated the money for the operating room fee. Car aficionados at the San Diego Automotive Museum are going to rebuild his customized truck, and Mr. Weller will have to pay only for the parts. The eye operation was a success. After it, Mr. Weller sang, “I can see clearly now.” Mr. Weller became interested in being a Good Samaritan in 1964, when he needed help as a teenager in Illinois. During a blizzard, the car he was driving slid off the road and into a snowdrift. A man stopped, helped him, and told him to pass the favor on to other people. Beginning in 1966, he did. For example, in 2008, Christin Ernst got a flat tire when she ran over a screwdriver that was lying on a San Diego freeway. Mr. Weller stopped, fixed her flat tire, and gave her one of his cards. He said about his helping other people, “It’s what I do for excitement.” By the way, go to YouTube and search for “Thomas Weller Highwayman” so you can watch some of the videos about this Good Samaritan.
- “In a Mercenary World, This Place is an Oasis”
For over 55 years, Dr. Russell Dohner has looked after patients in Rushville, Illinois, a town with approximately 4,300 people. He charges $5 for an office visit. A patient in his waiting room said, “In a mercenary world, this place is an oasis.” The medicine in his office is modern, but other than that, most things—and people—have been with him for a long time. Dr. Dohner has saved many lives, and he has delivered many babies. He once saved a boy who would have smothered in a corncrib, and he once helped rescue four men, climbing down into a coal mine to do so. He has delivered more than 3,500 babies. Lynn Stambaugh, one of his nurses, was one of the babies he delivered. She used to wash dishes at the hospital, but the good doctor convinced her to go to nursing school. Asked why Dr. Dohner has not burned out after working so many years, she said, “Well, I think because every day he makes a difference to at least one person, and if you can do that, you can go on.” Journalist Bob Dotson first met Dr. Dohner long ago. About that meeting, Mr. Dotson wrote, “The morning we first met, back in 1983, Dohner had been to surgery twice, prepped a broken arm, handled two emergency cases, checked on 50 patients and delivered three babies. It was not yet 10:30 [a.m.].” The good doctor paid his own way through Northwestern University medical school. He could have been a cardiologist in a big city, but instead, “Rushville needed a doctor, so I stayed.”