.. goes the popular thirukkural. It goes onto say that falsehood can come in the place of truth if it results in real goodness.
An interesting question for Science is whether it can hide a truth (or choose not to pursue it) if revealing it will lead to dire consequences. Suppose, a scientist knows that a world war will be impending if a scientific truth he has discovered is made known to the public, should he go ahead and make the “truth” known? (I assume the purpose of science is to find the truth and communicate it to the rest of the world)
While Thiruvalluvar was so sure then, this question is really difficult to answer now and might be highly situation dependent. Probably the magnitude of issues weren’t so serious then. Obviously, there was no fear of something like a nuclear war. Maybe Valluvar’s scope was limited to not getting a thrashing from his wife for being wayward or something like that! 🙂
Getting back to the question, I know most of you would say the scientist should hide the truth if he’s so sure for the sake of humanity . The logic being, a nuclear war is a sufficiently serious reason to relax ethics. But what is “sufficiently serious” ? If ethics can be relaxed, on what basis and to what extent?