Recent events have confused me, a little bit. In trying to figure this all out, I thought I'd pose a question to the readership:
Is it possible to ask an empirical question about the effects of a certain human-made product or activity, without implicitly condoning the existence of that product or activity?
Here are some examples that spring to mind:
Can we investigate the effects of offshore drilling on the ecosystem, even if we think offshore drilling is bad?
Can we investigate the effects of the burning of increasing amounts of fossil fuels on the environment, without implicitly supporting the burning of those fuels?
Can we investigate the effects of the Holocaust on, say, the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, without implicitly condoning the Holocaust? (As the grandchild of survivors, I have myself participated in such research studies)
Can we investigate the effects of alcoholism on the children of alcoholics, without condoning alcoholism in the first place?
Can we investigate the effects of the recreational use of drugs, even if we are staunchly against the recreational use of drugs?
Can we investigate the effects of the viewing of pornography, even if we think the production of pornography is ethically inexcusable?
I don't have any answers on this one.
So, below in the comments, please share your thoughts. Is it possible to separate the two types of questions? Does it depend on the questions being asked? Does it depend on who is asking?
Please keep comments focused and on-topic. This time around, I'll be deleting comments that stray too far off-topic.