Is Kampmeier’s defense of the study persuasive?

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Overview: Professional scholars and researchers don’t generally write in a vacuum. Rather, they are typically motivated to write by a desire to enter into an ongoing “conversation:” to move it forward, to challenge it, to enrich it, to elaborate it, to extend it in another direction. Professional academics almost always engage other sources in their writing; only rarely will they write essays or articles that acknowledge no prior scholarship or research. As a student, you too can find motivation in the arguments of others. Finding an interesting source you to talk back to is the first step toward writing an interesting and substantive paper.

Background: The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in Black Men ended forty years ago, but its meaning and significance has continued relevance to public health, research, and American society at large.

In the 1972 article, “The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis,” R.H. Kampmeier–one of the study’s original doctors–charged critics in Congress and the media with “abysmal ignorance” and sought to “expose the deleterious ramifications” of “criticisms of the ethics and actions of the medical profession in its constant age-long efforts to improve the health of the human race.” Kampmeier’s argument addresses the TSUS in the context of syphilis research at the study’s inception and focuses in particular on the question of whether withholding penicillin, a drug that came into wide use after World War II, was unethical.

Purpose: Your assignment is a response to Kampmeier’s defense of the study and his dismissal of its critics as “irresponsible” and “emotional.” You are, in essence, adding your voice to the “conversation” about the TSUS. As you think about your response, ask yourself the following questions:

Is Kampmeier’s defense of the study persuasive? Why or why not?
What is his focus; what does his argument fail to address?
What questions does his argument raise that need answering in order to fully…






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