Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The real origins of the X-Men

“The X-Men take up a conversation that started in its modern form after World War II, in the Nuremberg Nazi trails,” says Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Emory Center for Ethics.

The judges were not just horrified by the testimony of the horrific experiments done on humans by the Nazis, Wolpe says. They were also alarmed when the defense lawyers brought to light what was going on in the United States in regard to human experimentation.

The judges were so appalled that they wrote the Nuremberg Code, which laid out clear guidelines for human experimentation, such as working with animals first and gaining the full consent of the subjects.

“It took more than two decades before those kinds of standards began to be universally applied,” Wolpe says.

Marvel Comics, which created the X-Men, tackled many tough issues in its storylines, says Wolpe, who grew up with a love of comic books. “The X-Men became this fascinating discussion of majority-minority relationships, human experimentation and the coming genetic sophistication,” he says.

The ethics of X-Men
Blurring the lines between life forms

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