Tag: bioethics

Blog Posts (201)

May 8, 2015

When did same-sex marriage become morally acceptable to you?

A same-sex marriage decision is due from the Supreme Court June. Given it has been almost exactly a decade since I changed my position on same-sex marriage, I figure now is a good time to reflect on the nature of that change.

Until about my sophomore year of college I was against same-sex marriage. Moreover [...]

May 8, 2015

Gene Editing—Trying to Get Specific

In a comment last week, Mark McQuain pointed out the article “Engineering the Perfect Baby” in the MIT Technology Review.  Freely accessible online, it describes, in non-technical terms, several of the routes that genetic editing may follow.  Perhaps the most explosive:  adult skin cell transformed into an induced pleuripotent stem cell that then is used to give rise to germ cells that are then genetically... // Read More »
May 6, 2015

Human Germline Genetic Enhancement and The Abolition of Man

I appreciate Courtney and Jon expressing their thoughts on the issue of human germline modification and the references to C. S. Lewis’s book, The Abolition of Man. My thoughts on this are more extensive than I can put in a blog post. I expressed those thoughts several years ago in a paper presentation at the CBHD summer conference. If you are interested in my extended... // Read More »
May 5, 2015

Reflecting on “The Abolition of Man”

Continuing the discussion I started last week, and which was thoughtfully furthered by Jon on April 30, I decided to share a brief passage from C.S. Lewis’ book The Abolition of Man (as referenced by Jon, as well) for my post today. I first read The Abolition of Man during college, and was struck by how powerful this short book was. Since then I have... // Read More »
April 30, 2015

More on Gene Editing

The recently-public discussion of gene editing has been going on for over a month now.  I have been meaning to try to catch up with some of it.  Tuesday’s post by Courtney Thiele got there first.  This post will attempt to amplify a bit on what Courtney wrote. As Courtney pointed out, the technology involves making selective genetic changes of interest, including, but clearly not... // Read More »
April 29, 2015

When Enhancement Isn’t

Enhancement is weird. It seems objectively obvious what is better and what isn’t. But then context goes and screws everything up.

The New York Times recently featured a debate series entitled Adderall in the Office (h/t James Hughes) in which a few thinkers (including two of my favorite bioethicists Savulescu and Parens) discussed the merits of using A.D.H.D. drugs [...]

April 28, 2015

Editing Genes

The idea of “designer babies” is not an uncommon discussion topic in bioethics communities or pop-culture. From its depiction in “classic” bioethics ethics movies like GATTACA, to current medical practices, like allowing for selective implantation of IVF created embryos, the idea of choosing our children has moved from science fiction to being realized as an actual possibility. As I was reading the news yesterday, I... // Read More »
April 27, 2015

Unenhanced Thoughts about Neural Enhancement

An April 20th post in the Hastings Center’s “Bioethics Forum” brings attention the recent report by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (PCSBI) entitled, “Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society.” Chapter 2, “Cognitive Enhancement and Beyond” is a useful summary of issues surrounding “cognitive enhancement,” and provides a brief overview of three scientific goals: maintaining or improving... // Read More »
April 25, 2015

The Importance of Advance Directives and Power of Attorneys

This week I had the privilege of job shadowing in the clinical ethics department at a hospital here in Illinois. In clinical ethics, it is impossible to know exactly what your days will look like in advance, since your schedule depends on the varying needs of others in your workplace. There may be several days in a row where no requests for consults come in,... // Read More »
April 22, 2015

Finding Personhood in a Burrito

Mark Wilson over at Fast Company discusses “Chef Watson” and it’s many unusual recipes. Wilson focuses on a particularly disappointing burrito and how it came to be for most of the article. When setting up how Watson works, Wilson says:

Chef Watson—IBM’s Jeopardy-robot-gone-algorithmic-recipe engine—