Blog Posts (46)
September 16, 2014
by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.
No other area of philosophy has captured my interests like bioethics. Thinking about the ways that we can use health care to justly distribute opportunities and what those opportunities are is my greatest interest.…
September 14, 2014
Oxford ethicist Julian Sevulescu and Swedish philosopher Ingmar Persson argue in their book Unfit for the Future: The Urgent Need for Moral Enhancement that now is the time to introduce neurological and genetic changes in people so they are willing to go along with various agendas. They note that climate change is a big issue, but when a number of people are apathetic about the... // Read More »
September 9, 2014
In January MIT announced a research study published in the journal Cell that reported a way to erase traumatic memories in lab mice using a drug that makes the brain “more plastic, more capable of forming very strong new memories that will override the old fearful memories.” MIT opened its story by referring to “nearly 8 million Americans [who] suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),”... // Read More »
August 5, 2014
It’s hard not to notice that the idea of “attention” is on a lot of people’s minds. In just one week my desk received a copy of The Hedgehog Review,, the monthly Turning Points Magazine & Devotional, and an e-mail message from a parent all dealing with this subject. Since the advent of a DSM diagnoses involving deficits of attention (initially linked to hyperactivity), the... // Read More »
June 22, 2014
“Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Two weeks ago, family physician Joe Gibes wrote on the shaky medical footing of low testosterone treatment. This week, Brian Williams reported on the NBC Nightly News that the FDA has issued warnings about thrombotic events... // Read More »
June 12, 2014
Yesterday’s post by Steve Phillips raises a central question for us in the “biotech century”: are there some sorts of experiments that fundamentally ought not be done because of the potential they will be grossly misapplied by bad actors? Steve cited research by Lord Robert Winston seeking to create genetically altered pigs—that seem, from the description in the press, to be what scientists call “transgenic”... // Read More »
June 11, 2014
Germline genetic modification is a technique that some find intriguing and many find very concerning when its use is considered in humans. However there are uses of germline genetic modifications in animals that may impact humans in multiple ways. In an article in The Telegraph, British researcher Robert Winston talks about current research to develop animal organs (usually from pigs) that could be genetically modified... // Read More »
June 6, 2014
Hormone replacement therapy is back in the news: not estrogen/progesterone for women, but testosterone for men. There are some similarities between the two therapies. Each was/is heralded by claims for the amazing cures it would/will provide for a multitude of life’s ailments. Estrogen/progesterone was prescribed for legions of women with a lot of assumptions that it would do wonderful things like help dementia and cardiovascular... // Read More »
May 29, 2014
That is the title of a news piece accessible at Nature’s website this week. It refers to something that Steve Phillips and I posted on back in February; to wit, the potential for “three parent babies” resulting from the transfer of a nucleus (and its genetic material) from a diseased mother’s egg cell into the enucleated egg from a healthy donor. (I am skipping important... // Read More »
May 8, 2014
Synthetic biology—loosely defined as the intersection of engineering and biology—is a burgeoning field with the potential to create or alter “non-naturally” occurring organisms using basic biomolecules, or similar molecules not found in living things as we encounter them. A few years ago, Dr. Craig Venter’s group in San Diego synthesized the entire DNA of one species of mycobacterium on a lab bench, added some identifier... // Read More »
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November 8, 2012 6:12 pm
Performance-boosting drugs, powered prostheses and wearable computers are coming to an office near you — but experts warned in a new report Wednesday that too little thought has been given to the implications of a superhuman workplace.
July 17, 2012 4:01 pm
It is commonly accepting that doping in sports should be strictly prohibited. But Oxford bio-ethicist Julian Savulescu disagrees. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE on the eve of the London Olympics, he explains why bans are unrealistic and demands an open market for doping.
June 9, 2012 9:00 pm
At high schools across the United States, pressure over grades and competition for college admissions are encouraging students to abuse prescription stimulants, according to interviews with students, parents and doctors. Pills that have been a staple in some college and graduate school circles are going from rare to routine in many academically competitive high schools, where teenagers say they get them from friends, buy them from student dealers or fake symptoms to their parents and doctors to get prescriptions.
June 4, 2012 12:11 am
Over the next decade, new implantable technologies will fundamentally alter the social landscape. We are fast approaching a milestone in the eons-long relationship between human beings and their technology. Families once gathered around the radio like it was a warm fireplace. Then boom boxes leapt onto our shoulders. The Sony Walkman climbed into our pockets and sank its black foam tentacles into our ears. The newest tools are creeping still closer: They will soon come inside and make themselves at home under our skin—some already have.
May 30, 2012 1:58 pm
It was getting late, but he had finally finished all three of his assignments. If he’d been asked, Paul Kessler, ‘11, would’ve said that he’d been studying for only 45 minutes. However, the clock told a different story: two hours had passed. The Adderall worked. That night, Kessler had purchased Adderall, an ADHD drug, without a prescription — something that many college students across the nation are doing in order to focus.
April 12, 2012 11:42 pm
Just 26 and with a creditable — if unexceptional — pedigree in amateur wrestling, Newell is not so fearsome that professional fighters should cower. Yet the list of fighters who have canceled or rejected bouts with him is about two dozen long, and the reason is clear: it can be difficult to persuade able-bodied athletes to fight a man with one hand.
Sport needs to re-think both disability and enhancement.
March 10, 2012 9:35 am
Evan Selinger considers the ramifications of using apps to improve our habits. And also whether willpower as we normally think about it even exists. #bioethics #neuroethics #brain #philosophy
March 1, 2012 12:25 am
A British ethics group has launched a debate on the ethical dilemmas posed by new technologies that tap into the brain and could bring super-human strength, highly enhanced concentration or thought-controlled weaponry. #bioethics
February 24, 2012 12:26 am
In 1850, the average human lifespan was 43 years. Now it’s closer to 80. How high could it go? And what effect will the ever-increasing lifespan of humans have upon society? #bioethics #aging
February 21, 2012 8:28 pm
Opposition to the technologies that make life longer, healthier, and happier creates strange bedfellows argues Ronald Bailey. #bioethics #politics