The Bioethics Podcast 2007

The Bioethics Podcast is an audio resource exploring the pressing bioethical challenges of our day featuring staff, fellows, and associates of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity. For more information, click here for The Bioethics Podcast FAQ

Grey Matters: Can Grey Voxels Resolve Neuroethical Dilemmas? Part II

Issues: 

Advances in noninvasive medical imaging have opened new windows into the living brain. Like observatories pointed inward, modern brain scanners routinely capture breathtaking images of the gyral swirls and neuronal clusters that underlie human cerebral nature. These brain portraits are composed of three-dimensional voxels, or volume picture elements, digitally displayed in shades of grey.

Podcast Episode: 
74

Grey Matters: Can Grey Voxels Resolve Neuroethical Dilemmas? Part I

Issues: 

Part II

Advances in noninvasive medical imaging have opened new windows into the living brain. Like observatories pointed inward, modern brain scanners routinely capture breathtaking images of the gyral swirls and neuronal clusters that underlie human cerebral nature. These brain portraits are composed of three-dimensional voxels, or volume picture elements, digitally displayed in shades of grey.

Podcast Episode: 
73

Pediatric Lead Levels in Toys and Ethics of Care

Issues: 

n response to the discovery of high levels of lead in an alarming number of toys, the giant toymakers and distributors have appropriately established a recall notice complete with customer service phone numbers and suspect product serial number lists. Ostensibly, the reason for this action is care and concern, but—and perhaps somewhat cynically—exoneration is also in the equation. No one wishes to be found responsible; but eventually someone will likely be accused for the elevated lead levels in children’s toys.

Podcast Episode: 
72

Reproductive Technologies 101

Infertility is often not considered a “disease” in our society, yet it causes great pain in couples who desire to begin a family. Couples are infertile when they have actively tried to conceive without success for a year, a condition that affects 10–15% of the U.S. population.[1],[2] Treatments designed to help couples conceive are referred to as Assisted Reproductive Technologies, or ART.

Podcast Episode: 
71

Technology in Biblical and Historical Contexts -- Part 2

In this edition of The Bioethics Podcast, we bring you the second in an ongoing series entitled "CBHD Classics," where we periodically revisit classic audios from our CBHD archives. In this particular edition, we bring you the conclusion of a two-part broadcast of Nancy Pearcey and a paper she presented at Trinity International University entitled “Technology in Biblical and Historical Contexts.” In this piece, Ms. Pearcey explains the inability of most people to justify their moral intuitions about technology, and the conversational opportunity that creates.

Podcast Episode: 
70

Technology in Biblical and Historical Contexts -- Part 1

In this edition of The Bioethics Podcast, we bring you the second in an ongoing series entitled "CBHD Classics," where we periodically revisit classic audios from our CBHD archives. In this particular edition, we bring you the first of a two-part broadcast of Nancy Pearcey and a paper she delivered at Trinity International University “Technology in Biblical and Historical Contexts.” In this piece, Ms. Pearcey explains the inability of most people to justify their moral intuitions about technology, and the conversational opportunity that creates.

Podcast Episode: 
69

How Much Do We Care When Truth Replaces Fiction? Ethical Conduct and Human Subjects Research in Africa

 

Podcast Episode: 
68

Genetically Enhancing Athletes?

Readers of both the academic and popular literature in bioethics will be well aware that genetic and other forms of so-called human enhancement are clearly on the drawing board. No one knows how long it will take to develop these technologies, but they are most certainly coming. Already, of course, through the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, human embryos are screened for undesirable genetic traits and embryos with those traits are not transferred to a woman’s uterus—they are discarded or used in embryo-destructive research.

Podcast Episode: 
67

The Wisdom of the Synapse: From Patterns of Neuronal Transmission to Principles of Human Communication

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The synapse refers to the intercellular junction where chemical information is transmitted fro one neuron to another. This paper will examine the natural patterns of information flow at the synapse as a small scale paradigm for considering both constructive and pathological forms of communication among human communities.

Podcast Episode: 
66

Transhumanism and the Convergence of Emerging Technologies

Editor's Note: Parallel Paper Presentation from CBHD's 2007 Annual Conference, Bioethics Nexus: The Future of Healthcare, Science and Humanity.

Podcast Episode: 
65

Dominion, Providence, and Art: The Integral Role of Aesthetics in the Next Phase of Christian Bioethics

For more than a generation, the field of bioethics has dealt with issues of giving and taking human life, defining the nature of the physician-patient relationship, and establishing normative protocols for clinical ethics.  Increasingly, though, these issues are being supplanted with questions surrounding the extent to which human creativity may reshape life.  Should we design animals to have human organs, and vice versa?  Is it permissible to fashion our bodies or the bodies of our children through biomedicine to suit our aesthetic tastes?  Does the Bible give humans permission to reengineer the creation as we see fit?  These questions stretch classical bioethics to the breaking point; we need new wineskins to grapple with these ethical challenges.  This paper will argue that developing aesthetic thought is a necessary step in forming an ethics of biotechnology and human creativity.  Furthermore, the arts offer an invaluable forum for theological and socio-cultural reflection for the next generation of Christian bioethics, as well as a fertile avenue for communication biblical conceptions of human dignity and creativity with those outside of the field.

Podcast Episode: 
64

Can Technology Change Human Nature?

Groups like the World Transhumanist Association hope that we will soon be able to change human nature and become posthuman. Recent advances in the neurosciences and biotechnology have fueled these hopes. Christians rightly recoil from attempts to change human nature because we recognize the fundamental importance of being created in the image of God. David B. Fletcher has pointed out that certain of these technological advances would alter the moral standing of “engineered” individuals, because they “would no longer straightforwardly be persons, but would in fact be in important respects, things.”[1] This line of reasoning is consistent with a long philosophical tradition that holds that the mind is the sine qua non of personhood and that it is personhood that grants one membership to the moral community.

Podcast Episode: 
63

The Costs of Technology in Women's Health, Part II

Our technological society, ruled as it is by the technological imperative, is actively engaged in the pursuit of progress regardless of the cost.  This progress is often ill-defined; we are “committed to the quest for continually improved means to carelessly unexamined ends.”  While cost-benefit analyses are frequently performed to ascertain the efficiency of progressive techniques in terms of monetary value, seldom do we truly count the immaterial costs of progress.  One area of medicine where these changes are vividly portrayed is the arena of women’s reproductive health where to the goals of life, health, and happiness, “a perfect child of our own” is added.  Here, too, we have failed to count the immaterial costs of such a project.  We’ve failed to see how our blind pursuit of elusive but noble goals is threatening not only the profession of medicine, but the very nature of our humanity as well.  This paper will explore some of the costs of technology in women’s reproductive health—costs to the art of medicine as well as the nature of marriage, reproduction, and children.

Podcast Episode: 
62

The Costs of Technology in Women's Health, Part I

Our technological society, ruled as it is by the technological imperative, is actively engaged in the pursuit of progress regardless of the cost.  This progress is often ill-defined; we are “committed to the quest for continually improved means to carelessly unexamined ends.”  While cost-benefit analyses are frequently performed to ascertain the efficiency of progressive techniques in terms of monetary value, seldom do we truly count the immaterial costs of progress.  One area of medicine where these changes are vividly portrayed is the arena of women’s reproductive health where to the goals of life, health, and happiness, “a perfect child of our own” is added.  Here, too, we have failed to count the immaterial costs of such a project.  We’ve failed to see how our blind pursuit of elusive but noble goals is threatening not only the profession of medicine, but the very nature of our humanity as well.  This paper will explore some of the costs of technology in women’s reproductive health—costs to the art of medicine as well as the nature of marriage, reproduction, and children.

Podcast Episode: 
61

Chiseling Away at David

Michelangelo’s David is a fitting metaphor for what it means to be human.  Considering assisted reproductive technologies, genetic testing and intervention, and using technology for purposes beyond therapy, we are chiseling away at the David that we know.  A brief look at the art and the science through the lens of bioethics is the theme of this presentation.

Podcast Episode: 
60

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