The Bioethics Podcast 2008

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

Natural Law & Reformed Bioethics: Another Look

Sex, without babies? Behold the origin of our conundrums in reproductive ethics! Our culture developed the technology to separate the sexual act from procreation, classically with the extramarital use of the Pill (in the sexual revolution), and thus was unleashed a host of problems that have plagued us ever since. So the argument goes.[1] We would have no reproductive ethical dilemmas had we kept together the sexual act and procreation.

Podcast Episode: 
119

Grey Matters: The Synapse and Other Gaps

Issues: 
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  • Length: 16:42 minutes (19.12 MB)
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Gaps are among the most meaningful of nonentities. Despite their emptiness, they do not reduce to nothingness, for they are defined by their relationship to something else. A gap, depending on the context and one’s viewpoint, might be regarded as a vacant breach or a bridgeable junction. Located just beyond the boundary of things tangible or discernible, gaps invite questions of possibility.

Podcast Episode: 
103

Beyond Perfectionism

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  • Length: 9:22 minutes (10.73 MB)
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With the Olympics soundly behind us and the rhythms of the fall launch of new television episodes well established, several reflections come to mind. An interesting thread below all of the accomplishments of the  elite athletes during the Beijing Olympics were concerns over doping of various sorts. Artificial enhancements, steroids, hormones. These are not new issues surrounding the elite athletic competitions of our day, but they increasingly are becoming difficult to evaluate.

Podcast Episode: 
102

Neuroscience in Perspective: An Introduction to Ethical Considerations

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  • Length: 9:15 minutes (10.6 MB)
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When the UK Xenotransplantation Authority approached the possibility of using organs from animals to save human lives there were three kinds of questions. Is it safe? Will it work? Is it right? These seem highly relevant questions as we hear of the tremendous advances of neuroscience, which will transform our understanding of the human mind and our very humanity, our behavior and our health and well being.

Podcast Episode: 
101

Introductory Explorations in the Ethics of Neonatal Futility

How should the expectant couple react when they learn that their pregnancy will quickly end with the birth of an extremely premature infant? These fragile infants—at the margins of viability—demand the extremes of life-sustaining care and typically remain in the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) for months. After such a prolonged length of time, all involved—infant, family, and doctor—experience the gamut of emotions. In a world filled with technological prowess and promise, what are parents to expect during the process? Should they be mad at God, or at themselves, or the medical system? How should the parents’ spiritual faith interface with any current hope and future uncertainty?

Podcast Episode: 
100

Where Is the Public Outcry? Infants also Have Human Dignity When They Are Dying and Donating Organs!

The story goes back to 1993. During the early era of transplantation, “death” for the purpose of organ donation had been defined as irreversible cessation of all brain function (that is brain death, both “higher” and “lower” centers) as a result of a seminal report by the ad hoc Committee of Harvard Medical School.[1] The transplant community and society then asked a question: Since the traditional definition of death for everyone else had always been irreversible cessation of heart function, might that definition be ethically applied to donors too?

Podcast Episode: 
99

Ethics and Metaphysics?

Issues: 

At The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity’s 14th annual conference last summer—‘The Bioethics Nexus: The Future of Healthcare, Science, and Humanity’—world renowned Notre Dame philosopher Alvin Plantinga gave a plenary address entitled, “Science and Religion: Why Does the Debate Continue?”1 In his address he reflected on some of the misguided assumptions on the part of both scientists and people of faith that serve to perpetuate this ongoing debate.

Podcast Episode: 
98

Is it Permissibile to Forgo Life-Saving Dialysis?

Is it permissible to forgo life-saving dialysis in this man with a stroke based on his family’s refusal?

Podcast Episode: 
97

交易還是捐贈:誰是明日的器官供者?

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  • Length: 7:07 minutes (8.16 MB)
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Podcast Episode: 
96

Commodities Trading or Gift Exchange: Where Will Tomorrow’s Organ Donors Come from?

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  • Length: 7:07 minutes (8.16 MB)
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Podcast Episode: 
96

Thinking through Technology Part III

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  • Length: 21:43 minutes (9.95 MB)
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As a roadmap of where we are heading, here are a few guideposts. First, we will set the stage surveying the current landscape in technological innovation generally speaking. We, then, will turn our attention to discern the nature of technology and to mine the resources of two fields of study likely unfamiliar to many of us (i.e., philosophy of technology and computer ethics) in a section entitled “In Search of a Philosophy of Technology.” While you might be surprised to hear that such a field as computer ethics exists, the issues presented by the convergence of bioethics with communication and information technologies make an understanding of this field critically important. Finally, we will offer some preliminary questions and assessments of the emerging biotech discussion with particular interest in those issues that focus on the remaking of humanity under the rubric of technological responsibilism. My working proposal is that many of the difficulties presenting us with these emerging technologies focus on our underlying inability to assess technology and its relationship to humanity, and that much of this can be alleviated by some attention to a philosophy and more importantly a theology of technology.

Podcast Episode: 
95

Thinking through Technology Part II

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  • Length: 16:49 minutes (7.71 MB)
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As a roadmap of where we are heading, here are a few guideposts. First, we will set the stage surveying the current landscape in technological innovation generally speaking. We, then, will turn our attention to discern the nature of technology and to mine the resources of two fields of study likely unfamiliar to many of us (i.e., philosophy of technology and computer ethics) in a section entitled “In Search of a Philosophy of Technology.” While you might be surprised to hear that such a field as computer ethics exists, the issues presented by the convergence of bioethics with communication and information technologies make an understanding of this field critically important. Finally, we will offer some preliminary questions and assessments of the emerging biotech discussion with particular interest in those issues that focus on the remaking of humanity under the rubric of technological responsibilism. My working proposal is that many of the difficulties presenting us with these emerging technologies focus on our underlying inability to assess technology and its relationship to humanity, and that much of this can be alleviated by some attention to a philosophy and more importantly a theology of technology.

Podcast Episode: 
94

Thinking through Technology Part I

As a roadmap of where we are heading, here are a few guideposts. First, we will set the stage surveying the current landscape in technological innovation generally speaking. We, then, will turn our attention to discern the nature of technology and to mine the resources of two fields of study likely unfamiliar to many of us (i.e., philosophy of technology and computer ethics) in a section entitled “In Search of a Philosophy of Technology.” While you might be surprised to hear that such a field as computer ethics exists, the issues presented by the convergence of bioethics with communication and information technologies make an understanding of this field critically important. Finally, we will offer some preliminary questions and assessments of the emerging biotech discussion with particular interest in those issues that focus on the remaking of humanity under the rubric of technological responsibilism. My working proposal is that many of the difficulties presenting us with these emerging technologies focus on our underlying inability to assess technology and its relationship to humanity, and that much of this can be alleviated by some attention to a philosophy and more importantly a theology of technology.

Podcast Episode: 
93

Grey Matters: From Biochemical Synapse to Bioethical Syntax

Issues: 

The synapse is a specialized junction through which neurons—the brain’s fundamental cellular units—signal other cells. An examination of patterns of neural transmission at the synapse provides an interesting small-scale paradigm for considering principles of effective and ineffective communication among and within human communities. Following a general description of the synapse, this essay will draw parallels to larger realms of human ethical communication.

Podcast Episode: 
92

Healthcare and the Common Good

The U.S. healthcare system is at once the envy of the world and in very deep trouble. Some resist the word “crisis” to describe our situation, suggesting that the diagnosis is too cynical. Others, like the Hudson Institute, have predicted that the impact of Boomers on the healthcare system will lead to the collapse of employer-provided healthcare (see William Styring and Donald Jonas, Health Care 2020: The Coming Collapse of Employer-Provided Health Care).

Podcast Episode: 
91

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