The Bioethics Podcast 2011

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

Genetic Testing: Ethics, Regulation, and Online Accessibility

People are often uncomfortable with the unknown. This is even more the case with our health, where people want to know as much as possible about potential diseases. With the rapid advances in medical science and technologies, notably the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, people are turning to their genetic make-up to fill in some of the answers. Yet, caught up in the desire to find out all we can about ourselves, we may unwittingly create more unknowns in the process.

Podcast Episode: 
171

A Christian Framework for Engaging in Science Policy

But what is science policy and how should Christians approach science policy? ‘Science policy’ includes public policy about science—federal funding for scientific research, clinical trial regulations, public health policy, or science, math, and engineering education policy. The term ‘science policy’ is also invoked to talk about how science is used to craft public policy, as in the case of using fetal pain research to craft abortion policy.

In order to develop a sound approach for Christian engagement in science policy, we first need to develop a framework for thinking about how to integrate faith with our view of science and our approach to political engagement.

Podcast Episode: 
170

Commentary: Six Years Later and Katrina Still Engenders Bioethical Debate

During August 2005, the Gulf Coast experienced the most expensive natural disaster in history. The remarkable devastation would be painfully remembered simply as Hurricane Katrina. Amidst the hue and cry of lives lost, levees that failed—and alleged FEMA incompetence—Hurricane Katrina’s darkest moments, especially for medicine, continue to reverberate. It must never be forgotten that after the initial shock from the powerful storm had dissipated, forty-five corpses were retrieved from one New Orleans hospital under suspicious circumstances.[1] A subsequent article reporting the events was trenchant enough to receive a Pulitzer Prize.[2] At the time, it was alleged that some of these forty-five individuals were injected with sedatives such as morphine to relieve either their suffering or to deliberately hasten their deaths.[3] Therein lays the rub of the principle of double effect. The Louisiana Attorney General and prominent forensic scientists labeled what happened homicide.[4] The local coroner later testified in agreement with this claim and provided evidence of the drug levels to demonstrate what should have been a lethal cause and effect. Also critical to the ensuing debate, several of these persons whose death may have been hastened did not have a Do Not Resuscitate order. There was no evidence that any of the individuals consented to assisted suicide. One case study may provide insight.[5]

Podcast Episode: 
165

Baby-Making: The Fractured Fulfillment of Huxley's Brave New World, Part II

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We have reviewed the legal and cultural changes that led to widespread use of ART and the creation of thousands of frozen embryos. We have examined the risks and consequences for mothers and their children. We have taken a quick look at some of the social implications. Now, I would like to return to a point I raised in the beginning . . . the Orwellian overtones of some aspects of ART. This is the part that has its rationale in the eugenics of the early 20th century.

Podcast Episode: 
160

Baby-Making: The Fractured Fulfillment of Huxley's Brave New World, Part I

GATTACA is just one of the examples from literature and popular culture that entice us to slow down and think about some of the most serious ethical questions facing us today. Hollywood has given us The Sixth Day on human cloning, The Island on involuntary organ donors, John Q on organ transplantation, and Minority Report on neuroethics, to name just a few. These are joined in literature by works such as C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength and, of course, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Sometimes there is an eerie immediacy to the sci-fi futuristic scenarios depicted in these works. Scripts have had to be altered when real-day science threatened to overtake the in-the-future premise of the plot. Meanwhile, the moral conversation, the bioethical reflection, has struggled to keep up. Law and policy lag even farther behind, often feebly attempting to regulate only after a catastrophe or dispute.

Podcast Episode: 
159

End-of-Life Care in the Long-Term Cancer Survivor

How should the family and the medical team proceed with medical care when there is conflict over treatment options in a long-term cancer survivor in the absence of clear surrogacy?

Podcast Episode: 
158

Human Dignity, Enlightenment, and Global Bioethics

Issues: 

 

“Dignity Never Been Photographed: Scientific Materialism, Enlightenment Liberalism, and Steven Pinker”

 

Podcast Episode: 
157

Taking Another Stab: Rethinking the Killing vs. Letting Die Distinction for the Euthanasia Debate

Some bioethicists think that if the distinction is not maintained in and of itself and by itself that it opens the door for the moral permissibility of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. The presenter argues that this is not necessarily the case. Furthermore, he maintains that there is and ought to remain a strong prima facie prohibition against killing, and that these claims are consistent with an evangelical approach to Christian theology. 

Podcast Episode: 
156

Enhanced Dying: Exploring the Dangers of Palliative Care Moving Beyond Therapy

his presentation will address how changing definitions of death, institutionalization of death, dualistic anthropology, and this new responsibility of medicine can encourage care beyond therapy to intentional sedation and assisted death. Corrected definitions and processes will be offered that will encourage responsible care of patients without violating accepted ethical standards.

Podcast Episode: 
155