Bioethics

Biotechnology Meets Primetime TV

It is no secret that bioethical content has been the fodder for both film and television for quite some time. The mainstay of science fiction films for years has ranged from cyborgs (Bicentennial Man) and artificial intelligence (AI, I Robot) to bizarre human experimentation and research (The X-Files: I Want to Believe), such as genetic enhancement (GATTACA), organ farming (The Island), and cloning (The 6th Day) just to name a few more. Even the occasional drama has featured key bioethical dilemmas such as euthanasia (Million Dollar Baby) and just access to healthcare services (John Q) to the recent film depiction of savior siblings (My Sister’s Keeper).[1] The silver screen has accessed these issues for years. Similar ventures in primetime television have met varied success. Medical dramas have highlighted key issues raised in clinical medicine. Pick your show of choice: ER, Grey’s Anatomy, House, Private Practice,[2] or any of the numerous other medical dramas that have reigned in primetime television for years. The success of the medical drama is demonstrated through the proliferation of spinoffs and the creation of the genre of medical comedies as epitomized in Scrubs. Amidst the daytime plotlines of hypersexuality and human frailty, primetime viewers are exposed to such issues as informed consent, medical error, and the nature of the Hippocratic Oath. Not surprisingly these connections have been noted by savvy educators who use culture as one of the means by which they teach bioethics.

Podcast Episode: 
136

勿傷害?

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  • Length: 7:45 minutes (8.89 MB)
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Podcast Episode: 
116

Do No Harm?

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ne Christian-Hippocratic position pertaining to the essentials of ethical medical practice has been unequivocal. There should be total separation between “black and white” medicine as described through the pregnant admonition: “do no harm.” Originally, the “black” side of medicine could be summarized neatly by two activities proscribed within the body of the Hippocratic Oath itself, abortion and euthanasia (or assisted suicide). Unfortunately, as distance between the precepts of the Oath and the realities of contemporary practice diverged, the list of prohibitions arguably qualifying as harm have increased.

Podcast Episode: 
116

Technology and Technique: Master or Servant? Reflections on Reading Ellul, Huxley, and Lewis

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Editor's Note: Parallel Paper Presentation from CBHD's 2008 Annual Conference, Healthcare and the Common Good.

Podcast Episode: 
115

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

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

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

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