Bioethics at the Movies: Review of Minority Report

Based on a Philip K. Dick short story, Minority Report is set in the year 2054. The “pre-crime division” of the police force is pilot-testing a program in which crimes are stopped before they are committed. John Anderton (Tom Cruise) leads pre-crime division made up of members who combine SWAT team/special forces skills to intervene in crimes and murders before they happen and thus save society from evil. Crime is down 90%, no murders have occurred in the previous six years in the Washington DC pilot-test area, lives are saved, and society is protected because of the ability to predict crimes before they happen.

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A Review of the Novel NEXT

Michael Crichton’s latest novel, NEXT, like most of his previous novels, is based on rigorous research of a specific technical topic—in this case genetic science. Unlike his previous novels, the plot of NEXT does not center on a single protagonist. Instead, like the movies Crash, Syriana, and Babel, NEXT tells a number of stories, some of which intersect and all of which revolve around or relate to some aspect of genetic science.

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Is It Ethical to Determine the Sex of a Child?

One consideration in evaluating the ethics of sex selection involves the timing of the selection itself. If a boy is desired and the sex is to be determined after fertilization, a negative result (meaning the birth of a girl) can only be prevented by killing the embryo or fetus either in the lab (if conception is achieved through in vitro fertilization) or in the womb of the mother (by abortion). Such sex selection should be opposed for two reasons. First, an innocent life is sacrificed.

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The One Who Smiles A Lot

Twenty five years or so ago, as a family physician in a Christian mission practice in London, I used to help out at a monthly afternoon clinic with the now dated and politically incorrect name: “Handicapped Fellowship.” Patients with various physical and mental disabilities would be transported in by church members to receive health care, and would then enjoy a British afternoon tea, some entertainment, and a spiritual message.

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