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Flourishing . . . In a Time of Debate

February 27, 2020 • Posted in Blog

Ben Voth, Ph.D., associate professor of corporate communications and public affairs at Southern Methodist University, is also director of debate at SMU. His book, James Farmer, Jr.: The Great Debater (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2017) provides exemplars of debate from the previous century – ones from whom we could learn much today. Voth’s book is not a biography of James Farmer, Jr., but a dissection of how Farmer, reared by his capable parents (his father was both a minister and a professor) and trained by Melvin Tolson at Wiley College, used rhetoric properly fitted to action to change the world. ...read more

Flourishing: The 2020 Theme of the TNCBC

January 31, 2020 • Posted in Blog

In the midst of the quandaries posed in the bioethics arena, survival may seem the only goal that is desirable or achievable. The conclusion of the board of The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture, however, is that while survival is certainly important, our organization should be about more. It should be about human thriving, or flourishing. We even have a visual image for that!

Last June, local multimedia artist, Carol Harkness, gifted our organization with this beautiful original mixed media mosaic on birchwood (11.5″ X 11.5″), in a hand-rubbed walnut frame. It was presented to June’s top donors to The ...read more

23andMe and Drug Development

January 31, 2020 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

More than a decade ago—in a different time and a different place—a neighbor offered me a box of stuff he had bought as part of a lot at some estate sale. He needed to get rid of no small amount of “stuff,” so he gave me that box of tarnished silverware and odds and ends. I took it home and spent a couple of days cleaning it. We were already planning a yard sale, and so I placed the now-cleaned items I did not need from the neighbor’s box in the sale. Imagine his surprise ...read more

Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing

December 2, 2019 • Posted in Blog

 

A Book Review By R. Henry Williams, M.D., F.A.C.P., M.A. (Ethics) Board Chairman, The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture

Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, Editors Oxford University Press, 2019

 

 

As we now live in a time when our genetic code can be altered, whether for better or worse, how should we think about what is best for ourselves? How can we as a human species and as individuals flourish? These are the questions posed in the new volume, Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing. The essays here are interactive, frequently referencing one another, as the ...read more

Statement on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing

November 2, 2019 • Posted in Blog
The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture responds to the Public Call for Evidence for the International Commission* on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing

 

Given that According to the canons of research on children, experiments are only ethically justified when there are clear benefits to that individual child and proportional burdens to that child. Risks and burdens beyond truly “minimal” to individual children are not justified to benefit other children. To do so is to treat one child as a means to another child’s ends (i.e., to instrumentalize that child).

 

Whereas Human germline genome editing is experimentation on embryonic humans who cannot give consent, ...read more

Life Without Us?

November 2, 2019 • Posted in Blog

By Jane Patton, Guest Columnist

It is not new that some people say that they do not want to bring children into the world. And, as far as the do’s and don’ts of being environmentally responsible, the carbon footprint of a single human being tops the list of avoidable behaviors. One presidential candidate even advocates abortion as a way to combat climate change. So, it may be okay to have one or two children. Any more than that and parents might be called selfish.

But, a growing movement is taking the idea of limiting births to the next level—preventing all births. Who ...read more

Our Summer Non-Vacation

September 23, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

“What I did on my summer vacation” is an assignment many of us have had to complete in the late Augusts or early Septembers of our lives, when we returned to school after the summer break. Given that Summer 2019 has just ended (although the high temperatures have yet to abate), an update on our activities is in order:

21 June 2019 — First Day of Summer

We hosted “Chicago Meets New York: Dinner and a Movie” at the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity’s 26th international bioethics conference on the campus of Trinity International University outside ...read more

When Can Others Help Themselves to Our Organs?

July 25, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

We have an opt-in organ donation system in the United States. That is, you have to say, “Yes,” to organ donation in order to donate. Opting in is very easy, and you can usually do that through your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Even those too young to vote can opt-in for organ donation. Why is this service available through the DMV? A few moments’ thought can yield an answer.

England has recently changed its law governing organ donation. The new “opt-out” law takes effect in 2020:

Everyone in England over the age of 18 will ...read more

AMA Resists Embracing “Neutrality” on Physician-Assisted Suicide

June 11, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

Yesterday, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates voted to retain the current position of the AMA RE physician-assisted suicide. That was the recommendation of the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA), and the CEJA report was accepted by a 65:35 majority, according to the National Right to Life News.

CEJA is responsible for maintaining and updating the AMA’s Medical Code of Ethics, and promoting “adherence to the Code’s professional ethical standards.” Last year, CEJA recommended maintaining the long-held AMA stance against physician-assisted suicide, but the House of Delegates rejected that recommendation. Further ...read more

A Moratorium on Heritable Human Genome Editing: Illusory or Real?

May 31, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

In March, 2019, Nature published a commentary penned by Eric Lander, Françoise Baylis, Feng Zhang, Emmanuelle Charpentier, and Paul Berg, and signed by 13 other notables. The name of the commentary is “Adopt a moratorium on heritable genome editing.” This document requires analysis.

First, some definitions are needed. A moratorium is defined as a “suspension of activity,” or “an authorized period of delay or waiting.” Heritable means “capable of being passed from one generation to the next.” Additionally, clinical can refer to a “scientifically detached” attitude or “the observation and treatment of patients directly.” Each of ...read more