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Should some human rights extend beyond our species?

April 14, 2010 • Posted in Bioethics 101

Britain’s Home Office forbids research experiments on chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, and the Spanish Parliament in 2008 gave great apes the rights to life and freedom (  Switzerland has begun to consider the dignity of plants (, and took a vote in March 2010 on whether or not certain animals should have lawyers appointed to represent them in particular circumstances.  What is going on?  Our American founding documents ( proclaim “all men (people) are created equal”.   In stark contrast, some people think that all beings are created equal; such murky thinking leads to some very muddy waters.  What happens when the rights more

What is transhumanism?

April 13, 2010 • Posted in Bioethics 101

Per Humanity+ website, (  Transhumanism is . . .(1) The intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities; and (2) The study of the ramifications, promises, and potential dangers of technologies that will enable us to overcome fundamental human limitations, and the related study of the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies . . . We can also use technological means that will eventually enable us more

Is there a difference between therapy and enhancement?

March 15, 2010 • Posted in Bioethics 101

Early in this debate, a number of people hoped to find a “bright line” between therapy and enhancement.  Various issues were considered, such as:

— Is reconstructing a breast after cancer surgery the same as gifting your teenage daughter with breast implants? — If you were born with a deformity that has been corrected with prostheses, and those prostheses enable you to run faster than people without them, do you have a therapeutic advantage, or have you been enhanced?  The International Association of Athletics Federations (I.A.A.F.) has dealt with this issue, in the person of Oscar Pistorius ( — Stimulants often help people more

Euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide: are these desirable ends?

March 15, 2010 • Posted in Bioethics 101

Can a Hippocratic physician assent to P-AS or euthanasia?    The traditional Hippocratic Oath included a pledge that the physician would  “Give no poison to anyone though asked to do so, nor suggest such a plan”.  Is the Hippocratic ethic relevant today?  If so, how?  Some medical schools have re-written the oath, retaining the name for tradition’s sake but leaving out the proscriptions on abortion and euthanasia. If physicians are dually-trained in healing as well as euthanizing, what happens to the patient’s trust when the physician hands him/her a prescription for pain medication?

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Should human cloning be pursued?

March 15, 2010 • Posted in Bioethics 101


What is stem cell research?

March 15, 2010 • Posted in Bioethics 101