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Stem Cells: Teaching the Ethical Issues

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Stem Cells: Teaching the Ethical Issues Pluripotent Cells in a Pluralistic Democracy * * * * * * III. Which is most natural? Major Ethical Problem Moral status Duty ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Stem Cells: Teaching the Ethical Issues


1
Stem Cells Teaching the Ethical Issues
  • Pluripotent Cells in a Pluralistic Democracy

2
Ask yourself
  • What is a right act and what makes it so?
  • A question in bioethics is research on human
    stem cells is a right act and what makes it so?

3
Background--
  • Ethical problems in
  • Origins of cells? moral status issues
  • Process and means? human subject issues
  • Telos/ends? social impact issues

4
Start with agreements in a contentious time!
  • We are at a crossroads in world history
  • Science research is like free speech
  • But some limits or guidelines are needed.
    Science is always witnessed speech
  • Be carefulattend to safety concerns
  • Be gooddo not take bribes
  • Do no harmdont deceive or hurt
  • Tell the truth
  • Try not to make errors
  • .

5
Controversial because History haunts research
  • Ethics of memoryour duty to remember science
    misdeeds
  • Informed consent is what stands against the power
    science and the state
  • Codes , norms and regulation protect science

6
Controversial because it touches on essential
human concerns
  • Blood
  • Sex
  • Animals
  • Power
  • Fate
  • This is what is meant by playing God

7
Controversial because issues also engage
Religious Thought
  • Conception
  • Suffering
  • Healing
  • Death
  • Resurrection

8
A special American ChallengeMoral Status
  • We will not agree, for this is a religious
    question with significant differences and a
    history of dissent
  • We will not agree, for Americans historically
    disagree about moral status issues
  • Pragmatism evolved from failure to find a
    coherent ideology (no null position)

9
Moral status and other liminalities
  • What is a slave?
  • What is an immigrant?
  • What is a woman?
  • What is a dying person?
  • What is a minimally conscious person?

10
Medicine always challenges and reframes suffering
  • Anesthesia introduced to controversy
  • Vaccines introduced to controversy

11
We really differ on some things
  • Arguments against stem cell research

12
1. To destroy an embryo is murder
  • Once the sperm and egg meet and form a new DNA,
    the entire self has a blueprint and a plan. Our
    bodies begin at the moment that our DNA is
    assembled.

13
2. Dignity toward the most vulnerable
  • Our dignity requires this intactness is
    identity. This moral status means that most of
    all, destroying human embryos is always wrong,
    but also that any deliberate approach to the DNA
    of any creature is wrong as well.
  • Touching or changing the DNA alters the essence
    of being and creation itself

14
3. Nature is fixed.
  • Naturehuman nature and the nature of the green
    and living worldis fixed, for it has borders
    that cannot be broached without violation.
  • Species boundaries are particularly important to
    keep intact.

15
4. Nature is normative
  • Nature is normative, (meaning it suggests rules
    and laws) and morally good, if left free
  • It will express itself in a primal harmony that
    our use, and our machines, threatens.
  • There is an order to nature that is inherently
    wise and self-correcting
  • Gaia theory, Natural Law

16
5.Suffering is the main thing that defines our
species
  • Suffering and its noble acceptance is the great
    teacher of our need and of our love. Without
    suffering, we would become soulless.

17
6. Slopes are slippery
  • Very slipperyif we begin to create or use a
    technology, there will be no way to stop it from
    being used for ever larger and progressively more
    trivial or common purposes.

18
7. Dual Use is Inevitable
  • Evil people will turn what you make for goodeven
    great goodinto bad uses.
  • Such technology will give unprecedented power
    which could enslave us.
  • The history of our species included genocidal
    actions.

19
8. Mistakes are inevitable
  • Mongoose in Hawaii, Sparrows in North America,
    etc.

20
9. Playing God
  • New technologies are really an effort to live
    forever
  • Death defines us, and this technology is intended
    toand mightlead to immortality.

21
10. You cannot trust scientists
  • They lie (Korea)
  • They engage is false advertising (cold fusion)
  • They exaggerate
  • In every science fiction story, they are rather
    crazy

22
11.The Marketplace will distort science
  • The mix of marketplace and science is troubling
  • The very success implied -widespread
    applicationsshould alert us.Even good
    scientists will be tempted by profits promised by
    Big Pharma.
  • Conflicts of interest will alter the integrity
    of science

23
12. An Unfair World
  • How will the goods created be distributed?
  • We should only be working on social solutions not
    hi-tech ones
  • Classes of haves and have-nots will worsen.

24
What can be said about these challenges?
  • 3 things we know are true

25
1. All of these claims have some real validity
  • First, all of them are more than trivially
    correct, and any sensible person could agree with
    many of these statements.
  • Trouble begins here is their extremity when taken
    to their logical conclusion. (yes, slopes are
    slippery, but they are not impossibly slippery,
    just to give one example)

26
3. All of these claims are faith based
  • All of these are profoundly religious statements.
  • They are statements of faith, world view and
    eschatology, not of moral arguments.
  • As such, they will notcannotbe entirely agreed
    upon in a pluralistic democracy.
  • Like many faith claims in our world, they are
    eschatological in nature

27
2. These claims create new political alliances
  • Second, not every one makes every claim some
    emerge politically from the left, some from the
    right.

28
Argument I UtilitarianThat the more we learn
about this
29
The better able we are to relieve human suffering
30
Argument II We Have Duties
  • As in Kantian Moral Imperatives
  • As in Religious Commands

31
The ethical question of stem cell research also
is a deontological question
  • If I have a duty to heal the suffering other,
  • Is it warranted to block the moral action of
    healing to avoid the destruction of a blastocyst?

32
They are long standing differences
  • When does human life begin?
  • Aristotle when menstrual blood congeals -40 days
  • Judaism40 d, quickening, showing, birth
  • Islam-when bones knit., 120 days
  • Buddhistlife like a flame
  • Hindudevelopmental
  • Christian traditions until 1859- 40 days

33
. Which is most natural?
34
III. Which is most natural?
35
Major Ethical Problem
Moral status Duty to Heal Make to destroy Tx of donors nature justice Hype mistakes Free Inquiry
Secular x x x
Judaism x x x x
Islam x x x
Buddhist x
Hindu x x
Lib Prot x x x x
Fem/Sp x x x x x
Ev Prot x x
R Cath x x x x x
36
Moral Status
Un- EnableDe Novo Like any Other Other Faiths Spec Entity Has Inheren Dignity Worthy Of Respec Not For No gene alter Hum Life Very Small person Most Vulner Among us
Secular x x
Judaism x
Islam x
Buddh x x x
Hindu x x x
Lib Prot x x x x x
Fem/Sp x x
Ev Prot x x
R Cath x x x
37
Justification
Expand Human Know For other uses For Enhance Heal Via Med Res. Heal When proven Heal Severe disease To save life Other Wise Fatal Infant Under No circ Really!not Even IVF
Secular x x
Judaism x
Islam x
Buddh x x x
Hindu x x x
Lib Prot x x x x x
Fem/Sp x x
Ev Prot x x
R Cath x x x
38
What is the right act, what makes it so? Some
ways to figure it out?
  • Utilityhow it will turn out?
  • Virtueswhat it makes of us as a society?
  • Duties what have we promised to do?

39
Healing defines Humanity
  • The teacher/ philosopher Emmanuel Levinas gives
    an idea
  • Our duty to one another is the constant subject
    of a good lifein teaching, medical research or
    science.

40
End with agreements in a contentious time!
  • We are at a crossroads in world history
  • Science research is like free speech
  • But some limits or guidelines are needed.
    Science is always witnessed speech
  • Be carefulattend to safety concerns
  • Be gooddo not take bribes
  • Do no harmdont deceive or hurt
  • Tell the truth
  • Try not to make errors
  • .

41
But dont forget disagreements are important!
Remember Socrates!
  • Justice as foundationalFair play, good rules,
    foul lines
  • Observation of everythingtest and watch
  • Public funding means public debate and oversight
  • And TEACHING happens in the middle of the public
    square

42
Thanks to
  • Northwestern University John Kessler, Douglas
    Losordo, Holly Falk-Krzesinski, Dean
    Grosshandler, Latonia Trimuel
  • Leroy Walters, Baruch Brody, Jon Moreno
  • Al Jonson, Karen Lebacqz, Mike Mendiola, Ernle
    Young, Ted Peters
  • Suzanne Holland, Dena Davis, John Lantos, Shimon
    Glick, Noam Zohar, Robert Gibbs, Elliott Dorff,
  • Roger Pederson, Ron McKay, Doug Melton, Len Zon,
    David Anderson, Larry Goldstein, Irv Weisman,
    John Gearhart, Tom Okarma, Seth Morrison,
    Stephen, Desidario, Brigid Hogan
  • Emmanuel Levinas
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