Why does bioethics matter? Starting the conversation

Having recently begun pursuing a master’s degree in bioethics it has come as no surprise to me that I now see bioethical issues and topics wherever I go. Whether it’s the rise of sex-selection abortions in India and China, Syria’s use of chemical weapons, the continued controversy of Obama Care here in the US, the pros and cons of embryonic stem cell research, or my use of caffeine as a stimulant, I’m confronted with the reality that we live in a world that must daily deal with the ethical implications surrounding life’s beginning, end, and desire to flourish.

DNA medicine bottlesYet this bioethical reality is predominantly ignored by most of us. This is partly understandable in our day and age when we’re bombarded by more issues we can legitimately process on a personal, local, and global scale. We have enough to worry about. Why concern ourselves about bioethical issues on top of everything else? We can leave those topics to the few scientists, ethicists, and theologians it impacts.

Unfortunately, ignoring today’s bioethical challenges is not a viable option. While we may not have the ability or time to fully understand all the issues at hand or delve into their details, we all need to be aware of them and why they matter. Specifically, there are three broad reasons why bioethics matters. These reasons are deeply interrelated, yet also stand alone. Continue reading

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Book Review: Is There Really a Human Race?

Recently I stumbled across a children’s book entitled, Is There Really a Human Race? I was immediately intrigued.  Written by Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell, the book looks at the meaning and purpose of life from the perspective of a race. Questions abound.

“Is there really a human race? When did it start?”

“Who says, ‘Ready, set, go?’ What’s the race like, are there rules; is it fair?”

“Do some win and some lose? What keeps the world going?”

“If I get off track when I take the wrong turn, do I make my way back from mistakes? Why do I do it?”

Like most books for children, the story does not end with the questions, but answers.

“If we don’t help each other, we’re all going to crash.”

“Shouldn’t it be that you just try your best? And that’s more important than beating the rest?”

“Shouldn’t it be looking back at the end you judge your own race by the help that you lend?”

“So take what’s inside you and make big, bold choices. And for those who can’t speak for themselves, use bold voices.”

“And make friends and love well, bring art to this place. And make this world better for the whole human race.” 

This sounds pretty good, right? If we all thought of the other person and became artistic this world would be a better place. While I fully agree that we need to make friends, love well, and have the courage to do the right thing, there are many assumptions in this book that deserve our attention.

Continue reading