The FDA is considering approving an experiment to repair a genetic disease in humans by creating embryos with DNA from three parents. Genes would be transferred from a healthy human egg to one that has a disease and the “repaired” egg then fertilized in the hope that a healthy baby will result. The goal of the experiment in genetic engineering is not a perfect baby but a healthy baby.
Thirteen-year-old Jahi McMath died on Dec. 12 at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. Yet about a month later, Jahi is still on a ventilator because her parents refuse to accept her death. Aided by a misguided legal decision, she has been moved to another facility to be kept on artificial life support, which makes no medical or moral sense. What’s being done to her corpse is wrong, but a bigger issue is the threat her case poses to the rational and moral use of health care resources.
Genetically modified food has had a rough year in what has been a fairly miserable decade. In August, 400 farmers in the Philippines stormed a government-owned GM (as it is known) research field. The protesters destroyed 1,000 square meters of Golden Rice, a variety genetically engineered to cut down on vitamin A deficiency.
Arthur Caplan, renowned bioethicist, presents simply brilliant argumentation that aging is an unnatural process in this paper. It’s a must-read. I’d love to highlight the main thoughts that I find are profoundly important for the whole fighting aging field.
The mass murder of 20 children and six adults Friday in Newtown, Conn., has provoked yet another round of recrimination, finger pointing and breast-beating. Was the shooter mentally deranged? If there was more gun control, would this have happened? Did violent video games play any role? What we fervently want as we continue to reel from a story whose misery seems to know no bounds is to find a clear cause - a reason why this happened - so that we can fix it.
Right now, nearly 114,000 people in the United States are waiting for organ transplants to save their lives. Tens of thousands more are in need of tissue, bone and cornea transplants to restore their mobility or sight. Facebook has decided to do something about the constant shortage of donors.
The German Medical Association has issued a remarkably blunt and straightforward apology, more than six decades after the end of World War II, for the role it played during the Holocaust in the mass murder, sterilization and barbaric medical experiments done on Jews and many other groups.
Lots of Americans buy the argument that we should ration health care according to lifestyle. So do many employers who are trying to charge their obese employees more for health insurance. But if we are going to penalizing the health care sinners amongst us, shouldn’t we target all of those who raise our collective health care bill through poor lifestyle choices? This means you, cat owners.
Professor Sylvia Law, a noted legal scholar, argued that “a core feminist claim is that women and men should be treated as individuals, not as members of a sexually determined class.” This is also a theme that Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg emphasized in her lawsuits as a women’s rights advocate: “Nurturing children in my ideal world would not be a woman’s priority, it would be a human priority.” This feminism rejects sex-based differences among people as wholly irrelevant to any socioeconomic purpose. As Simone de Beauvoir noted some four decades ago: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”
If the law does bend and reform itself to eliminate the legal separation of people into males and females, what will become of sex-separate lavatories? Do not the genitals of a citizenry become a proper interest of the state when it comes to exercising excretory functions in public buildings? Is not the public restroom, with its separate urinals for men and makeup mirrors for women, proof that the apartheid of sex is necessary?
The third criterion of life, Transcendence, requires a potential life form to demonstrate that it can extend itself beyond its information processing capability to serve the purpose of life. A fair test for Transcendence is compliance with the Second and Third Principles of Geoethics – the Principles of Equilibria and Assurance. (Part 4 of Hybriduality and Geoethics)
To avoid confusion we need a new, more appropriate term for the study of life than biology – which is now more properly understood as the study of life built from organic cellular chemistry. A better term for the study of life is Vitology.
Biology is said to be the study of life. But this is not really true. In fact, biology is only the study of some kinds of life. Biology, as practiced today, studies living things that are deemed similar to human life in one particular aspect – the possession of organic cellular chemistry characteristics. These characteristics are the use of six atoms (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur) to form molecules that build cellular membranes, metabolize nutrients and self-replicate in accordance with a chemical code. (part 2 of Hybriduality and Geoethics)
Contrary to what we’ve been taught, and contrary to what we fervently believe to be true, there is not just one I. We are not individuals; we are hybriduals. Each of us is a compound, collective, hybrid being.
I’m going to examine the intertwined histories of the rights of artificial life and civil rights as seen through the eyes of Mary Shelley. Of course, Mary Shelley is not here to lend us her eyes, but I hope she won’t be too angry about my interpretation of her story.
Once in a long while the price of the truth is simply too high to let scientists disclose their findings publicly. That is so when it comes to publishing detailed information about dangerous viruses and microbes.
The morning-after pill known as Plan B is steeped in controversy again. The Department of Health and Human Services has taken the rare step of overruling the Food and Drug Administration and its science advisors and will not allow the pill to be sold over the counter in drugstores unless a woman can prove she is older than 17.
A fundamental principle of bioethics requires the consent of a patient to any medical procedure performed upon them. A new patient will exist the moment a conscious mindclone arises in some academic’s laboratory or hacker’s garage. At that moment, ethical rules will be challenged, for the mindclone has not consented to the work being done on eir mind. Does this situation create a catch-22 ethical embargo against developing cyber-consciousness?
1987 was the first year in which one billion people boarded airline flights. In that year the world’s population hit 5 billion, meaning approximately 20% of all people experienced a fantastic luxury not available to history’s wealthiest monarchs. By 2005 two billion people were boarding airliners each year, and the world’s population had grown to 6.5 billion. In the short span of years between 1987 and 2005, airline flight grew from being a right of 20% to a right of 31% of humanity, from barely a fifth to almost a third. Even assuming more frequent flights by the wealthier, this is startling evidence of the democratization of technology.
In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, rescue workers found 128 elderly people abandoned by medical staff at a hospital six miles from the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The tsunami also killed nearly half the 113 residents at a retirement home in Kesennuma. Eleven of those who lived died of exposure, and the other 53 are in a shelter with only kerosene heaters to keep them warm in near-freezing condition.
It can’t be. Even a so-called “identical twin” is not an identical twin. Even if one’s DNA is the same as another person, as with identical twins, there are differences in terms of when particular genes within that DNA are turned on and off.