What is Bioethics?

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Richard Taylor
Richard Taylor's picture
What is Bioethics?

Bioethics concerns the relationships between biology, medicine, cybernetics, politics, law, ethics, philosophy, and theology. Disagreement exists about the proper scope for the application of ethical evaluation to questions involving biology. Some bioethicists would narrow ethical evaluation only to the morality of medical treatments or technological innovations, and the timing of medical treatment of humans. Other bioethicists would broaden the scope of ethical evaluation to include the morality of all actions that might help or harm organisms capable of feeling fear and pain. Bioethics involves many public policy questions that are often politicized-used to mobilize political constituencies.

Issues

Bioethics issues include:

* Abortion, reproductive rights
* Artificial insemination
* Artificial life
* Biopiracy
* Circumcision
* Confidentiality of medical records and their abuse in interrogation of prisoners
* Contraception
* Cloning
* Cryogenics
* Direct mind-computer interface
* Donating one's sperm or eggs
* Donated organs when bought illegally (transplant trade)
* Fair allocation of donated organs, class and race biases
* Drug pricing, HIV/AIDs drugs in Sub-Saharan Africa
* Genetic engineering, genetically modified food crops
* Genomics
* Homosexuality
* Human cloning
* Medical torture
* Non-human animal cloning
* Immortality
* Treating infertility
* Obligations of the individual, corporate employer, local, sub-national or national state and global community to provide health care and/or health insurance.
* Primate rights under law
* Stem cell cloning
* Suicide, assisted suicide and human euthanasia
* Non-human animal euthanasia
* Pain management
* Parthenogenesis
* Population control
* Recreational drug use
* Scientific ignorance
* Selling one's own blood or blood plasma
* Spiritual drug use
* Transexuality
* When to use, and when to withhold, life-support
* When to use, and when to withhold, artificial hydration and artificial nutrition
* Use of surrogate mothers
* Use of nanotechnology as medical treatment
* Use of artificial wombs
* Treating non-human animals
* Medical research on non-human animals

Bioethicists focus on using philosophy to help analyze said concerns, though bioethics is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary.

Religious bioethicists have developed rules and guidelines on how to deal with these issues from within the viewpoint of their respective faiths.

Some secular bioethicists are critical to the fact that these are usually religious scholars without an degree or training in disciplines that pertain to the issues, such as philosophy (wherein the study of ethics is usually found), biology or medicine.

Most religious bioethicists are Jewish or Christian scholars. However a small number of religious scholars from other religions have recently become involved in this field as well. Islamic clerics have begun to write on this topic. Muslim bioethicists include Abdulaziz Sachedina, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. There has been some criticism by liberal Muslims that only the more religiously conservative voices in Islam are being heard on this issue. Buddhist bioethicists have focused much of their concern on organ transplantation.

Text from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioethics Released under the GNU free documentation licence.

roudi
roudi's picture
I read all the issues

I read all the issues written by Richard Taylor and surprisingly I can agree with many of them such as: human cloning and assisted suicide. With changes in technology and way of living some of the old ethic rules- influenced mostly by religion- must change.
I am sure they are many people thinking like me, are they?

Neil Custer
Neil Custer's picture
Yes, I agree with you.

Yes, I agree with you. Religion has in the past played a large role in determing what is "ethical" vs. what is not. I also agree that this must change.

Individual societies are becoming much more diverse around the globe, not to mention the global society as a whole-- in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, culture, gender, etc. These all play a role in what determines one's value system, their individual "morals". Considering the many life-saving, life-changing technologies that are on the verge of evolving the human condition to the next level, the global society as a whole cannot allow this almost infinitely varied collection of strongly held personal convictions (opinions) to direct how we will implement these technologies.

The "ethics" in "bioethics" is derived from "moral judgement". The word "moral" is defined as "relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior". What is the definition of "right and wrong" is based on the many influencing factors listed earlier (race, culture, religion, nationality, etc.). Furthermore, professional ethics are a guiding philosophy. These are the principles of conduct governing the actions an individual or a group. While I cannot deny that the United States was founded on many strongly held religious beliefs, so were many other countries and cultures that were founded on DIFFERENT religious beliefs. One must also consider that the value systems in our societies are ever-changing.

I've maintain for several years that it is important for scientists to consider that "morals", while based in religion for some, are not for all. I consider morals to be the consummate total of the value system an individual or group holds as the guiding justification for their behavior. I know many scientists that are deeply caring, concerned and ethical professionals that are atheist, agnostic, or some combination of the two. However, while many who have their morals deeply rooted in religion will consider some scientists' approaches to new technologies as "amoral", the global society must begin to recognize this as religious grand-standing, because there is no such thing as "amoral": meaning, without morals. As a professional scientist who does not believe in "creationism" or "intelligent design", I do not want to have my professional direction dictated by any individual or group who has a value system different from my own scientific-based belief structure.

Saba Butt
Saba Butt's picture
This is a complete overview

This is a complete overview of bioethics. I agree that all the issue should be included in all research.Richard Taylor wrote:

Bioethics concerns the relationships between biology, medicine, cybernetics, politics, law, ethics, philosophy, and theology. Disagreement exists about the proper scope for the application of ethical evaluation to questions involving biology. Some bioethicists would narrow ethical evaluation only to the morality of medical treatments or technological innovations, and the timing of medical treatment of humans. Other bioethicists would broaden the scope of ethical evaluation to include the morality of all actions that might help or harm organisms capable of feeling fear and pain. Bioethics involves many public policy questions that are often politicized-used to mobilize political constituencies.

Issues

Bioethics issues include:

* Abortion, reproductive rights
* Artificial insemination
* Artificial life
* Biopiracy
* Circumcision
* Confidentiality of medical records and their abuse in interrogation of prisoners
* Contraception
* Cloning
* Cryogenics
* Direct mind-computer interface
* Donating one's sperm or eggs
* Donated organs when bought illegally (transplant trade)
* Fair allocation of donated organs, class and race biases
* Drug pricing, HIV/AIDs drugs in Sub-Saharan Africa
* Genetic engineering, genetically modified food crops
* Genomics
* Homosexuality
* Human cloning
* Medical torture
* Non-human animal cloning
* Immortality
* Treating infertility
* Obligations of the individual, corporate employer, local, sub-national or national state and global community to provide health care and/or health insurance.
* Primate rights under law
* Stem cell cloning
* Suicide, assisted suicide and human euthanasia
* Non-human animal euthanasia
* Pain management
* Parthenogenesis
* Population control
* Recreational drug use
* Scientific ignorance
* Selling one's own blood or blood plasma
* Spiritual drug use
* Transexuality
* When to use, and when to withhold, life-support
* When to use, and when to withhold, artificial hydration and artificial nutrition
* Use of surrogate mothers
* Use of nanotechnology as medical treatment
* Use of artificial wombs
* Treating non-human animals
* Medical research on non-human animals

Bioethicists focus on using philosophy to help analyze said concerns, though bioethics is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary.

Religious bioethicists have developed rules and guidelines on how to deal with these issues from within the viewpoint of their respective faiths.

Some secular bioethicists are critical to the fact that these are usually religious scholars without an degree or training in disciplines that pertain to the issues, such as philosophy (wherein the study of ethics is usually found), biology or medicine.

Most religious bioethicists are Jewish or Christian scholars. However a small number of religious scholars from other religions have recently become involved in this field as well. Islamic clerics have begun to write on this topic. Muslim bioethicists include Abdulaziz Sachedina, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. There has been some criticism by liberal Muslims that only the more religiously conservative voices in Islam are being heard on this issue. Buddhist bioethicists have focused much of their concern on organ transplantation.

Text from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioethics Released under the GNU free documentation licence.

samm
samm's picture
I guess these concepts MUST

I guess these concepts MUST reach a more "lay" audience - the general junta so to speak. While the average "man on the street" to use a cliche can be surprisingly well informed at times, political interests can often skew the picture. The current debate on teaching of evolutionary concepts, and their "warping"; and the fragmentation of US states' policy in the matter of stem cell research (some are all for banninng it, others are pouring many millions into the field) are good cases in point.

Suggestions anyone?

gerald_danao
gerald_danao's picture
This issues in bioethics fall

This issues in bioethics fall down into who is talking (i.e. a true scientist vs a practicing scientist) and for what or whom they are talking (i.e. punto de vistas between science and religion or in combination). The truth is that we cannot put ideas of different point of views into one solid "truth".
Anyway, I do belive until now that the science of medicine is still in a condition of infancy; it has not reached maturity. I therefore conclude that this science will reach its perfection only when cures are performed by things which are not repulsive to human senses as well as morality.

jstaylor
jstaylor's picture
sbutt wrote:This is a

sbutt wrote:

This is a complete overview of bioethics. I agree that all the issue should be included in all research.Richard Taylor wrote:
Bioethics concerns the relationships between biology, medicine, cybernetics, politics, law, ethics, philosophy, and theology. Disagreement exists about the proper scope for the application of ethical evaluation to questions involving biology. Some bioethicists would narrow ethical evaluation only to the morality of medical treatments or technological innovations, and the timing of medical treatment of humans. Other bioethicists would broaden the scope of ethical evaluation to include the morality of all actions that might help or harm organisms capable of feeling fear and pain. Bioethics involves many public policy questions that are often politicized-used to mobilize political constituencies.

Issues

Bioethics issues include:

* Abortion, reproductive rights
* Artificial insemination
* Artificial life
* Biopiracy
* Circumcision
* Confidentiality of medical records and their abuse in interrogation of prisoners
* Contraception
* Cloning
* Cryogenics
* Direct mind-computer interface
* Donating one's sperm or eggs
* Donated organs when bought illegally (transplant trade)
* Fair allocation of donated organs, class and race biases
* Drug pricing, HIV/AIDs drugs in Sub-Saharan Africa
* Genetic engineering, genetically modified food crops
* Genomics
* Homosexuality
* Human cloning
* Medical torture
* Non-human animal cloning
* Immortality
* Treating infertility
* Obligations of the individual, corporate employer, local, sub-national or national state and global community to provide health care and/or health insurance.
* Primate rights under law
* Stem cell cloning
* Suicide, assisted suicide and human euthanasia
* Non-human animal euthanasia
* Pain management
* Parthenogenesis
* Population control
* Recreational drug use
* Scientific ignorance
* Selling one's own blood or blood plasma
* Spiritual drug use
* Transexuality
* When to use, and when to withhold, life-support
* When to use, and when to withhold, artificial hydration and artificial nutrition
* Use of surrogate mothers
* Use of nanotechnology as medical treatment
* Use of artificial wombs
* Treating non-human animals
* Medical research on non-human animals

Bioethicists focus on using philosophy to help analyze said concerns, though bioethics is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary.

Religious bioethicists have developed rules and guidelines on how to deal with these issues from within the viewpoint of their respective faiths.

Some secular bioethicists are critical to the fact that these are usually religious scholars without an degree or training in disciplines that pertain to the issues, such as philosophy (wherein the study of ethics is usually found), biology or medicine.

Most religious bioethicists are Jewish or Christian scholars. However a small number of religious scholars from other religions have recently become involved in this field as well. Islamic clerics have begun to write on this topic. Muslim bioethicists include Abdulaziz Sachedina, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. There has been some criticism by liberal Muslims that only the more religiously conservative voices in Islam are being heard on this issue. Buddhist bioethicists have focused much of their concern on organ transplantation.

Text from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioethics Released under the GNU free documentation licence.

With respect, that's not a complete overview of bioethics. It omits, for example, euthanasia, and the morality of using markets to procure and/or distribute human organs or tissues.

I should note that I am wary of wikipedia, since it's not a peer-reviewed rescource. As such, there's no gaurantee of its quality.

Arefeh
Arefeh's picture
As a Muslim scientist, I

As a Muslim scientist, I think our religion can accept new issues much easier than other religions as much as I know. many issues such as

* Abortion, reproductive rights
* Artificial insemination
* Contraception
* Cryogenics
* Genetic engineering, genetically modified food crops
* Genomics
* Treating infertility
* Obligations of the individual, corporate employer, local, sub-national or national state and global community to provide health care and/or health insurance.
* Pain management
* Population control
* When to use, and when to withhold, life-support
* When to use, and when to withhold, artificial hydration and artificial nutrition
* Use of surrogate mothers
* Use of nanotechnology as medical treatment
* Use of artificial wombs
* Treating non-human animals
* Medical research on non-human animals

have been disscussed in Iran by the religous leaders and has been easily accepted (and became legal)as they help human to live easier, which is appreciated by Islam.

Jason King
Jason King's picture
You could argue that many of

You could argue that many of the items in the list are human rights. The second list also looks significantly shorter than the first....17 / 42, and as far as I know artificial insemination and treating infertility problems usually involves male masturbation....which is not easily accepted in the muslim world.