Bioethics @ TIU

Human gene editing marches on

Posted October 5th, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

Nature has recently carried two new reports of human gene editing.  In one, embryos donated from an IVF clinic had a gene critical to very early development altered, to study what happens when you do that, and try to understand early human development more than we now do.  In the other, scientists studied editing of an abnormal recessive gene, specifically the one causing a type… // Read More »

Is Obfuscation Ever Helpful in Science or Ethics?

Posted October 3rd, 2017 by Mark McQuain

Obfuscation and science would seem to be polar opposites. The scientific method hinges upon correctly identifying what one starts with, making a single known alteration in that starting point, and then accurately determining what one ends up with. Scientific knowledge results from this process. Accidental obfuscation in that three-step process necessarily limits the knowledge that could potentially be gleaned from the method. Peer review normally… // Read More »

Search and destroy—or at least, select

Posted August 17th, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

This week’s issue of Nature carries a feature article on the explosion of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in China.  Because women are having children later in life, partly because of relaxation of the old one-child policy; because Chinese culture sees it as a duty to seek to bear healthy children; because some Chinese want to try to enable their kids to exploit some features of… // Read More »

The goal of human embryonic gene editing is enhancement

Posted August 2nd, 2017 by Steve Phillips

As Jon Holmlund reported in his post last week, research on the editing of genes in human embryos is now being conducted in the United States. The door to doing this research was opened by the consensus report on Human Genome Editing published by the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year. That report encouraged the pursuit of research on gene editing in human embryos… // Read More »

Human genetic editing (engineering) is here

Posted July 27th, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

A “hat tip” again to Wesley Smith, who at the National Review Online blog, provided a link to this week’s report in the MIT Technology Review that the first editing of genes in human embryos in the US is underway—and apparently not yet formally published—at an academic center in Portland, Oregon.  Similar efforts have been undertaken in China, but US scientists have been a little… // Read More »

The need for Christians to make distinctively biblical moral decisions

Posted July 5th, 2017 by Steve Phillips

I am continuing to reflect on the recent CBHD conference. One of the paper presentations I attended was related to the role of Christian faith and the church in decisions about fertility treatments. Heather Prior and an associate are doing research on how Christian couples in their community make decisions about treatments for infertility including such things as IVF. In the preliminary results she was… // Read More »

IVF and respect for the dignity of human life

Posted June 28th, 2017 by Steve Phillips

This past Thursday through Saturday I was at the CBHD summer conference which was focused on genetic and reproductive technologies. One of the sessions that I found most interesting was the final session on Saturday in which representatives of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions of the Christian church discussed how their traditions view reproductive technology with a focus on in vitro fertilization. The… // Read More »

Voltaire and Alternative Definitions

Posted June 19th, 2017 by Mark McQuain

“If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.” How many a debate would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms! This is the alpha and omega of logic, the heart and soul of it, that every important term in serious discourse shall be subjected to strictest scrutiny and definition. It is difficult, and… // Read More »

Inherent Problems with Commercial Surrogacy in India

Posted June 18th, 2017 by Philip Thompson

The degree to which financial incentives can muddle ethical deliberation and practice is evident in the commercial surrogacy trade in Indian. For years, “rent-a-womb” services to foreigners has been “big business” indeed, generating nearly $1 billion annually. Would-be Western parents, many from the U.K. and Scandinavia, argue that commercial surrogacy arrangements are a win-win situation for everyone. They get the baby they’ve longed for and… // Read More »

Educating the church about how to think about bioethics

Posted June 14th, 2017 by Steve Phillips

Janie Valentine’s post on Monday about a Christian health sharing ministry considering the surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancy to be the moral equivalent of abortion points out a major concern related to the church and bioethics. This is particularly a concern regarding the evangelical Protestant church and bioethics. With its hierarchical structure the Roman Catholic Church has a way of connecting the well considered thoughts… // Read More »