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Laboratory Limits that are not Limits

Laboratory researchers have been able to extend the time they can keep a human embryo alive in the lab from nine days to 13 days. Now many are asking, “Why not go beyond the 14-day-post-fertilization limit that has governed this research to date?” Why, indeed? If the embryonic human being—in . . . . Continue Reading »

Euthanasia by Organ Harvesting

Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder.—Leon Kass The ethics of medicine aren’t what they used to be. Sanctity of life? That’s so passé. The Hippocratic Oath? Fuggettaboudit! The modern healthcare system is expected to embrace properly utilitarian perspectives.Take . . . . Continue Reading »

The Very Autonomous Steven Pinker

In May, Steven Pinker published in the New Republic a jeremiad against dignity as a tool of thought in bioethics. Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard, works at the interface of cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and psychology. He is, like most of that kind of psychologist, a . . . . Continue Reading »

Worrying About the "Bioethics Crisis."

An article has been published in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) entitled “Bioethics Crisis Looms Unless NIH Changes Course, Critics Warn,” byline Richard Monastersky. Bioethics crisis? Apparently, practitioners believe we need more bioethicists to tell us what . . . . Continue Reading »

Clueless Bioethicists at JAMA

Sometimes I think that to some bioethicists, it’s all a mind game. The latest example is an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are on a hunger strike, and the authors are upset because army doctors are helping to force feed them. . . . . Continue Reading »

Between Beasts and God

Near the beginning of the twenty-fourth and last Book of Homer’s Iliad, called by Simone Weil “the only true epic” the West possesses, even the gods—detached as they are in their bliss from all sufferings—have seen enough. Achilles has become inhuman. Ignoring our animal nature, our . . . . Continue Reading »

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