July 16, 2010

CBHD Beyond Therapy Bioethics Conference

The 17th Annual Conference on Bioethics opened with Dr. William Hurlbut speaking on Embodiment, Biotechnology and Human Dignity. In it, he reminded the crowd that "bioethics is not a profession, it is a conversation for the whole human family"and the physician is really only "nature's assistant." For Dr. Hurlbut, human dignity is most evident in the face of Christ. Not in keeping with a proper view of human mortality, he quoted the mission of those for an unfettered biotech future. William Haseltine, head of Human Genome Sciences, stated: “The real goal is to keep people alive forever.”

Dr Brent Waters of Garrett Theological Seminary spoke on Late Modern Medicine and Bioethics, drawing our attention to the Creator-creation distinction and reminding us that it is good to be a creature, but being a creature comes with limitations that should be embraced, not overcome.
It is good to be a creature. To be a creature requires that we have a beginning and an end. A creature depends on its creator and fellow creatures. Our creaturely status reminds us that we are not God. When we tend to ignore our status as creatures, we tend to view ourselves as self-made beings.
In Being Human in a World of Digitized Reality and Artificial Life, Dr. Mike Sleasman, Managing Director of CBHD, walked us through the technological forecasts of Sir Robert Boyle and Sir Arthur C. Clarke, contemplating those things yet to be achieved. Sleasman well-articulated the problem of the "consumer doctrine of planned obsolescence."

To conclude the day, Dr. Dorothy Roberts of Northwestern University discussed Race and the New Biocitizen. In this very interesting talk, she  drew attention to a particular problem of unnecessary correlations between race and genetics, highlighting the FDA statements and marketing of certain phamaceutical to the african-american population.

To obtain recordings of these and other paper presentations, visit The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity for more info. More highlights from the rest of the conference tomorrow!

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