Meet the leading thinkers in bioethics today, who are pondering the morality of our capabilities in medical science. Part 1/5.
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MaryLynn: For most of the last millennium, the discipline of philosophy, ethics, and morality struggled with questions such as, what is goodness? What is truth? What is right? And what is wrong? Today, answering these questions as they apply for developments in bio-medical science are more critical than ever. Because we face possibilities and decisions that human beings have never before had to consider and will forever alter the very nature of human life. Welcome to Matter and Beyond, I'm your host MaryLynn Schiavi. In the following program, we're going to explore the new discipline of bio-ethics and the issues being explored in this field including genetic testing and engineering, and the ethics and morality involved in the distribution of life saving medicines and technologies. We're going to hear from some of the leading thinkers in bio-ethics today who are pondering the morality of our capabilities in medical science that have until recently only existed in science fiction. Male: The mission of a bio-ethical committee is to guide the development and the use of bio-medical technology appropriately. These committees consists of people from various fields, medical, biology, physics, as well as sociology, ethics, and religion. Dr. Polkinghorne, who has been internationally recognized for his contribution to the study of theology and science work with medical ethics committees around the world. According to Dr.Polkinghorne, there is an earnest desire on the part of those who served on these committees to be guided and to make the most ethical choices. Dr.Polkinghorne: I was working with all these committees and medical genetics, of course I'm just a physicist, I'm not an expert there. But my impression was the experts on the committees were genuinely anxious to have advice and genuinely looking to be guided and helped to find the right thing to do to make the right use of the discoveries they were making. Male: The Reverend Doctor John Polkinghorne was awarded Templeton Prize for Science and Religion and the Vonhamble Foundation Award in 1999. He is the founding president of the International Society for Science and Religion, and he is one of the founders of the Society of Ordained Scientists. For Dr.Polkinghorne, drawing upon the philosophical, moral, and ethical thinking is more necessary than ever. Dr.Polkinghorne: People are always ends and never means, that people are never to be use instrumentally, but only for their own good or fulfillment as far as you can descend. That’s a very important guiding principle. And the more, of course, science and medical science gains, the ability to manipulate life in various ways could be use in certain types of individual and so on. And the danger is that you are instrumentalizing human life. Male: Trained as a moral philosopher, Dr. Mark Aulisio is associate professor of bio-ethics and the director of clinical programs and of the Master of Arts program in bio-ethics at Case Western University. He is also the director of the Center for Bio-Medical Ethics at Mental Health Medical Center. He earned his master’s and doctorate at Boeing Green State University. Doctor Aulisio served as project director and principal investigator on extending the intercultural clinical bio-ethics dialogue. Ethics committee and consultation policy in the United States and Japan. He has authored over 50 publications in clinical ethics, ethics consultation, and related areas. Dr. Aulisio: I became interested in bio-ethics when I was in high school. I went to a Roman Catholic high school. I was very religious. And especially I was interested in end of life issues, beginning of life issues and issues related to sexual morality. Male: According to Dr. Aulisio, the study and application of bio-ethics serves a critical role to guide us to push the limits of what we know and what we can do in science and technology. Dr. Aulisio: Ultimately scientific endeavor is a human endeavor. And if it’s a human endeavor,