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Course Feature: Bioethics in Daily Life

Bioethics in Daily Life is intended to introduce students to bioethical issues that are encountered in everyday life through the popular media. This course will provide students with an understanding of the scientific basis of these issues in order to develop informed opinions. 1) For instance, what are the issues with genetic testing and ‘designer babies’? Do we understand the human genome sufficiently to choose particular genes and traits for the next generation? Should this technology be available to whoever can afford it? Scientific advances, such as CRISPR/Cas9, now provide the means to modify the genome with a high level of precision so these questions will become more and more relevant. 2) Another issue is animal experimentation. Do the many medical advances based on animal experimentation justify such use of animals? What do we understand about animal cognition and how does such information influence our opinion on animal experimentation? 3) What about artificial intelligence? Can we go too far with this technology? What does it mean to be human? 4) Another issue concerns the right to die or the withdrawal of life-saving devices. Do our rights include one to die or do we have a responsibility to survive at all costs? What can we learn from people who have made such decisions? Does our position on this issue also reflect a judgment on the quality of life of disabled persons?