bioethics   1303

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On Assisted Dying And Non-Neutrality
Gerald Dworkin argues that the AMA should support laws permitting VAE.
moral-problems  bioethics  teaching  potential-readings 
7 weeks ago by goodmanbrown
A Controversial Virus Study Shows Flaws in How Science Is Done - The Atlantic
Absent clearer guidelines, the burden falls on the scientific enterprise to self-regulate—and it isn’t set up to do that well. Academia is intensely competitive, and “the drivers are about getting grants and publications, and not necessarily about being responsible citizens,” says Filippa Lentzos from King’s College London, who studies biological threats. This means that scientists often keep their work to themselves for fear of getting scooped by their peers. Their plans only become widely known once they’ve already been enacted, and the results are ready to be presented or published. This lack of transparency creates an environment where people can almost unilaterally make decisions that could affect the entire world.

Take the horsepox study [the main topic of this article]. Evans was a member of a World Health Organization committee that oversees smallpox research, but he only told his colleagues about the experiment after it was completed. He sought approval from biosafety officers at his university, and had discussions with Canadian federal agencies, but it’s unclear if they had enough ethical expertise to fully appreciate the significance of the experiment. “It’s hard not to feel like he opted for agencies that would follow the letter of the law without necessarily understanding what they were approving,” says Kelly Hills, a bioethicist at Rogue Bioethics.

She also sees a sense of impulsive recklessness in the interviews that Evans gave earlier this year. Science reported that he did the experiment “in part to end the debate about whether recreating a poxvirus was feasible.” And he told NPR that “someone had to bite the bullet and do this.” To Hills, that sounds like I did it because I could do it. “We don’t accept those arguments from anyone above age 6,” she says.
the-atlantic  science  news  smallpox  horsepox  diseases  danger  risk  academia  papers  publish-or-perish  bioethics  ethics  biology  genetics 
8 weeks ago by jm
The Crisis of Everyday Life / Yuval Levin (The New Atlantis, Fall 2004/Winter)
“Under crisis conditions, we allow ourselves to do things we would never otherwise contemplate. In triage mode, we ruthlessly select among the living to help those who have the best chance at survival. For the sake of saving life, even the most observant Jew can violate the Sabbath. But if life is always at risk and we are always in crisis, then we must always do things that moral contemplation would suggest are wrong. If we are always in a mode of triage, then we must always choose the strong over the weak because they have a better chance at benefiting from our help. And if we must always be engaged in saving life, then we are always justified in breaking the Sabbath, so that in effect there is no Sabbath, no time for rest and contemplation of the truth. Indeed, there is no everyday life at all, against which times of urgency might be measured. There is only the struggle, only the crisis.”
YuvalLevin  TheNewAtlantis  StemCells  Bioethics 
july 2018 by cbearden

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