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References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: What’s in the Dish? The newly fertilized egg, a corpuscle.

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Presentation on theme: "References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: What’s in the Dish? The newly fertilized egg, a corpuscle."— Presentation transcript:

1 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: What’s in the Dish? The newly fertilized egg, a corpuscle one two-hundredth of an inch in diameter, is not a human being. It is a set of instructions set adrift into the cavity of the womb. -E.O. Wilson We will, slowly and by increments, have gone from stem cells to embryo farms to factories with fetuses hanging (metaphorically) on meat hooks waiting to be cut open and used by the already born. -Charles Krauthammer

2 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Moral Status of the Human Embryo The debate centers on the 2-4 day old human embryo, or blastocyst Does the embryo have a soul? Is it a human being? Is it a person?

3 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Creation

4 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… REVIEW: The Thomson Technique Science, V282: 6 November Thaw IVF embryos 2.Remove the inner cell mass 3.Plate onto inactivated mouse fibroblast feeder layers 4.Embryos are destroyed during this process

5 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… REVIEW: In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) 1)After several weeks of taking hormones, eggs are collected. Each cycle yields between eggs 2)Eggs and sperm are added to complete fertilization 3)Embryos are grown to the blastocyst stage (4 days) 4)A few embryos are transferred to the uterus. Not all embryos survive 5)Spare embryos are frozen for future use Once the parents no longer want embryos, they can 1)Discard them 2)Donate them for research 3)Donate them to another couple (rare)

6 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status Consequentialism The moral consequences of someone’s acts determined by a balancing exercise the right act is the one that gives the best result overall result Utilitarianism (Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill) Calculating the benefits or harms and then adding them together. A moral good is achieved when the benefits outweigh the harms “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Beneficence The moral obligation to act for the benefit of others. Medical research and care is based on this principle.

7 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status Protect the embryo? It is the weakest form of a human being, and has a right to life. Kantian ethics: “Do no harm”: humanity has moral status Do not use people as a mere means to an end Using citizens as human shields during warfare Stealing from a store owner Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end. ” —Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

8 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status Kantian Ethics Commands us to act in certain ways, irrespective of our desires: universal laws based on rational thought: never lie, cheat or steal Predicated on our ability to reason and act as moral agents But children and infants are deserving of protection and respect— are embryos, too? Example: Batten’s disease: a stem cell balancing act

9 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status Notions of sentience, consciousness, and development Sentience The capacity to feel pleasure and pain Personhood Begins around childhood Consciousness Perception, arousal, awareness, one’s identity Human Development Gradual process that includes “being in society”

10 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status The developmental view 1: embryos are persons 1.We were all embryos once 2.Human development is a seamless series of the same person 3.Destroy an embryo = kill a person same person

11 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status Discussion Question: The development view What can biology tell us about development and personhood? 1.Early human development: the neural streak 2.Sentience: First reflex activity 3.Consciousness: ability to use the pronoun “I”

12 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status The human relations view: are embryos persons? Persons are understood to be a part of society 1.George Annas’ “Embryo Rescue” thought experiment 2.Jewish tradition of “like water” prior to 40 days 3.Richard Rorty’s “society deems it” argument 4.Gilbert Mielander’s argument: “a person is simply someone ‘who’”

13 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status Potentiality and The Burden of Proof “The merely possible personhood of the embryo may seem abstract or theoretical in comparison with the concrete hopes for clinical treatments.” But it is proof enough, he says. “[F]or all one knows, they are persons, and should be treated as persons.” - Robert Song

14 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Human Embryo: Moral Status Potentiality and the burden of proof The embryo may become a person someday. It has a potential to be human. We should protect the embryo, because it may become a potential person. If you can’t prove the embryo is not a person, then you should protect it. Discussion Question Is it possible to protect potential people?

15 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Christian views The Vatican and Conservative Catholics God bestows personhood (and a soul) at the moment of conception A unique combination of genes [fertilization] is enough to trigger personhood In 2000, the Vatican wrote that removing the inner cell mass from an embryo “is a gravely immoral act, and consequently is gravely illicit.” Discussion Questions 1)Do we consider identical twins different persons? 1)What other positions has the Catholic Church held over time?

16 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Other Religious Views Judaism Halachah: Jewish religious law and the duty to save a life and heal. Embryonic stem cells must be used. Embryos have no moral status until 40 days old Islam Ensoulment begins sometimes after early embryogenesis; but embryos in IVF clinics may have sanctity Buddhism Cloning is “recycling life” or reincarnation the early embryo not included in early Buddhist texts

17 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Brave New World “(T)he real threat of biotechnology is far more subtle and therefore harder to weigh in any utilitarian calculus. It lies in the possibilities of human cloning, “designer babies”—eugenic selection for intelligence, sex, and personality— and eventually, the end of the human species as such.” - Francis Fukuyama The trouble with biotechnology: “the one-sided triumph of willfulness over giftedness, of dominion over reverence, of molding over beholding.” - Michael Sandel “We ought to act in a beneficent way toward our fellow citizens, but there are many ways of doing that, and medical research can claim no more of us than many other worthy ways of spending our time and resources.” - Dan Callahan

18 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… The Brave New World Brave new world (2): the wisdom of repugnance “We are repelled by the prospect of cloning human beings…because we intuit and feel, immediately and without argument, the violation of things that we rightfully hold dear. Repugnance, here as elsewhere, revolts against the excesses of human willfulness, warning us not to transgress what is unspeakably profound…in which our bodies are regarded as mere instruments of our autonomous rational wills, repugnance may be the only voice left that speaks up to defend the central core of our humanity. Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder.” - Leon Kass

19 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Mini-Activity 1: Understanding Moral Status (Overview) Discuss with a classmate the “moral status” of ONE of the following: 1. A two-day-old human embryo (in vitro) 2. A two-day old human embryo (in vivo) 3. A culture of embryonic stem cells

20 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Mini-Activity 1: Understanding Moral Status (Directions) Include in your pair/group discussion the concepts of sentience, becoming a person, and when life begins. You certainly don’t need to agree, but you need to identify the criteria to use in deciding whether something is a human being, an object, or something in between. Discuss as a class how you determined the moral status of the case you discussed.

21 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Ethical Issues: Concept Mapping Terms Add the key terms/concepts from today’s lecture to your previous concept map. You should include (but are not limited to) the following terms/concepts: Moral Status Sentience Beneficence Non-maleficence “Do no harm” Personhood The soul Halachah Dignity Due Thursday, May

22 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Activity 2: Public Policy Panel Discussion Team 1: Pro-life/religious conservatives Shaheen, Perri and Guatam Team 2: Patient advocacy Alina and Ben Team 3: Women’s rights Javier and Maddy Team 4: Biotechnology Lily and Brian Team 5: The Brave New World JD and Jamie 22

23 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Activity 2: Public Policy Panel Discussion Search terms for Activity 2 (+ stem cell) Kantian ethics, utilitarianism, consequentialism, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, “slippery slope”, dignity, personhood, right-to-life, democrat, republican, women’s rights, embryo donation, CIRM, AAAS, ISSCR, NIH, CAMR, Christopher Reeve Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Sam Brownback, George W. Bush, Orrin Hatch, Michael Sandel, Alta Charo, Jonathan Moreno, President’s Commission on Bioethics, Art Caplan, Richard Doerflinger, Father Tad Pacholczyk, Leon Kaas, New York Stem Cell Foundation, sentience, George Annas, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Brave New World, IVF 23

24 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Ethical Issues: Concept Mapping Terms Add the key terms/concepts from today’s lecture to your previous concept map. You should include (but are not limited to) the following terms/concepts: Moral Status Sentience Beneficence Non-maleficence “Do no harm” Personhood The soul Halachah Dignity Due Thursday, May

25 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Mini-Activity 2: Use of Embryos for Research (Overview) Imagine you are at a party and meet up with a friend who doesn’t know about the issues surrounding stem cell biology. Using your knowledge of biology and stem cells, describe one ethical or religious view about the use of human embryos for research purposes.

26 References  Lecture notes (hyperlink)  Activity notes (hyperlink)  More links… Mini-Activity 2: Preparation for the Panel Discussion (Directions) Using your lecture notes, first jot down some main points. Meet with your partner (the friend at a party) and present your “case” either for or against use of hESCs using the ethical/religious arguments described in the text/lecture. Extension: Discuss to what extent you agree or disagree with the ethical/religious view you presented.


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