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Bioethical Challenges and Opportunities of Greater Understanding of Ourselves and Nature : The era of the Human Behaviourome Darryl R.J. Macer, Ph.D. Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "Bioethical Challenges and Opportunities of Greater Understanding of Ourselves and Nature : The era of the Human Behaviourome Darryl R.J. Macer, Ph.D. Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bioethical Challenges and Opportunities of Greater Understanding of Ourselves and Nature : The era of the Human Behaviourome Darryl R.J. Macer, Ph.D. Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba Science City, 305, Japan Director, Eubios Ethics Institute Affiliated Professor, United Nations University Director, International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) Bioethics Program

2 Principles or ideals for bioethics Conventional languageAlternative language* Autonomy self-love Justice love of others Do no harm loving life Beneficence loving good *Darryl Macer, Bioethics is Love of Life, Eubios Ethics Institute 1998.

3 While ethical principles may be pre-human in biological, social and spiritual heritage, and thus almost universal, the balancing of them varies between individuals. -Bioethics is Love of Life (Macer, 1998)

4 The behaviourome is a project to understand ourselves It is a research project to integrate social science methodologies. One of the most interesting questions before a thinking being is whether we can comprehend the ideas and thoughts of other beings, and conversely whether they can also read our mind. We have already the means to embark upon a human mental map with the goal of describing the diversity of ideas a human being makes in any given situation or dilemma. This is the behaviourome or human mental map. This is not of a physical structure but a map of "ideas" used in moral decision-making.

5 nature 14 November 2002Volume 420, 121. The next challenge is to map the human mind An ambitious project aims to chart the territory of ides: vast but, conceivably, not infinite. - Darryl Macer The human genome has been, largely, sequenced. And work continues to the proteome and transcriptome. Now comes a call to map the human behaviourome…. - Nature Editors.

6 Now the human DNA has been sequenced, the genome…

7 We still understand so little about what is inside our mind!

8 Uses of a mental map include: 1)To understand ourselves, and whether the number of ideas is really finite. 2)To compare mental maps and idea diversity between persons and species. 3)To aid in policy making to make policy that respects the diversity of people in a culture, and globally. This would help develop bioethics for the people by the people.

9 Uses for individual decision making 4) If we can make individual mental maps, this would offer persons assistance when making moral decisions. This would give them a chance to consider all their ideas, and to make a more considered moral choices. This would also be useful in the testing and implementation of better bioethics education.


11 Types of Ideas 1)conceptualization of physical objects 2)psychological meanings of images associated with objects (like colours) 3)Memories 4)4)plans for both short and long term future 5)intention to modify behaviour of self 6)intention to modify behaviour of surrounding beings and the environment 7)processing of sensory states 8)inhibition of a response based on immediate evolutionary benefit 9) interactive conceptualization of ideas in a community based response

12 Are the number of human ideas finite? In 1994, based on the results of the International Bioethics Survey, which gathered opinions from 6000+ persons in 10 countries on 150 questions of bioethics dilemmas, I proposed that the number of human ideas for moral decision making is finite. Since then, the evidence continues to suggest the number is finite, and thus countable! We will only know after we map the ideas and the way they are linked together. We need to develop a common framework for interdisciplinary studies of human ideas. On the map ideas are not single points but spheres of varying intensity, sometimes merging with others - and a person's response to each dilemma links some of these ideas. In the first year of the international behaviourome project several frameworks are being tested to map human ideas.

13 Human mental map version 2 A 5 dimensional model including points which represent ideas on a matrix for all the types of ideas (9 colours at present) within a framework of 7 sides. The seven sides are self-love, love of others, loving good, loving life, loving harm, memories and hopes.

14 This model adds our heritage - memories and hopes, to the four ideals in decision making! Memories include our biological, social and spiritual heritage seen in biology,medicine,society,religion… We all hope that our moral decisions will be for the best! The map is represented in a 2-d picture …

15 Love of others Self love Memories Hopes Love of good Loving life (do no harm) Loving harm

16 The project is now trying to integrate the data to map human values and ideas.

17 9 methods groups (1/2) 1) Matrix Mapping of Ideas Relating to Bioethics Choices from Biotechnology 2) Introducing the Elementary Pragmatic Model (EPM) in the Behaviourome 3) Ideas Counter and Software Testing 4) Testing of the Ten Ethical Laws Of Robotics in a Cross-Cultural Matrix 5) Evolution of Thinking and Ideas

18 9 methods groups (2/2) 6) Can Any Physical Model Map Human Insight and Creativity, or is There Something Metaphysical About The Mind? 7) Integrative Mapping of All Ideas and Integrative Ethical Decision-Making and Behaviour 8) 'One Page Management System' Instead of Prose Mode 9) Universal Functional Reductionism in Integrative Mental Mapping: The Tenth Class of Cosmist Creative Ideas

19 Ideas and ethical principles have a biological, social and spiritual heritage This model does not necessarily exclude beings who cannot "think", as they still share a memory (history) and a future heritage, and the principles have a long biological heritage.

20 Pre-rational ideas Ideas are linked to rationality, but ideas may be considered as something pre- rational. Rationality emerges after the processing of ideas, in what we call thinking. Do only humans think? If we consider thinking to be the processing of motor images or sensory images it clearly emerged much earlier in evolution.

21 Speech and ideas In ethical theory usually animals that can plan and dream of the future are considered as being of higher rationality, and therefore need to be given greater protection. There has been much enthusiasm with the discovery of a single gene that is very important in human speech, FOXP2 (in 2002), as it may have enabled the social emergence of modern human communities, we do not understand yet the extent to which the diversity of ideas is extended by linguistic dialogue (whether vocalized or not).

22 Science tells us 91 genes are in humans that are not in chimpanzees … of 30,000 genes.

23 Enhanced studies of cross cultural bioethics -recognising diversity There are implications for cultural identity. How should a culture that tries to maintain its cultural uniqueness by claiming everyone thinks the same, face up to the reality that in every culture the full range of idea diversity is found. This diversity is found in almost all groups, excluding those particularly finite groups that are formed to promote particular political aims, such as those who fight for or against abortion, or euthanasia. Religions which have observed already that humankind is universal will have less challenges than religions which claim a special religious status for their "chosen" people.

24 How to map the mind?

25 Culture and ideas The individual human mind is a societal creation, formed through a series of interactions with other persons. After an initial response to a dilemma, real or hypothetical, our mind generates an idea. That idea is subject to genetic, environmental and cultural factors. Then the process of idea development occurs, subject to the cultural restraints and lessons of the past to that person. The action is taken, but this is not the end of the idea for a normal human mind. The consequences are considered, there may be guilt or self- gratification, through the interplay of the conscience and ego.

26 How to map ideas onto this matrix? Each of the 9 methods groups is exploring the best methodology to do this. In the case of method 1, each idea is given a score for each of the 7 axes (from 0-100) and placed at the interacting point on the 3-d box. Other dimensions include the type of idea, and links for information to source of the data, the moral dilemma from which it was observed.

27 Love of others Self love Memories Hopes Love of good Loving harm Loving life (do no harm) + Example idea - Let us eat lunch others self

28 Practical bioethics is action to make the world more bioethical, for example, health projects for medically deprived populations, and environmental activism. -Eubios Declaration of Bioethics Mental mapping is a way to progress endless debates about human ideas and moral decision-making.

29 Recognition of Diversity and Depth of Asian Bioethics Bioethics is pre-human. Bioethics in human culture was discussed for millennia in Asia, as everywhere. Bioethics is not a luxury for rich countries, it is something everyone does - and can make better. It is a global realization of a way of moral decision making that occurred before people were aware of it. Bioethics includes methods of anthropology, sociology, biology, not just philosophy or theology.

30 The way forward in bioethics In conclusion we can see that the human mental mapping project will develop Asian and international bioethics of the twentieth century onto a more concrete and transdisciplinary basis in this century. We need to develop a common language for studies of life and ideas, and it is hoped that these projects will allow this. There will be challenges for many aspects of our understanding of human beings, though we should be clear, there will always be more questions than answers for humans to attempt to understand ourselves and nature. Asking questions and having free will to make decisions is part of the image of God.

31 Please join the project! All are welcome!

32 Bioethics for Global Dialogue! Working for a good life for all globally… Eubios Ethics Institute Branches in New Zealand, Japan, India, China, Philippines… Available for consultancy in bioethics, aiming to produce publicly available resources in bioethics bridging geography, discipline and values. A non-for-profit organization founded in 1990. Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics Asian Bioethics Association International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) Bioethics Bioethics resource library UNESCO/IUBS/Eubios Bioethics Dictionary Tsukuba International Bioethics Roundtables Resources are available On-line, CD and hard copy

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