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THE EVOLUTION OF THINKING AND IDEAS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION Irina Pollard, Dept Biological Sciences, Macquarie University,

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Presentation on theme: "THE EVOLUTION OF THINKING AND IDEAS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION Irina Pollard, Dept Biological Sciences, Macquarie University,"— Presentation transcript:

1 THE EVOLUTION OF THINKING AND IDEAS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION Irina Pollard, Dept Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia e-mail ipollard@rna.bio.mq.edu.auipollard@rna.bio.mq.edu.au Cover design from Integrated Sciences

2 MODEL OF THE MIND AS UNDERSTOOD IN THE MIDDLE AGES Drawing of the orbits of the mind by the Paracelsian mystic Robert Fludd (1574-1637), based on the classic three-cell model of the brain. The first paired ventricle - sensus communis or sensory analysis - is situated at the front of the brain and communicates with the middle ventricle – ratio, cognatio & aestimatio or reason, thought & judgment - in the forebrain, which connects through a narrow canal with the last ventricle - memoria or memory – in the brainstem

3 THE EVOLUTION OF IDEAS AT VARIOUS LEVELS OF POSSIBILITY MIND THOUGHTS BIOLOGICAL Genetic Organizational Ecological MIND THOUGHTS Culture Language Ideology Superstition Innate Political Legal Aesthetical (Illustrations from Johnson, Rayle & Wedberg Biology: an Introduction Benjamin/Cummings, 1984) Secular Religious Social Ethical

4 NEW IDEAS ORIGINATE THROUGH EXPERIENCE, KNOWLEDGE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (Drawing by Betty Thorn) THALIDOMIDE - Harmless Tranquillizer? - Teratogen? - Pain Reliever? - Cure for Leprosy? - Cancer Treatment? Lepromatous leprosy (courtesy Dr. S. Lucas, University College Hospital, London) From S. Mader Human Biology. McGraw-Hill, 2000

5 ON THE EVOLUTION OF IDEAS MEMES AND GENES ARE CO-EVOLVING UNITS DRIVING SOMATIC EVOLUTION Brain uses reasoning and imagination Ideas Inferentialor Epistemic (facts & reasoning) (beliefs, perceptual experience & theory of knowledge relating to culture & religion) ON THE EVOLVING COMPLEXITY OF IDEAS: A PERSPECTIVE FROM THE ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES (from The Good Weekend, November 9, 2002)

6 TOWARDS A CREATIVE FUTURE (from The Sydney Morning Herald December 21-22, 2002) CHALLENGING THE NOTIONS OF HUMAN NATURE AND THE CAPACITY FOR ETHICAL CHOICE 1. CLINICAL IN VITRO FERTILIZATION TECHNOLOGY (from H. Leese Human Reproduction and IVF. Macmillan, 1988) What is normal birthing? (from Good Weekend, November 8, 2003)

7 2. MALE-FACTOR INFERTILITY INTRACYTOPLASMIC SPERM INJECTION TECHNOLOGY 3. DESIGNER CHILDREN AND GENE TECHNOLOGY TODAYS HOTTEST THREE BIOTECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS ARE: a) Greater knowledge about genetic causation b) Neuropharmacology c) Prolongation of life The human gene for telomerase has already been patented by the Geron Corporation It has already been suggested that we will be able to sidestep the problem of consent in genetic engineering through the use of artificial chromosomes, which can be added to a childs normal genetic inheritance but switched on after the childs old enough to give informed consent

8 4. STEM CELLS AND CLONING TECHNOLOGY A: BORN AGAIN - REPRODUCTIVE CLONING Dolly, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell nucleus – her demise creates uncertainty about cloning Does the clone bear the scars of its parents aging DNA – the lived life - or does cloning somehow restore genes to a state of original elegance? (Rosamond Purcell, 1987) (from the Bulletin, August 5, 2003)

9 B: THERAPEUTIC CLONING – GROWING BODY PARTS TO ORDER

10 5. GRAND OLD PARENTS: THE TECHNOLGY OF MAKING MIDDLE-AGED WOMEN FERTILE Dalip Singh 58 and Savinder Kaur 56 Ten years after the menopause, Savinder conceived quadruplets through her nieces donor eggs. Fetal reduction converted them to twins (from India Today, December 22, 2003) Rashpal Singh 52 and Rajbir Kaur 50 Married for 24 years, they have two daughters but have sought medical help for a male heir - I need a son to complete my family, says Rajbir (from India Today, December 22, 2003)

11 EVOLVING SOCIETY - EVOLVING ASSISTED REPRODUCTION (from India Today, December 22, 2003)

12 (From New Scientist 10 January, 2004, p 30)


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