Class Notes (836,580)
Canada (509,856)
Biology (1,140)
BIOL 1010 (90)
Lecture 11

Lecture 11.doc

9 Pages
Unlock Document

BIOL 1010
James Cheetham

Lecture 11 (Bioethics and Regulation of Biotechnology) Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - Ethics/bioethics and regulation of technology - Next week: forensics and review - Bioethics: philosophical study of controversies brought out by advances of biotechnology/medicine - Multidisciplinary - Interesting, difficult for some cases - Article by George Grant, “Thinking About Technology”—very interesting, READ - Canadian philosopher, passed away in 1988, spent most time in McMaster - Used to be on CBC all the time, very influential social commentator - Best known for his views on nationalism and technology - One of our most original thinkers - Technology and Justice—ability for justice to be distributed evenly amongst people as result of technology - “We are technological civilisation” - A lot of people think of technology as something we use (tool), but it uses us— influences the way we do things-the way we interact with people - Computer scientist makes statement, article reflects on that statement - Knowing: traditional thing in science, understanding how world works - Making: building things, art - Brought together in way that does not allow one to make distinction between them - Incredible interaction in modern Western civilization between the two o Atomic bomb- understanding how atom works, using that to make something - Technology we’ve developed has changed the way we do things o Cell phone/iPhone - Computer scientist says “The Computer Does Not Impose on Us the Ways It Must Be Used” in 1976 - But it’s freed up the secretaries of typing up corrections—in fact, we don’t have secretaries - Spend more time e-mailing than going to the library, have lunches in office - Excludes certain forms of community and permits others - Difficult to think about technology because you’re immersed in it - Apply Grant’s article about technology, apply to biotechnology o Affects the way you work, interact with human beings, behave o Potential to dramatically alter human interaction to greater extent than computer technology has - Nanotechnology, biotech, information tech, cognitive science: understand how people think - Psychopharmacology: Ritelin, Prozac, alter state of mind - Genetic engineering - Nanotechnology - Artificial intelligence - Cognitive science - The accelerating convergence of all these “for improving human performance” - *Transhumanism: human that’s had some additions, seems science-fiction but has a great following in the world. The H+ movement for enhanced humans. Lots advocating for this view. - Humanity is on the verge of seizing technological control of our own evolution, creating better, post-human future o Sense of wonder and dread of same potential o The Surrogates o Can improve human species o *Eugenics of 1930s worldwide- selective breeding, sterilize the undesirables—in Alberta, sterilizing mentally retarded up to 1970s - Can now physically visualize how many synapses are on brain- terabite hard drives o Becomes more believable that we can transcend our biological form as technology progresses - Eliminate aging - Enhance intellectual abilities- psychopharmacological interventions (normal people taking Ritelin) - Every kind of therapeutic thing we develop (HGH, Ritelin, steroids) will be used by people trying to advance themselves - Stallone and HGH- reduces signs of physical aging. Not what it was intended for - Humanists: ability to become more than we are now - *Longevity, Health, Intelligence- get talked about the most - Status quo bias - Hard to argue against enhancing the human experience - Biopolitical battlefronts o Who’s a citizen with a right to life?- Stem cells, chimeras o Control of reproduction- preimplantation genetic screening, IVF, could have positive selection (desired characteristics—eugenics) o Fixing disabilities to human enhancement- prosthetics, brain chips, cosmetics o Extending life- anti-aging drugs o Control of the brain- Prozac (one of most frequently prescribed drugs) - Don’t need background in biochemistry to work in bioethics field o Probably more appropriate to have background in sociology, philosophy, psychology - World Transhumanist Association o Chapters everywhere o A lot in NA and Europe o As new technologies with huge influence for human societies, we should think about how we’re going to deal with them - Younger people are for it, older are scared of it - Ethics - Herodotus: historian, will get sick of him in College of Humanities :P o Travelled to India, Africa, around Europe o Wrote stories about places o When we has in Persia, wrote story: Darius was king, had Greek visitors, asked what price would have them eat their dead parents o Greeks were outraged- burned their dead parents o Asked the Callatiae for what price they’d burn their dead parents o Callatiae outraged- ate their dead parents o Custom is all—who’s right in this situation? - Some of these arguments aren’t particularly black and white - Ethical limits to use of biotechnology o New technology  Since Cohen and Boyer moved DNA from one species to another with control o Plurality of moral convictions o Divergent economic, pol., soc. Objectives o Sensitivity of public (especially in Europe) o Doubts of public about internal control mechanism of scientific institutions and scientific community—don’t trust scientists to make moral judgement  Terminator seeds for corn/soybean (Monsanto, etc.)- want you to buy seeds every year. Company bought out by Monsanto and made seeds so they wouldn’t be fertile after a year, even if you tried to plant them the next year it wouldn’t work.  Huge public outcry, so it never came to market- evil  Also: in traditional cultures, saving of seeds is way you’ve been doing things for thousands of years o Complexity of ethical issues involved  Reproductive technologies  Daughter infertile, gets egg cell from mom, sperm from husband, gives birth to own sister  Think about it - Morale: what’s good and what’s evil in everyday life - Ethics: study of principles at basis of morale - When societies are stagnant, don’t have change in moral or ethical behaviour - But when there’s rapid change in society, change in moral or ethical behaviour o Ex. Cell phones becoming accessible to everyone - Bioethics- not just for humans- environmental, animal - Now there are new ones: genetic testing- who decides whether this is ethical? - Organ transplant- one heart available—who should get it? o Changes impressions if you reveal that the girl is a drug user, the 40-year- old is overweight, the old woman is ugly/unhealthy - People are autonomous agents, can’t just use them for tools for what you want and harvest their kidneys - Benefits you get out of something should be proportional to risks. Don’t do something that has 1% of good result. - Trying to clone- harm outweighs the good - Justice: benefits shouldn’t happen for particular group of individuals, risks shouldn’t be for others - Trial working so well for test group that they stop the trial, feel ethically responsible to give it to placebo group. Have shown conclusively that it’s working. - *Repo Man movie - Nonmaleficence: do no harm - Should stop clinical trial if it’s harming patients - Dolly: big deal in 1996 - People didn’t realize that nucleus of fully-differentiated, adult cell could be used to clone - Can take any cell, put nucleus in an egg and make a new person - Now, we’re asking what is acceptable to do o Terminator seeds- possible, but not acceptable o Gene therapy for germline cells- illegal to change genes that will get passed on to next generation, though you could possibly do that too - May 2007: human neurons were transplanted into brains of mice, grew there o We use mouse models for human diseases o Would be better if the model is made of human neurons o Experiments were done o Ethical conference discussed this topic - Variety ways of approaching moral problems - Morals tend to be more personal, ethics are rules we have to follow - * Farm animals were engineered to be less intelligent in order to improve their quality of life- lobotomized the chickens, goats o When you keep them in nasty conditions, stress levels go up, don’t eat properly, fight each other o Idea is to breed them so they wouldn’t care - Bioethics: how do you articulate the problem with this? - Good starting point: look at public perception - Cultural background affects approach you take- Herodotus - Eurobarometer survey o Genetic testing is useful o Medicine is useful o Cloning humans is useful, but high risk o FOOD: don’t like it at all- not acceptable, great risk o Less of a problem with cloning than with affecting food supply - Can view biotechnology as group of useful technologies that affect different disciplines - Before, it was a skill used for many long traditions - Now, much awareness and concern o *RECOMBINANT DNA - Much control over biological processes - Can change/manipulate genes quickly - Why do Europeans hate this so much? It’s mainly about agricultural applications, food supply. - We don’t even label genetically modified foods—in 2006, FDA approved the sale of beef from cloned animals - They’re more attached to their food, used to growing it themselves - We’re very urban, treat food as not something you pull out of the ground - “We don’t want to be like lawyers, journalists and politicians where the public hates us. They kind of like scientists, so
More Less

Related notes for BIOL 1010

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.