"The next president of the United States of America will control a $150 billion annual research budget, 200,000 scientists, and 38 major research institutions and all their related labs. This president will shape human endeavors in space
, bioethics debates, and the energy landscape of the 21st century." With the coming election, the AAAS
has created a new website
and devoted a section of their journal Science
to the Democratic
candidates' positions on science
issues. But to help further clarify their positions
, some people are calling
for the candidates to have a presidential debate on science and technology
. [Via The Intersection and Wired Science.]
U.S. military practices genetic discrimination in denying benefits.
"Those medically discharged with genetic diseases are left without disability or retirement benefits. Some are fighting back."
Debating the Moral Status of the Embryo.
A favorite scenario
of some bioethicists
in this debate is often a variation of "if a fertility clinic were on fire and you had only enough time to run in once to effect a rescue, which would you grab—the unconscious clinic worker/or a tank full of hundreds of frozen embryos?" Sometimes the debate degenerates...
You stink, therefore I am.
Philosophers and psychologists have been studying
, and its proper place in the law. Leon Kass, the chairman of the president's council on bioethics
, cites "the wisdom of repugnance"
in arguing against cloning. More recently, Martha Nussbaum
has written a new book, "Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law,"
which rejects disgust as a moral guide. She has also written on the role of disgust in the mutilations of women in Gujarat
Whose life would you save? Carl Zimmer
takes a look at the work of philospher-neuroscientist Joshua Greene in the emerging field of the neuroscience of ethics and morality (Leon Kass, take note
.) [Via Dynamist Blog.]
Free stem cells!
A Harvard scientist using private money has developed 17 new batches of human embryonic stem cells, which he's offering to any researcher who needs them for the cost of shipping. Perhaps this will help American scientists from losing the edge
(unless, as some speculate, Bush is preparing to outlaw it
.) Harvard is also developing a multimillion-dollar center to grow and study stem cells
"We are becoming the masters of our own DNA. But does that give us the right to decide that my children should never have been born?"
John Sundman is a science fiction novelist
and the father of two children with severe medical conditions. In this two-part article
he shares his experiences and thoughts on bioethics, the Human Genome Project and whether genetics research is paving the way for a resurgent eugenics movement.