Key Issues in Bioethics: A Guide for Teachers

Key Issues in Bioethics: A Guide for Teachers

Key Issues in Bioethics: A Guide for Teachers

Key Issues in Bioethics: A Guide for Teachers

Synopsis

Young people are increasingly being exposed to the huge and complex ethical dilemmas involved in issues such as genetic modification, animal rights and cloning, and they are bringing their views into the classroom. But how can teachers be sure they are sufficiently well-informed to help their pupils make sense of the diverse and emotive arguments surrounding these issues? This book holds the answer. Written by leading ethicists, scientists and technologists, it offers a balanced and jargon-free guide to such highly debated topics as: * cloning * in vitro fertilisation * genetic screening and genetic engineering * farm animal welfare * the use of animals in medical experiments. Written specifically for the non-specialist teacher or lecturer, this book offers suggestions on how to approach the teaching of bioethics and provides useful sources of further information. It may also be of interest to undergraduates on science courses.

Excerpt

The publication of the first draft of the Human Genome Project has been hailed as a revolution surpassing the landing on the moon, and there is little doubt that many of the most pressing concerns in science are in biomedicine and associated reproductive technologies. The new biotechnologies raise huge ethical dilemmas that concern us all and the issues are being played out in the media, not least the tabloid press. Young people too are talking about complex ethical issues, such as GM foods, animal rights and cloning, and bringing their views to bear in the classroom. But are they merely arguing about popular misconceptions and myths that they hear through various media? How informed are we all about the scientific, ethical and social consequences that will affect most of us? Education must have a role. But how can teachers become sufficiently informed about the issues that surround such rapidly advancing technologies, where the legal and ethical implications are changing daily and testing even experts in the field?

Most of us are under-prepared for the challenges to our ethical and legal system that these technologies pose. The main voices heard are those of generic journalists, followed by the relatively few scientifically trained journalists, followed a long way behind by scientists and ethicists working in the field. The voices of those likely to be most affected-disabled people, ethnic groups, women, people with genetic conditions, gays and lesbians, those unable to have children-are all too rarely heard. If we are to understand and talk rationally about the ethical issues we need to know the views of people who have worked in these fields and thought deeply about these issues, the grounds for their beliefs and the controversies generated by differences in points of view. There is little unanimity here, which adds to the complexity.

This book develops informed conversations between ethicists, scientists and those who have a stake in these new technologies. These conversations come from articulate people who are passionately and intellectually committed to well-thought-out perspectives. The book is aimed at teachers and others

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