CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Brave New Worlds

Nov 17, 2007

The report this week that scientists have now cloned embryos from adult monkeys takes us ever closer to the possibility of human cloning. Overcoming this hurdle does make the prospect of human cloning all the more certain. Thus it really

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Concerns about IVF

Aug 30, 2007

It seems that the more desperate an infertile couple is to have children, the more willing they may be to take risks, and the more willing they may be to jump at any new promised technological fix. This is of

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Learning to Live With Limits

Aug 9, 2007

For most of human history people have accepted the fact that life is “nasty, poor, brutish, and short”, to use Hobbes’s phrase. But advances in science, medicine, technology and other areas have resulted in a redefinition of what it is

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The First Church of Transhumanism

Aug 2, 2007

It is always interesting – and scary – to check out the transhumanist websites. Go ahead: Google the term transhumanism. First up you will find the World Transhumanist Association. There will also be well over 2 million other hits that

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Playing Fast and Loose with the Evidence

Jun 15, 2007

In some circles being a bit selective with the evidence can be risky business. But when it happens in certain social and political arenas, it tends to just become the accepted way of doing things. Indeed, our social engineers have

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Who Speaks for the Disabled?

Jun 14, 2007

In the battles over embryo research, stem cell science, and the like, the media often presents a quite one-sided take on the issues. They can do this in several ways. One is simply to be selective in the reporting, omitting

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Sperm Wars

Jun 11, 2007

The problem of sperm donation is not the highest of national priorities at the moment. Political parties usually do not have it featuring in their agendas. But it is a very important issue for at least one group: those children

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Longer Life, Better Life, Eternal Life

May 3, 2007

There was an interesting news item in today’s Australian (and other media outlets) about a new scientific breakthrough which may add extra years to human life. According to the reports, a team at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in

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No Let-Up On Media Bias

Apr 9, 2007

Is the mainstream media (MSM) biased? Well, I suppose it all depends on who you ask. If you are secular, leftwing, and into the various trendy social causes, you will probably find the media to be a paragon of objectivity.

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Bioethics and the Lessons of History

Mar 14, 2007

Two recent events have highlighted the importance of clear ethical thinking on the issues of the day, and how we can learn from those who have gone before us. The first is the announcement of yet another clone and kill

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Women vs Women

Nov 30, 2006

It was rather odd to see so many female Senators voting for human cloning the other week. This in spite of the fact that many have warned of the very real dangers cloning would pose to women. And it is

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Animals Good, Women Bad

Nov 24, 2006

The clone and kill bill to be debated in the House of Reps next week is a strange bit of legislation. While it has some restrictions on how animals are to be treated, it seems to allow an anything-goes approach

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Cloning is Anti-Women and Anti-Science

Nov 11, 2006

Despite the number of credible scientists who argued against human cloning, the Australian Senate nonetheless went ahead and voted for it to occur here. Not only have scientists been warning about the dangerous direction of cloning, but many women’s groups

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Surrogacy Concerns

Nov 10, 2006

The recent surrogate birth to Federal Labor MP Stephen Conroy and partner has reignited a long-standing debate about the ethics of surrogacy. As with all the new reproductive technologies, there are many moral, social, medical and relational concerns to take

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No Human Cloning and Embryo Research

Nov 7, 2006

This week the Senate debates whether we allow embryo research and human cloning. The media often likes to argue that this is a battle between science and religion. Not really. It is a battle between good science and bad science.

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Women and the New Biotechnologies

Nov 3, 2006

It is not often discussed, but perhaps the biggest losers in the new biotech revolution are women. They often pay the heaviest price, be it in IVF, surrogacy, or other assisted reproductive technologies. The same is true in the cloning

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Verbal Engineering and Bio-engineering

Nov 3, 2006

Because the stakes are so high with many of the new biotechnologies, proponents of them often resort to word games to cover up what is really going on. Euphemisms are used to conceal the ugly realities of some of the

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Cloning and Stem Cell Truths

Nov 1, 2006

The debate over cloning and stem cell research is vitally important because the focal point of these new biotechnologies is human life. How we are to regard the concepts of personhood and humanity are not new discussions, but they take

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