From Academic Kids

Bioethics is the ethics of biological science and medicine.


Definition and scope

Bioethics concerns the ethical questions that arise in the relationships between biology, medicine, cybernetics, politics, law, philosophy, and theology. Disagreement exists about the proper scope for the application of ethical evaluation to questions involving biology. Some bioethicists would narrow ethical evaluation only to the morality of medical treatments or technological innovations, and the timing of medical treatment of humans. Other bioethicists would broaden the scope of ethical evaluation to include the morality of all actions that might help or harm organisms capable of feeling fear and pain.

Bioethics involves many public policy questions that are often politicized- used to mobilize political constituencies. For this reason, some biologists and others involved in the development of technology have come to see any mention of "bioethics" as an attempt to derail their work and react to it as such, regardless of the true intent. Transhumanist biologists in particular can be prone to this misunderstanding, as they see their work as inherently ethical, and attacks on it as unethical.


Bioethics issues include:

Bioethicists focus on using philosophy to help analyze said concerns, though bioethics is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary.

Religious bioethicists have developed rules and guidelines on how to deal with these issues from within the viewpoint of their respective faiths. Some secular bioethicists are critical of the fact that these are usually religious scholars without an academic degree or training in disciplines that pertain to the issues, such as philosophy (wherein the study of ethics is usually found), biology or medicine.

Most religious bioethicists are Jewish or Christian scholars. However a small number of religious scholars from other religions have recently become involved in this field as well. Islamic clerics have begun to write on this topic. Muslim bioethicists include Abdulaziz Sachedina, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. There has been some criticism by liberal Muslims that only the more religiously conservative voices in Islam are being heard on this issue. Buddhist bioethicists have focused much of their concern on organ transplantation.

See also

References (general)

  • Orr, Robert D. and Leigh B. Genesen. Requests for inappropriate treatment based on religious beliefs in Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 23, 1997. pp. 142-147.
  • Potter, Van Rensselaer. (1971). Bioethics: Bridge to the Future. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0130765058
  • Potter, Van Rensselaer. (1988). Global Bioethics: Building on the Leopold Legacy. East Lansing. Michigan State University Press. ISBN 0870132644
  • Sloan, R.P., E. Bagiella and T. Powlell. Religion, spirituality, and medicine, The Lancet, 1999, 353(9153): 1-7.
  • Stevin, Peter and Joe Stevens, Detainees' Medical Files Shared Guantanamo Interrogators' Access Criticized Washington Post June 10, 2004, Page A01
  • Thomas, John. Where Religious and Secular Ethics Meet in Humane Health Care International, Vol. 12, No. 1, January 1996.

Muslim Bioethics

  • Al Khayat MH. Health and Islamic behaviour. In: El Gindy AR, editor. Health policy, ethics and human values: Islamic perspective Kuwait: Islamic Organization of Medical Sciences; 1995. p. 447-50.
  • Ebrahim, Abul Fadl Mohsin. Abortion, Birth Control and Surrogate Parenting. An Islamic Perspective Indianapolis, 1989
  • Esposito, John. Ed. Surrogate Motherhood in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • An Unholy Alliance: Muslims have diverse views on scientific ethics, yet only the conservatives are heard. And a Muslim-Vatican deal is not helping. Ehsan Masood, New Scientist Vol. 180, Issue 2419 (November 1, 2003).

Jewish Bioethics

  • Bleich, J. David. 1981. Judaism and Healing. New York: Ktav
  • Dorff, Elliot N. 1998. Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society
  • Feldman DM. Marital relations, birth control, and abortion in Jewish law. New York: Schocken Books; 1974
  • Freedman B. Duty and healing: foundations of a Jewish bioethic. New York: Routledge; 1999
  • Jakobovits I. Jewish medical ethics. New York: Bloch Publishing; 1959
  • Life & Death Responsibilities in Jewish Biomedical Ethics, Ed. Aaron L. Mackler, JTS, 2000
  • Maibaum M. A "progressive" Jewish medical ethics: notes for an agenda. Journal of Reform Judaism 1986;33(3):27-33.
  • Rosner, Fred Modern medicine and Jewish ethics New York: Yeshiva University Press; 1986
  • Conservative Judaism Vol. 54(3), Spring 2002 (Contains a set of six articles on bioethics)
  • Zohar, Noam J. 1997. Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics. Albany: State University of New York Press

Christian Bioethics

Some references need to be added here

External Links

Stem Cell Research Controversy in the United States

Fertility Law Controversy in Italy

GNR Politics

fr:Biothique it:Bioetica ja:生命倫理学 fi:Bioetiikka pl:Bioetyka pt:Biotica


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