Friday, June 27, 2008

The Ethics of Stem Cell Research

I have discovered an earlier enhanced podcast from Stanford University on Stem Cells, Straight Talk About Stem Cells (feed), but I started with Stem Cells: Policy and Ethics (feed), because it by virtue of its title promised to touch upon the ethics involved - and that is where I want to get at. I have written about the subject before and bumped into a problem that roughly goes as follows: you either have an ethical podcast, that rejects Stem Cell Research on religious grounds and doesn't explain much about the technical side of it, or you have a technical podcast that implicitly approves, but doesn't discuss much in the way of justifications.

Out of the five lectures in this podcast, only the last lecture really attempted to bridge the gap, but also the first four are rather interesting just the same. To have the basic technique explained (with pictures), helps a lot. The lecture on the various regulations also was instructive. The guest lectures of one specialist and one patient who had undergone stem cell therapy, were a very instructive.

Even if there isn't much in depth ethics discussed, at least the concrete examples of techniques, research and therapies, allow for giving a good inventory and some narrowing down into very specific ethical issues. In short, of all the podcasts I have heard in this subject, this one ranks among the very best.

More bioethics:
Human rights and the body,
Life and bio-engineering - podcast review,
Bioethics without Christ, please,
A useful map into Bio-Ethics,
Stem Cell Research: Science, Ethics, and Prospects,
Stem Cells - Biology and Politics.

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