I am preparing to teach a course in Biomedical Ethics and the Contemporary Church
in East Asia School of Theology Singapore from 1-5 December 2014. The following are some of my annotated recommended reading.
Is there any other books on biomedical ethics that you suggest I should read?
Beauchamp, T. and J. Childress (2009). Principles
of Biomedical Ethics. Oxford, Oxford University
Tom Beaucamp is from the Kennedy of
Ethics and Department of Philosophy, Georgetown
University, Washington D.C.
and James Childress, Department of religious Studies of the University of Virginia.
This book is essential reading for students of bioethics in many universities.
It is 'supposedly secular' in that it draws its foundational principles of
moral norms from the philosophies of utilitarianism, Kantianism, rights theory
and communitarianism. The principles of biomedical ethics are distilled into
that there are two way to do biomedical ethics. One is using top-down models
(theory and application) and the other is bottom-up models (cases and analogy).
They suggest an integrated model using reflective equilibrium.
Elliot, John., Ho, Calvin., and Lim,
Sylvia. (eds.) (2010). Bioethics in Singapore: The Ethical Microcosm.
Singapore, World Scientific.
This book featured
different chapters by various members who were involved in the Bioethics
Advisory Committee (BAC) which was established to establish a framework and
guide for bioethical research following the launch of the Biomedical Sciences
Initiative by the Singapore Government. It documents the ‘institutionalisation
of biomedical research ethics’ in Singapore. Bioethics and politics makes
strange bed fellows.
Kuhse, H. and P. Singer, Eds. (2001). A
Companion to Bioethics. Blackwell Companions to Philosophy. Oxford, Blackwell
Kuhse, H. and P. Singer, Eds. (2006). Bioethics:
An Anthology. Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing.
Helga Kuhse was the Director of the
Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University and Peter Singer is the Ira W.
DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University
Center for Human Values, Princeton University. Peter Singer is a man with
'a dangerous mind' which is what a television documentary on him and his work
was entitled. I would like to meet him. I have never met anyone with a
'dangerous mind.' Most people I have met have 'harmless minds.' The 81
contributors which include individuals and organisations are mainly
philosophers, ethicists, and counsellors. I am only able to identify one doctor
and one medical organisation (American Medical Association). The articles are
written from a distinctly non-Judaeo-Christian viewpoint and offer an interesting
contrast to the following book, On Moral Medicine. Many articles have raised
many points that Christian theologians have yet to identify, let alone address
Lammers, S. E. and A. Verley (1998). On
Moral Medicine: Theological Perspectives in Medical Ethics. Grand Rapids,
MI, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
This massive tome of 1004 pages is a
collection of essays written by Christian theologians and philosophers
concerning the issues of biomedical ethics. This is an excellent selection with
contributions from leading bioethicists for the last 30 years. Bioethics is a
new science. The writing is mixed as some wrote as theologians and philosophers
who are Christians while few wrote as Christians who are theologians and
philosophers. What is surprising is the absence of medical doctors writing. One
would have thought that Christian medical doctors will have more to contribute
in this area. There is also a noticeable absence of Orthodox theologians and
philosophers' contribution. It is still a good book to give a broad Christian
perspective on biomedical ethics.
Lovin, R. W. (2000). Christian Ethics:
An Essential Guide. Nashville,
TN, Abingdon Press.
Robin Lovin is Dean of Perkins
School of Theology, Southern Baptist University in Dallas, Texas.
This is a short and concise book on Christian ethics. It is a useful
introductory text because Lovin shows from the Scripture and church history how
the principles of Christian ethics are being developed as it interacts with the
times and culture of each age. Christian ethic is a living developing
discipline as it is being called upon by Christians to face new issues produced
by science, technology and culture in every era.
Majeed, A. B. A., Ed. (2002). Bioethics:
Ethics in the Biotechnology Century. Kuala Lumpur,
Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia.
The contributors to this book offer
ideas and perspectives on the rise and challenges of biotechnology in the 21st
century. The contributors include philosophers, ethicists, scientists, doctors,
religious scholars and policy makers from Malaysia,
Japan, Germany, South
Africa, Saudi Arabia,
Bangladesh, Philippines, and Indonesia.
Meilaender, G. (1996, 2005). Bioethics:
A Prime for Christians. Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Gilbert Meilander is the Phyllis and
Richard Dussenberg Professor of Christian Ethics at Valparaiso
University in Indiana and a member of the President's
Council on Bioethics. The first edition of this book (1996) was chosen by World
magazine as one of the top 100 books of the twentieth century. Where Lovin's
book was on the principles of Christian bioethics, Meileander's book focused on
issues of biomedical ethics. He writes on procreation versus reproduction,
abortion, genetic advance, prenatal screening, suicide and euthanasia, refusing
treatment, organ donations and human experimentation. As in theology and
applied theology (how theology is to be lived out in daily lives, not in the
ivory towers of the academia), there is bioethics and applied bioethics.
Meilander is dealing with applied bioethics. Things are often different in
conceptualisation, and in what happens in the daily life of Christians living
in a fallen world. As Martin Luther once commented on theology, theology is
living out our troubles and sinfulness in our daily lives (my paraphrase).
Meilander has expanded our understanding of bioethics but my personal opinion
is that he was too dogmatic in too many things. Many things are so not black
and white in our daily lives.
Pence, G. E. (2008). Classic Cases in
Medical Ethics: accounts of the cases and issues that define medical ethics.
Professor Pence is the professor of
Philosophy, School of Medicine and Department of Philosophy, University of Alabama
at Birmingham, United States of America. This is
an excellent book because it documents the various cases that produced the
court decisions that are affecting biomedical ethics today in the United States.
Written in an easy non academic style, it nevertheless give a background to the
who, why and what to the various thinking on death and dying, beginnings of
human life, ethical theory, research, and individual versus public good.
Shelly, J. A. (1980). Dilemma: A Nurse's
Guide for Making Ethical Decisions. Downers Groove, IL, InterVarsity Press.
Judith Allen Shelly was a nurse and
was with the Nurses Christian Fellowship. In this book, she outlines a
step-by-step Christian decision making process that is very useful.
National Council of Churches (2002). A Christian Response to the Life
Bishop Dr Robert Solomon was asked
by the National Council of Churches of Singapore to form a Life Sciences Study
Group to study the rapid development of life sciences in 2000. There were 14
members in the Study Group; comprising of doctors, scientists, theologians,
ethicists and pastors. The Study Group identified three areas of study:
(1) the human
(2) cloning and
This book is good
reading with contributions from members of the Study Group (Dr Roland Chia, Rev
Dr Tom Harvey, Dr Mark Chan, Rev Dr Daniel Koh, Dr Anthony Ang, Prof Kon Oi
Lian and Dr Soong Tuck Wah). It shows a high level of scholarship and
engagement with current issues. However IMHO there should be a more
contextualised approach. I am interested to know what Singaporeans Christians will do.
MacIntyre, A. (1998). A Short History of
Ethics. Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge.
It will be difficult to understand
bioethics if one does not have any idea about the development of ethics.
Bioethics is a new branch of ethics, barely thirty years old. It is also known
as applied ethics to differentiate it from the theological ethics. In this
book, which is highly recommended, MacIntyre has managed to condense the often
dense history of ethics into one small volume (only 264 pages).
Singer, P. (1994). Rethinking Life and
Death: The Collapse of our Traditional Ethics. New
York, St. Martin’s Griffin.
This book, together with his earlier
Practical Ethics is his best works.
Here Singer outlines his consequentialist theories about human life and death.
His theories stand only if one is a true atheist and a fully detached human
person living outside of human society.
Preece, G., Ed. (2002). Rethinking Peter
Singer: A Christian Critique. Downers Groove, IL, InterVarsity Press.
Four fellow Australians of Peter
Singer set out to critique his theories and work. They are Gordon Preece,
director of the Centre for Applied Christian Ethics, Ridley College in
Australia; Graham Cole, principal of Ridley College and teaches theology and ethics;
Lindsay Wilson, vice principal of Ridley College and has degrees in law and Old
Testament studies; and Andrew Sloane is a medical doctor and teaches Old
Testament, theology and ethics at Ridley College. They claim to be the first
group of Christians to publicly critique Peter Singer's theories. Looking from
a Christian perspective, I agree fully with their critique on Singer's views on
abortion, animal experimentation, euthanasia, allocation of healthcare
resources and Christianity. Peter Singer is a non-practicing Jew and an
atheist. However I am uncomfortable in the way these Christians do their
critique. Peter Singer was liken to Herod, killer of children in the New Testament.
And they question why Singer did not euthanize his mother when she was diagnosed
with Alzheimer's disease. Along the way, their critique of Peter Singer has
become personal attacks and lack grace. The greatest lesson I learned form this
book is how to be graceful with people who holds different viewpoints from me.
Kuhse, H., Ed. (2002). Peter Singer:
Unsanctifying Human Life, Essays on Ethics. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing.
Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp
professor of bioethics at the University
Center for Human Values, Princeton University. Helga Kuhse is Honorary
Research Fellow at Monash University and Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Peter Singer is regarded as
one of the world's most famous or infamous philosophers with huge followings of
people who loved his teachings or hated them. He advocates animal rights,
infanticide, euthanasia, fair allocation of scarce healthcare resources, embryo
experimentation, environmental responsibilities, and reflections on how we
should live. This book is a collection some of Singer's best and most
challenging articles from 1971-2002. As the man is a prolific writer and
speaker, I find it helpful to have some of his more diverse work in one volume.
Rolnick, P. A. (2007). Person, Grace,
and God. Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans.
This is a book that need to be
slowly chewed, meditate upon and digested. Philip Rolnick is professor of
theology at the University of St. Thomas, St.
Paul, Minnesota. This
is not an easy book to read but a great book to understand. Rolnick takes on
the tremendous task of investigating the concept of personhood. Rolnick started
his investigation from the etymological and historical development of the
concept of personhood. Then he takes on the challenges to the concept of
personhood from neo-Darwinism, polemical deconstruction and from the critical
stance. He concludes "(u)ltimately, to be a human person means that the
totality of who we are is open-textured to the presence and power of God."
This is a
remarkable work of scholarship of a theologian and philosopher whose methodical
use of exegesis and analysis gives us a good idea of the concept of what it
means to be a person.
Lazareth, W. H., Ed. (2004). Persons in
Community: Theological Voices from the Pastorate. Grand Rapids, MI, William
B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
While Philip Rolnick in Person, Grace and God deals with the
theological and philosophical concept of personhood, this book deals with the
pastoral aspects of persons. Its main thesis is that persons can only be
understood in community. This community is God's people who are faithful
stewards and prudent managers of the world. William Lazareth, the editor is the
Jerald C. Brauer Distinguished Professor of Lutheran Studies at Carthage College,
Kenosha in Wisconsin. He is also a program associate of
the Pastor-Theologian Program at the Center
of Theological Inquiry.
This program is supported by an endowment by the Lilly Foundation. The program
is set up because some Christians have perceived that there is a separation of
theology and the church. "A significant part of the current crisis in the
church is the hiatus between academic theology as an intellectual discipline
and ecclesial theology as a confessional stance" notes Wallace M. Aston,
Jr. the director of the Center of theological Inquiry (p.ix). The
Pastor-Theologian Program "would seek to focus attention on the ordained
ministry as a theological vocation and on the church as a theological
community' (p.xiii). Sixty pastors were involved in the program and discussion.
Twenty of these contributed articles to this volume. The articles are easy to
read and give a significant pastoral perspective on many of the issues dealing
with personhood. It is a ground up theological investigation on what it means
to be human.
Waters, B. and R. Cole-Turner (2003). God
and the Embryo: Religious Voices on Stem Cells and Cloning. Washington D.C., Georgetown University Press.
Brent Waters is director of the
center for Ethics and Values and assistant professor of Christian Social Ethics
at Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Ronald Cole-Turner is the H. Parker
Sharp Professor of theology and ethics at Pittsburgh Theological seminary and
an ordained minister in the united Church
of Christ. These two
collected and edited various denominational positional statements on embryonic
cell research. These statements included those from the Pontifical
Academy for Life, The Holy Synod of
Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America,
Church, Southern Baptist Convention,
United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (USA), Union
of the Orthodox Congregations of America and Rabbinical Council of America and
The President's Council on Bioethics. With statements from such august
committees, one will expect a consensus among Christians and Jews about stem
cell research and cloning. Unfortunately, what came out is not a symphony but a
confusing bubble of voices. While most feel that embryonic stem cell research
should not be allowed, very few statements gave convincing evidence for this
conclusion. Most appeal to emotions and a sort of pseudo-social theology that
involves imputing more into the Bible that what the Bible actually says. One
gets the impression that the various denomination study committees are more
political and socio-cultural bound than theological.
Cahill, L. S., Ed. (2005). Genetics,
theology, and Ethics. New York,
The Crossroad Publishing Company.
This book represents the findings of
a group of Catholic theologians and bioethicists from America, Europe
and the developing countries who met annually for five years (1996-2001) to
study the questions of "Genetics, Theology, and Ethics." A highly
readable book, it represents the interactions of Catholic theology and
Hauerwas, S. (1994). God, Medicine and
Suffering. Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Hauerwas, 1990, 1994 , God, Medicine, and
Suffering, Grand Rapids,
MI: William B. Eerdmans. First
published in 1990 as Naming the Silences:
God, medicine and the Problem of Pain. Stanley Hauerwas is professor of
theological ethics at Duke Divinity School,
Carolina. In this book which has become a classic,
Hauerwas engaged the question of suffering. Drawing from stories of sick and
dying children to clarify his discussion of theological issues, Hauerwas shows
that medicine is not the answer to the silence cry of suffering and pain.
Instead he shows that a God and his caring community "can give a voice to
that pain in a manner that at least gives us a way to go on."
Gorman, M. J. (1982). Abortion and the
Early Church: Christian, Jewish and Pagan attitudes in the Greco-Roman World.
Downers Groove, IL, InterVarsity Press.
Gorman did an interesting study of
how Christians, Jews and the Greco-Roman world viewed abortion in the first
four hundred years of church history. Abortion was a common practice in the
Greco-Roman world; the fetus was not regarded as human and hence not murder.
The Jewish community also allowed abortion as the fetus were not considered
human until he/she was born. The early Christians however held a consistent
stand against abortion. Gorman believed that while greatly influenced by Greek
philosophy, the church nevertheless heeled Jesus' teaching in loving their neighbours
and the unborn fetus were regarded as a neighbour. The church fathers such as
Tertullian, Augustine, Basil the Great, Jerome and Ambrose were all against
Brown, H. O. J. (1977). Death before
Birth. New York, Thomas Nelson Inc, Publishers.
Harold Brown was professor of Systematic
Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity
School in Deerfield, Illinois.
He was one of the few Christians who sounded the alarm and called attention to
the increasing rate of abortion in the United States. I remember reading
this book and the impact it has on me. It must have been horrifying to
Professor Brown to know that in the years to come since his book, abortion was
legalised and has become a right in his country. And millions have died before
Hoffmeier, J. K., Ed. (1987). Abortion:
A Christian Understanding and Response. Grand Rapids, MI,
Baker Book House.
James Hoffmeier who teaches the Old
Testament at Wheaton
College has collected an
interesting mix of articles on abortion. There is a section on historical,
biblical and theological aspects such as "abortion in the ancient near
east," "abortion and the Old Testament law," another on ethical
aspect, and one on practical concerns.
The section on
practical concerns is good with articles on psychological consequences of
abortion, crisis-pregnancy ministry and after abortion ("What does a
Christian-especially a pastor- say to someone who has had an abortion?).
Hui, E. C. (2002). At the Beginning of
Life: Dilemmas in Theological Bioethics. Downes Groove, IL,
Edwin C. Hui is professor of
biomedical ethics and Christianity and Chinese culture at Regent
College, Vancouver and adjunct
professor of philosophy and religious studies at Peking, Fudan and Sichuen Universities. Hui's original training
was as a medical doctor. Hui approach to theological bioethics was through the
Christian understanding of personhood and how that applies to the beginning of
human life dilemmas.
George, R. P. and C. Tollefsen (2008). Embryo:
A Defence of Human Life. New York,
Robert George is Professor of
Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and
Institutions at Princeton
University and a member
of the President's Council on Bioethics. Christopher Tollefsen is Associate
Professor of Philosophy at the University
of South Carolina.
Questions about abortion and stem-cell research have created seemingly
unbridgeable gaps between Americans. Should faith-based views be considered
when deciding public policy? Using up-to-date research, George and Tollefsen
show that embryos are humans beings from conception; and argue against
"moral dualism" and the utilitarian worldview that places society's
"greater good" above the life of the fetus. This books differs from
others in the sense that the authors argue from the perspective of public
policy making in the United
States. They argued against embryonic stem
cell research and remind the public that the state has an "ethical and
moral obligation to protect embryonic human beings in just the same manner that
it protects every other human beings..." This is an irony when there is a
call by some Americans for the separation of church and state. However, it
seems that when it suits some people's purposes, the state should fight for
their causes. The King in the musical The
King and I would throw his hands up in despair, "It's a
puzzlement!" I agree with you, dear king.
Gula, R. M. (1994). Euthanasia: Moral
and Pastoral Perspectives. Mahwah,
NJ, Paulist Press.
Richard M. Gula, S.S. is professor
of moral theology at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California.
He gave the Catholic tradition's reasoning and motivations for opposing
physician-assisted suicide. It is interesting to read their well reasoned
objections. In Declaration on Euthanasia issued by Vatican Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith, June 26, 1980, there is a section on suffering.
"According to Christian teaching, however, suffering especially suffering
during the last moments of life, has a special place in God's saving plan; it
is in fact a sharing in Christ's passion and a union with the redeeming
sacrifice which he offered in obedience to the Father's will." Gula
outlines his pastoral response as "a call for the personal virtues of
humility, courage, hope, within a community or parish committed to caring,
hospitality, and interdependence."
Roland. (2009). The Right to Die? A Christian Response to Euthanasia.
Roland Chia is
Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College,
Singapore. This book is the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS)
statement in their stand against euthanasia. I am unable to discern how much of
it is Roland’s view and which is the consensus statement.
Larson, E. J. and D. W. Amundsen (1998). A
Different death: Euthanasia and the Christian Tradition. Downers Groove,
IL, InterVarsity Press.
Edward Larson is professor of
history and law at the University
of Georgia. Darrel
Amundsen is professor of classics and chair of the department of modern and
classical languages at Western Washington University,
Bellingham, Washington. This is one of the books that
influenced my thinking on euthanasia. These two authors did a historical survey
of euthanasia or mercy killing from the early church period until today. Since
mercy killing is closely associated to suicide, they also included suicide in
their survey. I was fascinated to learn that the ancient Greeks and Romans
favoured suicide which they think were honourable. The early church however was
counter-cultural and was against suicide in any form. It was Christians who
started the hospice movement in the last century. Highly recommended.
Tang, A. (2005). A Good Day to Die: A
Christian Perspective on Mercy Killing. Singapore, Genesis Books.
Euthanasia or mercy killing is an
emotive and controversial subject. Tremendous advances in medical sciences and
biomechanical technologies have prolonged our lives. Unfortunately, these same
knowledge and technologies have prolonged our dying. Many today struggle with
the issue of euthanasia or mercy killing, either for themselves or for their
loved ones. Alex Tang approaches this issue from different perspectives. He
uses examples from patient case histories to illustrate his points. This book
will help those who struggle with euthanasia or mercy killing to come to some
resolution of death with dignity. God in His sovereignty determines the times
of our birth and of our death. If He has chosen that day for us to die, then it
is a good day to die. When we bring about our own death, however, the day of
dying is not of God's choosing but of ours. Do we have the right to choose when
we die? Do we have the right to determine the way we are to die? And do we have
the right to ask someone to kill us?
Peck, M. S. (1997). Denial of the Soul:
Spiritual and Medical Perspectives on Euthanasia and Morality. London, Simon and
Psychiatrist Scott Peck examines the
issues of euthanasia and the culture of fear of our mortality. He makes some
interesting points which he illustrates from his medical experience. He writes,”
While it is not necessarily our lot in this age that we should suffer
physically to the end of our endurance, it is still our lot that we should so
suffer emotionally. The denial of this fact of life is the central defect of
the age." Death is not just the dead of the physical body. Peck argues
that we need to prepare for our deaths emotionally and spiritually. He thinks
that euthanasia is not justified. However he pointed out two issues related
with the euthanasia debate that need to be resolved: (1) the need for better
pain management, and (2) secularism (Americans claim to be religious but are
not committed spiritually). Peck provides a different perspective in our
dialogue on euthanasia.
Humphry, D. (1991, 1996). Final Exit:
The Practicalities of Self-deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying. New York, Dell
Humphry, 1992, Dying with Dignity:
Secaucas, NJ: Carol Publishing
caused a national sensation in the United States when he published
Final Exit in which he argues that everyone has a right to die and has a right
to ask others to help them to die. Humphry's personal experience when his first
wife, Jean, who was suffering from terminal breast cancer and asked him to help
her die affected him deeply. After her death in 1975, he started the National
Hemlock Society in 1980 which lobbies for legalisation of euthanasia and a
'right to die' movement. Humphry's second book, Dying with Dignity serves as a companion to Final Exit in which he presented a ‘systematic’ consideration for
the right-to-die movement.
Humphry writes a
blog, Assisted-Suicide Blog www.assistedsuicide.org
Koop, C. E. (1976). The Right to Live;
The Right to Die. Wheaton, IL, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Dr Koop was surgeon-in-chief at
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and professor of paediatric surgery at
the University of
Pennysylvania. He became
famous in 1974 when he and his team successfully separated Siamese twin girls
in a pioneering operation. This book was important as Koop looked at the
Supreme Court Ruling on abortion and Karen Quinlan from a personal, social,
medical, and theological point of view. Though the facts of the cases are
dated, his astute observations and predictions on how these two key events will
affect our lives are timeless.
Blocher, M. (1999). The Right to Die?
Caring Alternatives to Euthanasia. Chicago, Moody Press.
Mark B. Blocher is Director for the
Center for Biblical Ethics. There are a few approaches to bioethics. In 1982
psychologist Carol Gilligan suggests that women and men approach moral issues
differently. This is taken up by feminist thinking (I do not mean it in a
negative sense). Women are more emphatic and intuitive which Gilligan call the
'ethic of care.' Men on the other other hand, then to follow rules and
principles which was named 'ethic of right and justice.' However, these
approaches are not strictly gender restrictive. Blocher took on the ethic of
care in relationship to his work on the dying. However, being a Baptist pastor
and bioethicist, he wants to offer more than just what the "death with
dignity" movement is offering. "Killing is not caring," he writes,”
It may look compassion...even merciful but it is not." In the ethic of
care, he finds that he can offer more. Blocher suggests that Christians must be
proactive in providing alternatives to assisted suicide and euthanasia while
offering at least three promises to the terminally ill:
1. To the best of
our ability, we will not allow you to die in pain
2. We will not
allow you to be alone
3. You will not be
a burden to anyone
Caring for the
dying need commitment, sacrifice, and personal involvement.
Lock, M. (2002). Twice dead: Organ
Transplants and the Reinvention of Death. Berkeley
and Los Angeles, University of California
One of the key debates in organ
transplantation is the definition of death. The mostly held definition is the
Harvard definition which is brain dead- no EEG, no brain stem activity. There
is a need for organs for transplantation and the medical profession is
tinkering with the definition of death so as to get more viable organs for
transplantation. The definition of death has been modified to either brain dead
or cardiac death. Cardiac death occurs if there is proof that when a heart
stops, it is irreversible and unlike to resume beating again. The National
Institute of Medicine suggests 5 minutes but hospitals have been reducing the
time to 2 minutes and even 90 seconds. This means that a potential organ donor
is pronounced dead when he or her heart stops for 90 seconds and is prepared
for organ harvesting. In 90 seconds, the brain will still be alive. In some
hospitals, such patients are given large dose of morphine in case the potential
donor feels 'pain'. This is a funny argument because if someone feels pain,
that person must still be alive. I suspect the reason is that if allowing the
heart to stop doesn't cause brain death, the morphine will, thus sparing the
doctors, hospital, and ethics committees the embarrassment of being sued
because the heart restarts during organ harvesting. Margaret Lock did a good job of documenting
the shifting definition of death. The interesting title is because an organ
donor may die twice. His or her heart stops (cardiac death), then the body is
kept living by a machine, the heart restarted and then allowed to stop when the
organ harvesting has been done. This is a very thought provoking and
frightening book about organs transplantation.
Roland. (2009). The Ethics of Human Organ Trading. Singapore,
This is the National Council of
Churches Singapore (NCCS) statement of their stand against organ trading
written by Roland.
Peters, T. (2007). The Stem Cell Debate.
Minneapolis, MI, Fortress Press.
Ted Peters teaches systematic
theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological
Union in Berkeley, California. He is an associate of the Center
for Theology and the Natural Sciences and is the co-editor of the center's
journal Theology and Science. Peters gives a good overview of the stem cell
debate by framing the discussion into three frameworks:
(1) The embryo
protection framework. The moral status of the ex vivo embryo (not implanted)
and the principle of non-maleficience are central
(2) The nature
protection framework. The fear that we may cross the line to manipulate
genetics as in 'playing God'
(3) The medical
benefits framework. Beneficience that puts relief of human suffering as the
core of its reasoning
It is out of these
three frameworks that a fourth will arise-The research standards framework
which will essentially be government policies informed by the other three
K. Campbell, et al. (2000). The Second creation: Dolly and the Age of
Biological Control. Cambridge, MA, Harvard
Ian Wilmut was with Roslin Institute
when he successfully cloned Dolly. I believe he is working in Biopolis in
Singapore now; nope he left. Keith Campbell is a cell biologist and
embryologist with the University
of Nottingham. Colin
Tudge is a science writer. The first part of the book was an account of their
work with cloning Dolly from the cell of an adult sheep in 1996. The second
part was interesting as they reflected on their breakthrough in genetic
engineering, genomics, and cloning using adult cells. They believed there will
be tremendous ramification from their experiments and predict great changes in
biological experimentation. Biology will the the next area of scientific
development. It was interesting that they entitled their book, The Second Creation. An interesting
insight into how scientists work, think and behave.
Tang, A. (2006). Live and Let Live: A
Christian Perspective on Biotechnology. Petaling Jaya, Kairos Research
Centre Sdn Bhd.
This is the age of
cutting edge biotechnology. With the completion of the mapping of the human
genome in 2000, we are poised for a great leap in life-changing
biotechnological discoveries and innovations. The Bible does not give specific
answers to these questions. Using biblical principles, this book seeks to help
Christians to understand and be informed about these issues. Some of these
questions may sound like science fiction. We have seen the way the silicon
revolution of computers; mobile phones and the Internet have changed our lives
within a decade. The biotechnology revolution has already begun. We are just
beginning to experience its effect. We are living in ‘interesting times’.
Tada, J. E. and N. M. d. D. Cameron (2006).
How to be a Christian in a Brave New World. Grand Rapids, MI,
Joni is a quadriplegic who has spent
three decades advocating for the disability community. Nigel M. de Cameron is
research professor of bioethics at the Illinois Institute of Technology and
president of the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future. The book is
targeted at the general informed reading public and deals with human cloning,
designer babies, redefining human nature and human harvesting. Though they do
not offer new arguments, the recommended reading list and the Internet links are
worth looking at.
Peters, T. (1996). For the Love of
Children: Genetic Technology and the Future of the Family. Louisville,
John Knox Press.
Ted Peters is professor of
systematic theology at pacific Lutheran Seminary. His writing is very precise
and logical. In this book he takes on the challenge of looking at biotechnology
and molecular genetics from the children's viewpoint. This is a unique approach
and Peters' thesis is that all children have claims on their parents and in
turn their families. This places the responsibility of guarding the morality
and placing boundaries on genetic research and application on the parents and
indirectly on society and the church. He proposes an ethic "for the love
Fukuyama, F. (2002). Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the
Biotechnology Revolution. London,
Francis Fukuyama is Bernard L
Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H Nitze
School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins
University. A social
published The End of History and the Last Man in 1989 which which he
proclaimed that due to the exhaustion of alternatives to liberal democracy,
history as we know it has come to an end. Ten years later and we are still here;
he revised his theories to that history has not ended yet because we have not
reached the end of science. Fukuyama
asks an important question: How does the ability to modify human nature affect
liberal democracy? Fukuyama
examines how the changing understanding of human nature -from Plato and
Aristotle to the present- has affected society. Then he extrapolates into the
future on how the consequences of genetic manipulation will affect society
especially liberal democracy. The foundation of liberal democracy is based on
the concept that all humans are created equal.
Labels: Biomedical Ethics