August 19, 2011
WOOSTER, Ohio - The ongoing and sometimes contentious debate about bioethics will resume this fall when The College of Wooster's Fall Academy of Religion presents "Bioethics: Under The Microscope — The Search for Our Selves." The six-session lecture series will feature scholars from a variety of backgrounds, including three faculty members from The College of Wooster. Each session begins at 7:30 p.m. in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.).
Bioethics involves a reflection on the issues raised by the biological revolution. It prompts a discussion that is necessarily interdisciplinary because it requires an understanding of the science that is involved and an accurate assessment of actual benefits and potential risks, according to Charles Kammer, the James F. Lincoln professor of religious studies at The College of Wooster and academic dean of the Fall Academy as well as one of the speakers.
“(Bioethics) requires the input of social scientists for the many new technologies that have social implications," said Kammer. “There is also a need for the wisdom of philosophical and religious traditions, which have, for countless generations, reflected on the fundamental questions of what it means to be human and how we should live our lives.”
The Academy, which is in its 43rd year at Wooster, will look at the bioethics debate from multiple viewpoints, welcoming speakers and audience members with different perspectives to engage in the dialogue. “By the 1960’s… medical knowledge had expanded so rapidly, new techniques had become so powerful, and medical research so expanded that a host of new issues arose,” said Kammer. “Physicians, their patients, and society at large were bombarded with a host of questions, ranging from very practical ones to deep philosophical and theological ones.”
The lectures will cover a range of topics, from when life begins to when death occurs. Other issues will include the implications of contraceptives and abortion; the effects of genetic engineering; the role of government funding; and the future of the nation’s healthcare system.
Kammer will kick off discussion when he presents "Bioethics: More Questions than Answers" at the opening lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Paul Lauritzen, professor of theology and religious studies at John Carroll University, will speak one week later on the topic of "Humming with Mystery: Synthetic Biology and Playing God," on Sept. 21.
The third lecture will feature Thomas Tierney, professor of sociology at Wooster, presenting "Biomedicine and the Chosen Death Movement" on Sept. 28, followed by Dean Fraga, professor of biology, biochemistry and molecular biology at Wooster, discussing "Morality in an Age of Expanding Possibilities" on Oct. 5.
The fifth lecture, which will be delivered by Moni McIntyre from the Center for Social and Public Policy at Duquesne University, will address "Health Care and Social Justice in the United States" on Oct. 12, and Kammer will close out the series on Oct. 19, with "Brave New World?: Humanity’s Search For Itself."
Each of the lectures is free and open to the public. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2473) or e-mail.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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