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Author Monty Self

As a college ethics teacher, I have always tried to encourage my students to develop a reasoned argument that would support their position. Many of my students quickly develop a syllogism designed to support their existing conclusions, only to be disappointed with my curt reply: “That sounds pretty impressive but did you start with the […] Read More

Apathy. All ethicists fear the word. Apathy occurs when an individual cares about an issue – but not enough to take action. Moral debate requires action and change. Without a push for moral action, our sermons, articles and fireside chats simply become mindless complaining or pointless rhetoric filled with apathy. We cannot say we are […] Read More

According to the UnitedNetworkforOrganSharing (UNOS), more than 112,000 people are currently on a waiting list for a lifesaving organ. On average, 18 people die every day while waiting for one of these precious organs. Today a potential donor can help up to nine individuals. While the nation’s AssociationofOrganProcurementOrganizations has made great strides in addressing the […] Read More

Every week we hear of a new drug, life-saving therapy or reproductive technology, and our communities are filled with families wrestling with whether to withdraw ventilator support from a loved one. Evangelicals often turn to the people they trust for spiritual guidance, hoping to find a sound voice of moral reason based on biblical principles. […] Read More

Prior to the Founding Fathers’ prohibition against the establishment of religion and support for the free exercise of religion, Baptists were speaking up for the right to worship.   Before John Locke elegantly wrote about religious liberty, Baptists were already defending the rights of other religious traditions to practice openly their faith.   Religious liberty […] Read More

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized last week to the Guatemalan people for gross ethics violations committed by U.S. researchers in the 1940s.   From 1946-48, a team of researchers attempted to ascertain the effectiveness of penicillin on the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, specifically syphilis.   A disturbing […] Read More

Banned Any Good Books Lately?

For the last 14 years, I have enjoyed teaching philosophy and ethics. Where else can you get paid to sit around and reflect upon the significance of ideas? If philosophers understand and agree upon nothing else, it is this axiom: Ideas are dangerous things. Ideas are the things of revolutions.   Voltaire was correct when […] Read More

On May 20, J. Craig Venter announced that he and his team have successfully created “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”   The announcement was followed by a flurry of sensationalist headlines. The New York Times led with “Synthetic Bacterial Genome Takes Over a Cell” while the […] Read More

On April 23, Sen. Tom Harkin announced at Jordan Creek Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, that he was planning to introduce the “Keep Our Educators Working Act.”   The senator’s proposal appears to be in response to the recent layoff of teachers nationwide and specifically the 74 teachers recently laid off in the Des […] Read More

One of the hallmarks of bioethics is respect for personal autonomy. Modern ethicists have stressed this virtue to a fault. Competent patients have a right to refuse any medical intervention, even if those interventions can enhance one’s quality of life or even extend one’s life.   Since the Nuremberg Code, researchers have been bound by […] Read More