Is Neurotheology the Latest Trend in Bioethics? Reply

What is the latest in bioethics?

Fr Joseph Tham

One of the buzzwords of bioethics in the next few decades will likely be “neuro”.  When I was in medical school, we were told that little is known about how the brain works.  However, neuroscience has gained a lot of knowledge in these last 30 years because of the advances of imaging techniques coupled with powerful computer technology.

The tremendous progress on understanding how the human brain works can revolutionize our comprehension of ourselves and our society.  Hence, there are important ethical implications on how to apply this new knowledge. More…

Theology of the Body and Bioethics Reply

Fr Joseph Tham

In my first year of medical practice, I still clearly remember the case of a patient who came to me, truly distressed because he had committed an act of adultery with his secretary.  He wanted me to test him for AIDS, since he was unwilling to put his wife at risk, not knowing if this casual encounter would have infected him. More…

When Does a Person Become a Person? 6

This morning, a Facebook-friend (more than a FB-friend, but a good old friend I have not seen in quite a while — Cheers, Johannes!) asked me a question:

Can you help me with this question? A question to the scientists and philosophers out there: some argue that the moment brainwaves start during fetal development is the moment it is a human being. Response? More…

Does Science Need Ethics? Reply

Last May, I was invited to give a talk on this topic at the Faith and Leadership Conference, organized by Renewal in the Spirit Community in Hong Kong.   At first, it seems like an odd question.  It is evident that science and scientists needs to be ethical in their research and their work.  One only needs to recall the haunting images of the atomic bomb explosions over Japan and the Nazi doctors forcing experimentations on concentration camp prisoners.  Science can certainly offer many important advantages to improve our lives, but if it ignores ethics, it could also be used against humanity. More…

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Catholicism Pure & Simple

Note: Whilst preparing this I looked for the article in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The paper on after-birth abortion referred to was by Australians  Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. Mysteriously, their article has ‘disappeared’ from the on-line version of said Journal.

+ Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
11 Mar 2012

There were 44 million abortions worldwide in 2008 according to last month’s issue of the Lancet.

It is a huge number; big enough to worry the editor, who declared that reducing abortion “is now an urgent priority for all countries”.

But not everyone agrees.  Also last month in another medical journal, two Australian academics opened abortion’s last frontier with a discussion of the “ethics” of “after-birth abortion”.

The argument is simple enough.  There are persons and “potential persons”, who are in fact “non-persons” and can be killed.

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The Ethics of Infanticide: Why Should the Baby Die? Reply

Fr Joseph Tham, LC, MD, PhD

“Doctors said they could do no more and sent me home to die – I’m still waiting.”– Nicky Chapman

Suppose you delivered a baby with osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare condition with defect in collagen formation that makes the bones brittle and easy to fracture.  In this case, the condition commonly known as brittle bone disease was so severe that at birth alone the infant suffered 50 fractures. The prognosis was very poor, and the baby would probably grow up blind, deaf and unable to communicate and with severely diminished mental functions. What would you recommend the parents to do? More…