A Populist Bioethics Commission?

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on December 19, 2016

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Our friend Wesley Smith makes some provocative suggestions for President-Elect Trump to establish a “populist bioethics commission.”

The issue is pressing because biomedical technology is way out ahead of our policies:

We are entering Brave New World territory, with potentially momentous impact on culture and the concept of family. Human cloning has, with way too little fanfare, been accomplished. Researchers are on the verge of creating sperm and eggs from skin cells. Efforts are underway to open the door to the creation of “three-parent” embryos. Transhumanists argue in favor of “seizing control of human evolution” and creating a “post-human species.”

The best way in a democracy to work toward better policy is through a well-informed citizenry. While not everyone will agree with all parts of Smith’s proposal, his third point is excellent!

Third, a populist bioethics commission would broaden its focus beyond offering arcane policy guidance. It should also sponsor public presentations and debates, have members appear on radio and television, and make extensive use of social media to engage the public in bioethical controversies and principles. If the people are paying greater attention to the potentially culture-changing issues within the commission’s purview, politicians would have little choice but to follow.

Bioethics is a tremendously important issue that receives far, far too little attention. Kudos to Smith for putting forward this idea.

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