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EXI419: Bioethics

Taught by a religion teacher and biology teacher, this course dives into questions that are as basic as the meaning of life. 

Humans' capacity to alter their world at the biological level has risen to new heights in the past 50 years. With advanced technologies such as gene editing, cloning and stem cell research, medical procedures such as organ donation, abortion and IVF and biological manipulations of our food production systems and ecosystems in the news daily, a discussion of the ethical underpinnings of these technologies is requisite. What is the right thing to do? What is worth the most time, effort and resources? What are our obligations to each other and other organisms on which we depend? Who is responsible for the outcomes of the science, to whom and for what? Is there a moral question here, and how should we respond? The study of bioethics is multidisciplinary. It integrates ideas from theology, history, philosophy and law with modern medicine, health-care and biological research. This is a team-taught course given by a religion teacher and biology teacher that will dive into these significant questions that are as basic as the meaning of life, when does it really begin and end, how do we attenuate the pain and suffering of other beings and what are our rights and the responsibility that comes with those rights. We will not only be discussing the ethics of several biological techniques, but will be learning the biology involved and spending time in the lab performing some of them ourselves, for example, running a lab using the CRISPR/Cas 9 system to do gene editing. Pre-requisite: one year of introductory biology. Students may choose to take the course for either a Religion or Biological Science credit, which will determine the nature of their final project. Open to uppers and seniors.