. Do not simply cut and paste from the reading, but summarize the main points in your own words.The chapters to be summarized include: CHAPTER 12: Marriage Equality CHAPTER 13: Bioethics CHAPTER 14: The World as We Found ItCHAPTER 15: Critical Thinking and the Good Life
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Critical Thinking and the
After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
17.1 Discuss the meaning of the good life in relation to the diversity all
17.2 Analyze the need to use critical thinking in developing your own
What is good, what is right?
What is the right way to live? What is the right thing to do?
These crucial questions about an examined life themselves might
seem to address separate issues, and deep divides even within
each question can confound the best of us.
Yet, it is precisely by reaching for the best in us, by thinking critically
about our possibilities, and by recognizing our differences that we
may approach answers to both questions.
Pluralism and Diversity
The good life must include our recognition of this diversity. The good
life must take into account our relations with those who disagree
with our choices only because we all seem to be in the same boat.
The good life must begin with an open-mindedness and a capacity
to engage different points of view.
Pluralism is a reality, but pluralism cannot confuse the critical
analysis of moral values
Why is there so much evil?
Epicurus was a materialist philosopher who followed the lead of the
early pre-Socratic atomists and believed that there was no afterlife
or indeed nothing otherworldly about our existence. He was
particularly vocal about the problem of evil, a subject that
challenges philosophers and theologians to this day.
If God is omnipotent, Epicurus, asked, why doesn’t he eliminate
evil? If God is unable to do that, then he is not omnipotent; if he is
able to eliminate evil but doesn’t, then he must be evil himself.
With a nod to Aristotle, Epicurus developed a moral philosophy that
values happiness as our ultimate goal in life, a happiness
achievable by not fearing death, by enjoying life’s small pleasures,
and by finding guidance in the pursuit of wisdom.
Cultivating friendships and living a good life consisted of achieving
freedom from worry, what he called ataraxia. That, according to
Epicurus, was the goal of any lifetime.
Ethics, Reason and The Good Life
Ethics is a complex subject, difficult to isolate and tough to pin
down. Theories conflict with each other as much as they can
illuminate each other.
The different moral theories discussed in this book can illuminate
each other and help you find your own moral strategies and
critically strengthen your own principles.
Clarity is a desired goal that is not always reached, but action is a
The World As We Found It
After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
14.1 Critically analyze arguments surrounding the issue of global
14.2 Discuss the utilitarian arguments for and against doing something
about climate change and its effects.
14.3 Articulate the opposing moral and political positions on global
When it comes to global warming and climate change, it is often
the case that both economic and political factors shade the moral
debate and even plant doubts on the validity of science. So,
scientist have coined a new phrase “weirding” ( since warning is
debatable) its cold in the winter and hot in the summer… sounds
The question of the place of humanity in the world and of our duties
to that world has long been fodder for challenging philosophical
debates, however, and these debates carry an increasingly urgent
tone in the 21st century.
There have been several ways of approaching the question of the
moral status of the environment, from Natural Law arguments about
our supremacy in nature to a recent wave of ecofeminism that ties
together the oppression of women and the oppression of the
Claiming moral standing for nonhuman animals—unrelated to
humans—has made persuasive arguments, especially when paired
with solid utilitarian reasons why one ought not let, for example, a
species like penguins die out as a result of global warming.
Not more important than an Oyster
“You’ll feel better if you recycle” is an Aristotelian promise behind
more than one ecological campaign. “Be good to Mother Earth
and she will be good to you” is a rather sweet slogan for many wellintentioned activists who perhaps fail to notice that the Earth is
nobody’s mother, that it is a thing with no consciousness and much
The clever Scottish philosopher, David Hume, wasn’t joking when he
noted that “The life of man is of no greater importance to the
universe than that of an oyster.”
Former Vice President Al Gore
“What we take for granted might not be here for our children,” said
the former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore in his impassioned call to
action, An Inconvenient Truth. “Our civilization has never
experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this.”
The book, together with his 2006 documentary of the same title, was
in fact a follow-up to Gore’s earlier book Earth in the Balance:
Forging a New Common Purpose as well as other books and articles
he has written both before and after his political career.
In the 1970’s leading climatologist were very concerned about the
change in global temperatures. Leading scientific journals were
publishing articles based on data that the Earth was cooling and we
were headed for another ice age!
Flash forward 20 years later and scientists and politicians are worried
about global warming. If you ask some scientists, they will admit that
we are in between ice ages. The next one is coming, be it in a 100
years or 10,000 years.
Given this scientific fact, does global warming at this moment really
matter, and is there anything we can do to really effect global
climate cycles that happen over eons?
No Global Warming in Florida
The Miami Herald in 2015 reported that Governor Rick Scott issued
orders to state officials including those working for the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection not to use the terms
“climate change” or “global warming” in any official
communications, emails, press releases, or any other information
released by state offices.
Those orders still stand. In other words, the subject cannot be
Other states are considering similar measures.
Global Warming is a reality… for some…
Warmer oceans, more tropical cyclones, stronger hurricanes, rising
Extremes in weather, change in environment resulting in loss of
habitats for numerous creatures.
More than 110 glaciers have disappeared from Montana’s Glacier
National Park over the past 150 years, and researchers estimate that
the park’s remaining 37 glaciers may be gone in another 25 years.
Half a world away on the African equator, Hemingway’s snows of
Kilimanjaro are steadily melting and could completely disappear in
the next 20 years.
In the Alps, Andes, and Rockies, glaciers are retreating and
disappearing every year.
The term “acid rain” is commonly used to mean the deposition of
acidic components in rain, snow, fog, dew, or dry particles. The
more accurate term is “acid precipitation.”
Distilled water, which contains no carbon dioxide, has a neutral pH
of 7. Liquids with a pH less than 7 are acid, and those with a pH
greater than 7 are alkaline (or basic).
“Clean” or unpolluted rain has a slightly acidic pH of 5.6 because
carbon dioxide and water in the air react together to form carbonic
acid, a weak acid.
Acid in DC
Around Washington, D.C. the average rain pH is between 4.2 and
The extra acidity in rain comes from the reaction of air pollutants,
primarily sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, with water in the air to
form strong acids (like sulfuric and nitric acid). The main sources of
these pollutants are vehicles and industrial and power-generating
In Washington D.C., the main local sources are cars, trucks, and
Numerous Other Concerns
The environment, plant and animal extinctions, human
development of natural lands, and fossil fuels are all major issues
within this topic.
Genetic Engineering, Stem
Cell Research, and Human
After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
13.1 Explain the difference between positive and negative genetic
13.2 Evaluate the ethical issues involved in stem cell research.
13.3 Evaluate the ethical issues involved in human cloning.
Some of the topics of bioethics may seem too technical (or too farfetched to be discussed in a contemporary moral issue course); I,
myself, thought this might be the case. I believed it might be too
technical or simply too far removed from our everyday experiences
to be pertinent to the students in the course. Many of the topics
seemed like an episode of X-files as opposed to actual everyday life
to be relevant to students.
In hindsight (with the benefit of some research), I see that nothing
could have been further from the truth. A little empirical
investigation determined that scientists were genetically modifying
food, screening the DNA of humans before birth, cloning animals,
and creating plant/animal hybrids
Types of Genetic Engineering
Negative-Correct a genetic defect
Positive-Make a life-form better. AKA, Eugenics- make
improvements upon organism.
Types of Genetic Therapy
Germ line Therapy
Somatic therapy is a type of genetic therapy that only affects the
Changes are not passed on to any subsequent generations or off
Germ Line Therapy
Germ line therapy is a type of genetic therapy that not only affects
the individual but also the off spring.
Changes are passed on to subsequent generations.
Splicing is a method where genes from one organism are
“spliced” into the DNA of another organism.
This is the most common method of genetic engineering.
“Can we do better than God?”
“Decisions: the Genetic Supermarket”
Argues that we cannot get it better than God.
His main point is that if we make everyone with superhuman powers
and abilities the world will become a dramatically different and
radically worse place.
The awe of human creation and achievement will be lost, with
everyone excelling at everything.
Argues that both positive and negative genetic engineering are
He employs the philosophical argument of Robert Nozick, a
Most libertarians are against any government interference in the
private affairs of citizens, but Nozick recognizes the inherent
dangers in genetic engineering and suggest a system of
government regulation at the “genetic supermarket”.
In the genetic supermarket parents would have a limited voice in
opting for genetic engineering of both positive and negative
The government would simply ensure that no dangerous
modifications were made.
The Council for Responsible Genetics
Opposes the use of germ-line therapy in humans. Further any
changes made to an organism at an embryonic stage have the
potential to be passed on to future generations, like Germ line
The goal of cleansing the gene pool of recessive genes and to
improve the human organism would take thousands of years.
Further, such benefits would only be realized by families and not by
the population as a whole.
Dolly the Sheep
In 1997 Scientist in Scotland cloned the first mammal- Dolly the
sheep. Not everyone was pleased.
In 2003 Dolly passed away from complications related to her
$50,000 to Clone Your Cat!
In 2002 scientist cloned the worlds first cat.
In 2004 a woman paid $ 50,000 to have her dead cat cloned.
Choose The Sex of Your Baby!
In vitro Fertilization has been used for years to help couples have
PGD- Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis can be used to sort
embryos before they are implanted.
Choose Your Trait
Splicing is a method where genes from one organism are
“spliced” into the DNA of another organism. This is the most
common method of genetic engineering.
Gene splicing improves pork farm waste
In the last few years, scientists at Ontario’s University of Guelph
have created Enviropigs™, a line of transgenic pigs containing
both mouse and bacterial chromosomes; the pigs cost less to
feed and produce less noxious manure.
The USDA now certifies all food that has an organic label to be
What it means: Organic food is produced without using most
Fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge;
Bioengineering; (genetic Engineering.)
Which means conventional foods may have all of these.
To get the seal…
Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Governmentapproved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to
make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet
USDA organic standards.
Organic Food Contaminated
A variety of foods marked ‘organic’ or ‘GM-free’ sold in the United
Kingdom have been found to contain genetically modified (GM)
Researchers found that out of 25 organic or health food products
that should have been GM-free, 10 contained GM soy.
Mix and Match Crops
The United States and Argentina, two of the largest soy producers in
the world, produce mostly GM soy, and GM-free crops are often
mixed with GM crops after harvesting.
Further, seeds that are supposed to be GM-free can contain from 1
percent to 2 percent GM varieties.
Over 60 percent of processed foods sole in supermarkets contain
Researchers suggest that it will become increasingly difficult to keep
organic products GM-free and even say that the problem will be 10
times worse in just one year.
Embryonic- created by means of in vitro fertilization. They are
harvested after 5-6 days from a cell know as a blastocyst.
They do not come from aborted fetuses.
They have the potential to change into any type of cell found
Adult – found in bone marrow. Harvested at any time in a
adult person’s life.
Potential to become only a limited number of specialized
Embryonic Stem cells the potential to develop into many different
cell types in the body.
Theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the
person or animal is still alive.
Each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become
another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle
cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.
Two Important Traits
Stem cells have two important characteristics that distinguish them
from other types of cells.
They are unspecialized cells that renew themselves for long periods
through cell division.
They can become cells with special functions such as the beating cells
of the heart
For Over 20 Years
Scientists discovered ways to obtain or derive stem cells from early
mouse embryos more than 20 years ago.
In 1998, they discovered how to isolate stem cells from human
embryos and grow the cells in the laboratory.
These are called human embryonic stem cells
Embryonic Stem Cells (continued)
Embryonic Stem Cells, are derived from embryos that develop from
eggs that have been fertilized in vitro- in an in vitro fertilization
clinic—and then donated for research purposes with informed
consent of the donors.
They are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman’s body.
The embryos from which human embryonic stem cells are derived
are typically five or six days old and are a hollow microscopic ball of
cells called the blastocyst.
Adult Stem Cell
An undifferentiated cell found in a differentiated tissue that
can renew itself and (with certain limitations) differentiate to
yield all the specialized cell types of the tissue from which it
For example, an adult stem cell found in the liver could become
any type of cell found in the organ.
In All Parts of Our Body
Adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, contain
adult stem cells that can generate replacements for cells that are
lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease.
Recently a comatose patient regenerated neural tissue. This was
documented in the by scientist.
This could be a result of stem cells.
Adult Stem Cells (continued)
The primary roles of adult stem cell in a living organism are to
maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found.
Some scientists now use the term somatic stem cell instead of adult
Unlike embryonic stem cells, which are defined by their origin (the
inner cell mass of the blastocyst), the origin of adult stem cells in
mature tissues is unknown.
History of Adult Stem Cells
In the 1960s, researchers discovered that the bone marrow contains
at least two kinds of stem cells.
Hematopoietic stem cells form all the types of blood cells in the body.
Bone marrow stromal cells were discovered a few years later. Stromal
cells are a mixed cell population that generates bone, cartilage, fat,
and fibrous connective tissue.
Adult Stem Cells in The Body
Adult stem cells have been identified in many organs and tissues.
There are a very small number of stem cells in each tissue.
Stem cells are thought to reside in a specific area of each tissue
where they may remain (non-dividing) for many years until they are
activated by disease or tissue injury.
The adult tissues reported to contain stem cells include brain, bone
marrow, peripheral blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, skin and
The Promise of Stem Cells
Some of the most serious medical conditions, such as cancer and
birth defects, are due to problems that occur somewhere in this
A better understanding of normal cell development will allow us to
understand and perhaps correct the errors that cause these
Embryonic Stem Cell Therapies
Scientists have been able to do experiments with human embryonic
stem cells (hESC) only since 1998, when a group led by Dr. James
Thompson at the University of Wisconsin developed a technique to
isolate and grow the cells.
Federal funds to support hESC research have been available since
only August 9, 2001, when Former President Bush announced his
decision on Federal funding for hESC research.
Former President Bush on Stem Cells
“Research on embryonic stem cells raises profound ethical
questions, because extracting the stem cell destroys the embryo,
and thus destroys its potential for life. Like a snowflake, each of
these embryos is unique, with the unique genetic potential of an
individual human being.”
Federal Funding for Existing Cells
“As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically
diverse stem cell lines already exist. They were created from
embryos that have already been destroyed, and they have
the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely, creating
ongoing opportunities for research. I have concluded that we
should allow federal funds to be used for research on these
existing stem cell lines, where the life and death decision has
already been made.” – Former …
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