These are my sons Liam and Adrian. They’re turning three next month. We’re having a ball. My wife and I are about to have our third, a daughter, due any day now – maybe even as I’m typing here. I’m not kidding. Of course, often when we look at our children, we think about their futures. We try to imagine the type of world they will inhabit and we plan ways to prepare them for and protect them from that world. I suppose every generation fears the worst.
But there is a lot to be excited about. The “Biotech Century” that is upon us holds a great deal of promise for us and our children. Within our lifetimes we may witness dramatic cures, and experience healthier and maybe longer lives. Is there a cost? Perhaps. What makes our time unique is that for the first time in human history we are faced with the task of defining what it means to be human. Google search any various bioethics buzz words like “cloning”,”stem cell research”, “euthanasia”, or “egg donation” and you will find articles all wrestling essentially with this issue. This question is the core of the bioethics debate.
And this debate is no longer confined to academia, as it was 30 years ago. This is our bioethics, this our children’s bioethics. It is our responsibility to engage the debate in meaningful, thoughtful and creative ways so that we can provide an answer that respects and protects all human life.
This is what CBC is about. Our mission is this: Equip people to face the challenges of the 21st century, defend the dignity of humankind, and embrace ethical biotechnology for the human good. And we offer a host of resources, events, news, this enewsletter, and much more to drive that mission. Of course most of this is free for all but it takes resources and time to produce and maintain. So, if your not a member of CBC, become one. If you are a member, then donate to CBC and help us fulfill our mission.
I expect that my children and your children will have some challenging issues to face in the future, if not already. We will have gone a long way, though, if today we can plant a vision within them that values and protects the weak and vulnerable among us.
Paul van der Bijl is New Media Director for the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network.
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