Biodebatable

Hello and welcome to the “Biodebatable” podcast, a place where we will confront our bioconundrums and foster informed dissent.

In each episode, one moderator will host a discussion between two people debating a difficult and worthwhile question. Such as…

 


Did the tumor make them do it?

In a follow up episode, Daniel Clough moderates a discussion between two participants, Barry Belmont and Bobby Graham, each providing a distinct answer to the questions: “Did the tumor make them do it?” Inspired by the story of Charles Whitman, the infamous Texas Tower shooter who killed 17 people in August of 1966, whose autopsy later showed he had a sizable tumor near his amygdala, a region of the brain governing the experience of emotions, Barry and Bobby debate one’s culpability with respect to one’s biology. Barry posits that while we are subject to our biology, we are also ultimately its master. Bobby contends that we are not subject to our biology – we are our biology. All of our thoughts, actions, emotions – i.e. all of the things that make us human – can be traced to neural origins.

In an effort to understand their positions and perhaps come to something of a consensus, we will hear what these two have to say on the matter. You can hear it below.

 


What is the ideal number of fertilized embryos for in vitro fertilization procedures?

In our augural episode, Barry Belmont moderates a discussion between two participants, Josiah Simeth and Daniel Clough, each providing an answer to the question: “What is the ideal number of fertilized embryos for in vitro fertilization procedures?” Josiah posits embryos have moral value stemming from their predisposition to develop into a person with a future . As such he holds that the ideal number of fertilized embyros is the minimum number needed to achieve the number of viable offspring desired (i.e., one viable embryo for each eventual child). Dan contends that embyonic stem cell lines are valuable to new fields of medicine (such as regenerative medicine) and as such the ideal number of fertilized embryos should be the maximum a mother can safely, healthily, and consensually donate (in conjunction with a father).

In an effort to understand their positions and perhaps come to something of a consensus, we recorded what these two have to say on the matter. You can hear it below.

References

How Not to Argue That Embryos Lack Full Moral Status