The Aspen Ideas Festival is a meeting that I had never heard of until recently (I actually found it Googling for “Bioethics and Politics” and “Bioethics and Policy” which are names I’ve come up with for alternative blogs in case I decide to change my focus) There are audio recordings and transcripts online which contain segments that should be fascinating to many of us, whether our primary interest is religion, politics or bioethics.
If you want to see who are considered the elite thinkers in this country – at least by others who consider themselves elite thinkers – take a look at the website and listen or watch some of the sessions from the July, 2006 event.
One segment is audio-only, “Politics and technology.” Nigel Cameron links to it on his blog, and he was the sole prolife member of the panel. Other panel members include Neal Lane, a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University at Houston, Texas and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 1998-2000, Doroth Shore Zinberg, a sociologist and lecturer in Science, Technology and Public Policy at Harvard, and Lawrence Krauss, a professor in Physics and Astronomy who has written The Physics of Star Trek.
The one thing that all of the panelists agreed to in the very enlightening hour and a half, is that all of us should become involved in policy making, whether it’s in politics, our professional associations, or in teaching about science and ethics in our local communities and churches. I love it when people so much more brilliant than I agree to even part of the mission and vision that I wrote for LifeEthics:
We encourage all of our members, especially medical and scientific professionals, to become involved in setting the policies of their communities, associations, schools and businesses in order to ensure that those organizations maintain high ethical standards.
We educate the public and professional communities on current events
concerning the right to life and liberty of humans.Our members mentor one another in opportunities to serve in professional and academic capacities to fulfill our mission. We monitor and alert our members and the public about unethical scientific research and medical therapy. We are active in our own institutions and associations in order to influence the policy decisions of the organizations that represent us.
We use standard scientific and medical definitions and verifiable scientific data whenever possible in our position statements and deliberations and expert opinions only when the evidence is not available.
(The full panel would not be in agreement with the section that is struck.)