Bioethics - the ethics of everyday life
3.5 (4 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
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Bioethics - the ethics of everyday life

Let's create world of abundance and respect for everyone!
3.5 (4 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
838 students enrolled
Created by Angelina Souren
Last updated 5/2020
English
English [Auto]
Current price: $34.99 Original price: $49.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 47 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Assignments
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • You will gain a greater awareness of innovative views in areas of diversity and inclusivity.
  • You will be more skillful in formulating and supporting your own views during meetings and negotiations.
  • You will build up more knowledge to support so-called green choices.
  • You will be able to add much more variety and strength to your written communications.
  • You will become more flexible in countering traditional arguments during meetings and negotiations.
Requirements
  • A general level of knowledge should be enough.
  • This course requires commitment as some of the topics are tough.
  • The willingness to look at societal issues from different angles can also be a plus.
  • In other words, having a motivated interest should see you through along with the support from me and the other course participants.
Description

You can’t open a newspaper or go to any news site without seeing at least one news item that has to do with bioethics.

Bioethics? Much more than medical ethics.

It includes how we look after the planet and other species on it.

It was Fritz Jahr in 1927, who came up with the word "bioethics" when he published the article: “Bio-Ethik: Eine Umschau über die ethischen Beziehungen des Menschen zu Tier und Pflanze”. The article introduced what he would later call "the Bioethical Imperative".

"All living beings are entitled to respect and should be treated not as means but as ends in themselves."

Bioethics is a challenging and exciting combination of policy, law, ethics, science & technology, politics, philosophy and even more, such as economy.

Literally, bioethics means “the ethics of life”.


WHO YOU ARE

You care about what goes on in the world, and you have guts.

You want to accomplish positive change, but may not always know what approach to take and may sometimes find yourself at a loss during discussions with certain professionals, business people and politicians. This course may be able to help you with that.

“Bioethics, the ethics of everyday life” is a relatively academic course, one that will strengthen your critical thinking muscles and help you approach difficult topics from various viewpoints.


WHAT YOU WILL GAIN FROM THIS COURSE

Depending on your current skill level and attitudes, it may teach you new skills and will certainly hand you arguments that you can use in discussions and in written communications.

It will likely provide you with a better foundation to negotiate for what you believe in and help you build a better future for all. It can also make you see more easily where other people's opinions are coming from, which can enable you to build bridges to cross such chasms.

  • After this course, you will likely find that you are more motivated and continuing to develop your critical thinking skills.

  • You will gain a greater awareness of innovative views in areas of diversity and inclusivity.

  • You will build up more knowledge to support so-called green choices.

  • You will be more skillful in formulating and supporting your own views during meetings and negotiations.

  • You will gain more flexibility in countering traditional arguments during meetings and negotiations.

  • You will be able to add much more variety and strength to your written communications.


COURSE CURRICULUM

The course is shaped like an ocean wave. It builds up from a light beginning into pretty heavy and theoretical stuff, in longer lectures, and is rounded off with a return to lighter, shorter lectures.

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION

This section sets out what this course is about. Surprise surprise.

  • Lecture 1. Introduction
    This lecture gives you information to do with this course and looks into the use of rhetoric, as a tool you can use and as something you need to be aware of.

SECTION 2: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN

This is a question many philosophers ponder and that is highly relevant for the bigger picture in all sorts of discussion. It can serve as a tool to base arguments on.

  • Lecture 2. What does it mean to be human?
    In this lecture, we discuss a definition a particular philosopher came up with.

  • Lecture 3. But what about animals?
    Definitions we come up for what it means to be human may also apply to other species.

  • Lecture 4. Should we respect other species more?
    Other species are not as different from us as we used to think. Shouldn't that have consequences for how we treat them? Fritz Jahr’s bioethical imperative says we have to treat then with respect.

  • Lecture 5. The new eugenics, introduction
    In addition to the old “Nazi-style” eugenics, we now have the new eugenics. This development raises many questions and we should all contribute to this debate.

SECTION 3: DISABILITIES AND DIVERSITY

Human diversity is much more varied than most of us assume. This diversity enriches our lives, our knowledge, our progress and our societies. Yet variations on human life are still often seen as “defects”, but that view short-changes us all.

  • Lecture 6. Are people with disabilities expensive?
    An argument sometimes made for removing certain variations of humans from future populations is that they cost more. Is that true? Is it relevant?

  • Lecture 7. Many so-called impairments are created by society
    Society makes the lives of some people much more difficult than they need to be. That’s slowly starting to change.

  • Lecture 8. Why we may need diversity
    Many disabilities are natural variations of the human species and come with special abilities and characteristics. In the future, we may need these abilities badly.

  • Lecture 9. Mental health versus physical health
    It is time to start seeing mental health conditions in a new light, as brain-related conditions that deserve the same care, respect, and attention as purely physical conditions.

  • Lecture 10. Discrimination. Stereotypes. Prejudices. Stigmas.
    Stigmas debilitate. Stigmas render people powerless. Stigmas are mostly figments of other people’s imagination.

  • Lecture 11. Gender is a dial!
    Gender is not an either/or switch. So does it even make sense that some people travel to foreign countries because they only want a male or female baby?

  • Lecture 12. Skin tone is not black and white!
    Just like gender, skin tone is not exactly an either/or switch either.

  • Lecture 13. Trends of emancipation give hope.
    It looks like one day, we will have a world in which everyone is equally accepted and allowed to flourish to the best of his or her abilities and to his or her heart’s content.

SECTION 4: HUMANS' RIGHTS

Humans have rights, right? But your rights can only be upheld if other people respect them. That's your duty too, toward others. So what are we doing with the rights of humans, in practice? And how did they come about?

  • Lecture 14. Human rights, where do they come from?
    How the universally accepted and locally adapted human rights came about.

  • Lecture 15. Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
    In Britain and in some American states, (many) prisoners are not allowed to vote. Human rights are not automatic.

  • Lecture 16. Should we ban tasers?
    Tasers seem to do more harm than good. Tasers are disproportionately used on people with mental health issues and disabilities. And that is not even the whole story.

SECTION 5: THE NEW EUGENICS

New technologies are making more and more possible when it comes to selecting the properties of our offspring. Some say that we will never have designer babies. To some degree, however, we have already been making them for a while.

  • Lecture 17. Should we "erase" certain people from the planet?
    Would we be saving them from pain and suffering? Or is that merely an excuse? The result of myths such as that all disabled people lead miserable lives, perhaps?

  • Lecture 18. What is a life not worth living?
    A useful concept within this context is the so-called life not worth living. Defining it is hard and finding a definition that can work universally and hold up in practice is even harder.

  • Lecture 19. Are tall people better than short people?
    Some proponents of the new eugenics may cling to the notion that tall people are more successful. Is it truly better to be tall?

  • Lecture 20. It’s the fashion, stupid!
    Many of the properties that the new eugenics may enable people to select in their offspring one day – designer babies sensu stricto – are merely dictated by fashion trends.

  • Lecture 21. Gestational surrogacy as a window into the new eugenics
    If you look at cases in which the use of gestational surrogacy goes wrong, you get a view of what could go wrong when techniques like CRISPR were to get free reign.

SECTION 6: WHAT IS PROGRESS?

I love technological progress, but not all progress is good, even though the word sounds so positive. We should keep an open mind, both ways. It is not a discussion of “science versus nature”. It’s about science & technology and nature.

  • Lecture 22. Climate change
    A hot topic, with lots of myths and mud-throwing... This lecture shows that it is important to keep an open mind. Besides, there is a heck of a lot more stuff going on, besides climate change. If only climate change were the only challenge that we face on the planet.

  • Lecture 23. Why didn’t we foresee this?
    Looking back into history, we can see choices that we made that now look incredibly dumb. Technological progress is not always progress, even though a lot of it certainly is.

  • Lecture 24. Geo-ethics
    Humans are becoming more conscious of what they are doing to their habitat and the other species in it. Among other things, this is leading to the development of the new discipline geoethics.

SECTION 7: HOW TO MOVE FORWARD AFTER THIS COURSE

  • Lecture 25. How to move forward?
    A few final tips for how to move forward in your own life and work regarding what we've talked about.



Who this course is for:
  • This course is for anyone who is interested in what goes on in the world and what will happen in the future, the world our children and grandchildren will be living in. It certainly is for everybody who wants to see the world become a better place for everyone.
  • This course is particularly well suited for people who often find themselves faced with difficult choices and in discussions to do with diversity, inclusivity and green choices.
  • You may, for example, be a city councillor in Britain or a city commission member in the United States, or anyone else in public office anywhere.
  • You could also be interested in the topic because you, for example, are disabled or have disabled people around you at work or in your family.
Course content
Expand all 25 lectures 03:48:56
+ Introduction
1 lecture 06:55

This lecture gives you the outline and other information for this course.

After having completed this lecture and the assignments, you will:

- Have a better idea of what bioethics is;

- Start to recognize rhetoric when it is being used;

- Start to see when it has been used on people to form their opinion;

- Know that it can be very hard to change a person's opinion if it is a result of rhetoric.

Knowing about rhetoric will enable you to use your time and efforts more efficiently
(choose your battles wisely).

You will also be able to choose to apply rhetoric yourself if you want.

Preview 06:55
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what attracted you to this course.
Introduce yourself
3 questions
Read this short article if you want to know more about bioethics and where the word came from. You can also download it as a resource and keep it for later.
What is bioethics?
1 question
This very simple exercise may help you look at any situation from various angles.
A real-life situation
2 questions
This assignment shows you how the same situation can be presented in a very different light, appealing to people's emotions in a different way.
Rhetoric
1 question
+ To be human
4 lectures 26:01

In this lecture, we discuss a definition a particular philosopher came up with for what it means to be human.

Preview 03:48
Do you remember how watching the video with James Duane made you feel?
How did it make you feel?
1 question
In this assignment, you'll watch a video fragment and comment on it.
Robert Rowland Smith: Listen and discuss
1 question
You'll take a look at an online forum and give your feedback on what you see there. As nothing on the internet is permanent, I have uploaded a screen capture video as backup.
Read and comment. Warning: delicate/stressful/upsetting/emotionally draining.
4 questions
This question is very challenging and possibly offensive. Its purpose is to help you shake up your own thinking and enabling you to shake up other people's thinking.
Is Juliana Wetmore a work of art?
1 question
In this assignment, we will work on the definition of what it means to be human.
Needing others, to survive as humans
1 question

Definitions we come up for what it means to be human may also apply to other animal species, as we will see in this lecture.

For the record, Stripe teaming up with her new partner Whitey did not happen overnight. It took some time. Stripe was popular; I've seen another male chase her all over the place when she was still with Jemima. I'd never seen Whitey pursue females and I have no idea how he managed to end up with Stripe either. He's a bit of a character. Has his own habits. Likes late-night snacks for instance.


Preview 04:35
Time to relax! Watch some feel-good videos and relaxing documentaries.
Feel-good videos and documentaries!
13 questions
Even scientists are finally ready to admit that many animals are much smarter than we used to think.
Are animals surprising us?
1 question

Other animal species are not as different from us as we used to think. Shouldn’t that have consequences for how we treat them?

Should we respect other species more?
08:18
We'll look at some animal welfare issues.
The Mahard Egg Farm story
2 questions
The resources contain six videos on the right of animals and our changing views of animals. Part of the lecture contained in the sixth video, given by Saskia Stucki at Yale University in 2013, has already been overtaken by more recent developments. Let's take a look at those.
The rights of animals
2 questions
In this assignment, we look at some tension between humans and bears.
How to deal with Florida's wild bears
1 question
This assignment addresses chimeras.
Chimeras
1 question
Read this article. There will be a quiz on it.
You really don't want to know what it's like to be a right whale these days
1 question

This test is a check for how much you've picked up from the article.

For me, this article was quite saddening to read.

Many of use may protest against Japan, Iceland and Norway continuing to hunt whales, but how much are other countries doing toward keeping the lives of whales livable?

As you will see, countries who no longer hunt the North Atlantic right whale still cause the exact kind of harm to them as humans did to them in 1385.

As one researcher put it, "We're no longer actually going out and sticking them with a piece of steel anymore. We're just ruining their lives."

Quiz on the article about the North Atlantic right whale
5 questions

This lecture contains a brief introduction to the new eugenics and the questions this development raises. We will come back to the new eugenics in later lectures.

Preview 09:20
In this assignment, we will look at what people with disabilities think of the idea of being "edited out".
Please don’t edit me out
2 questions
Write an essay.
How the new eugenics might benefit society
1 question
The old eugenics, which most of us associate with Nazi Germany, has not disappeared yet and it wasn't a German invention either. We'll take a closer look.
The old eugenics
1 question
In the video, I mentioned Sue Austin. Let's take a closer look.
Sue Austin
1 question
+ Disabilities and diversity
8 lectures 01:03:58

An often-made argument for removing certain variations of humans from future populations is that they cost more. Is that true?

Costs of disabilities
05:38
Remember all the things that women were not supposed to do? Remember Sue Austin's deep-sea diving machine? We (= "able-bodied people") need to change our views of "disabled" people so that they can live their lives to the full.
Letting people flourish
2 questions
In the video I talked about a study by Berhanu Alemayehu and Kenneth Warner. Let's return to that.
The costs of healthcare
1 question
How much are we spending on so-called disabled people versus able-bodied people?
What does it look like in practice?
1 question
Here we see how it can work out in practice.
How the costs argument is used
1 question

In this lecture, we’ll take a look at how society makes the lives of some people much more difficult than they need to be.

Hindrances created by society
06:41
Let's be creative!
(Courageous) Solutions
1 question
The previous assignment was very "generic". Now let's look at specific situations and what we can do about them.
Hindrances
1 question

Many disabilities are natural variations of the human species and come with special abilities and characteristics. We may need those badly in the future.

Why we may need diversity
05:45
There are other examples of how people who are different can benefit society.
Other examples
1 question

Stigmas debilitate. Stigmas render people powerless and penniless. Stigmas are mostly figments of other people’s imagination.

Preview 09:34
Let's see how we can work out whether boys or girls are better.
Put your thinking hat on!
1 question
That something is different about a person can be quite upsetting to some people. Here are illustrative examples.
Differences can be scary
1 question
Pain bears a strong stigma, because pain is not visible and not measurable.
The pain stigma
3 questions
People with Parkinsons
Education matters
1 question
In this assignment, I describe two experiences I had after I moved to Britain.
What could I have done?
1 question

It is time to start seeing mental health conditions in a new light.

Mental health versus physical health
10:41
How do we tackle it?
Mental health stigma
3 questions

Gender is not an either/or switch. So does it even make sense that some people travel to foreign countries because they want a male baby?

Gender is a dial!
06:39

Just like gender, skin tone is not exactly an either/or switch either.

Skin tone is not black and white!
05:01
Let's take a look at racial identity.
Racial identity, what is it?
1 question

Will we have a world, one day, in which everyone is equally accepted?

Trends of emancipation bring hope
13:59
The dates I mentioned in the lecture are limited, by definition. They contain gaps and oversights and may even contain errors.
Spot the errors!
1 question
Emancipation of any kind is never a smooth process. But when it sounds like things are getting worse, they can actually be getting better.
When complaints are up
1 question
+ Humans' rights
3 lectures 29:52

In this lecture, we talk about universally accepted and locally adapted human rights.

Where do they come from?
08:44
Let's watch some videos on that first. Listen carefully.
How the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came about
9 questions
One of the three videos you've just watched in the previous assignment mentions the right to internet access.
Internet access as a human right?
1 question
Let's apply human rights to this situation.
Man of the soil
2 questions
I am a Dutch woman - an EU citizen - in the UK.
Another example
1 question
Is veganism a religion?
Veganism and human rights
1 question

In Britain and in some American states, (many) prisoners are not allowed to vote.

Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
10:46
As we've seen in the lecture and as you can read in some of the resources for this lecture, prisoners are not always allowed to vote. In some countries, all prisoners can vote, in some countries none of them can vote and in other countries some prisoners can vote, but not all.
Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
1 question
To what extent can cultural differences obscure what is really going on in a country?
UN inspections in the UK
1 question

Tasers are disproportionately used on people with mental health issues and disabilities. That is not the whole story.

Preview 10:22
+ The new eugenics
5 lectures 55:35

Would we be saving them from pain and suffering? Or is that merely an excuse or the result of myths such as that all disabled people lead miserable lives?

Should we "erase" certain people?
15:26
Let's explore that.
Are designer babies okay?
1 question
Biohacking yourself. What about that?
Changing yourself
1 question
So-called kneejerk responses include bans on certain practices. Such bans can be temporary.
Bans on various practices, how about that?
1 question
In 2005, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in Britain held a public consultation.
Your opinion is requested
1 question
Put your thinking hat on again, please.
Feedback please!
1 question

A useful concept within this context is the so-called life not worth living. Defining it is hard and getting such a definition universally accepted even harder.

What is "a life not worth living"?
14:22
Have a think...
What is your "life not worth living"?
1 question

Proponents of the new eugenics often mention the notion that tall people are more successful.

Are tall people better than short people?
16:36
The recent college/university admissions scandal in the US may show us that the wish for “designer children” is pretty real for some parents.
The wish for “perfect” children is very real
1 question

Many of the properties that the new eugenics may enable people to select in their offspring are merely dictated by fashion trends. We've seen it before.

It’s the fashion, stupid!
03:28
Improving ourselves cosmetically can come with health risks.
Fashion, cosmetic surgery and health
1 question
Not only nose jobs experience fashion trends...
Breast fashion
1 question

Gestational surrogacy as a window into the new eugenics

The new eugenics, revisited
05:43
In the lecture, I mentioned three examples of surrogacy gone wrong. Let's look into that.
Gestational surrogacy in Spain, and elsewhere
1 question
We just looked at the situation in Spain. What about other countries?
Gestational surrogacy in other countries
1 question
What can this tell us about what could go wrong with the application of techniques like CRISPR?
When surrogacy goes wrong
1 question
+ What is "progress"?
3 lectures 23:41

A hot topic, with lots of myths and mud-throwing...

Not all so-called climate change deniers are actually like people who keep insisting that the earth is flat, but the term "climate change denier" suggests that they are. Always keep an open mind.

Climate change, climate change deniers and other threats to the planet
08:06
Who are they and what are they saying?
The climate change deniers
1 question
Had you heard of them? I'd personally noticed this phenomenon years ago, when I was able to compare Amsterdam with its surroundings. If you cycle, which many of the Dutch do, you notice temperature differences much more than when you travel by car.
Urban heat islands
3 questions

Looking back into history, we can see choices that we made that now look incredibly dumb. Technological progress is not always progress, even though a lot of it is.

Why didn’t we foresee this?
09:28
Humans are not the only victims of industrial accidents such as the Seveso disaster.
Environmental disasters create many victims
1 question
DDT was praised, at first. Remember what I said in the lecture?
How badly we sometimes mess up
1 question

Humans are becoming more conscious of what they are doing to their habitat and the other species in it. This is leading to the development of new disciplines.

Geo-ethics
06:07
What is it about in practice?
Ethics in earth sciences
1 question
+ How to move forward after this course
1 lecture 08:34

In this lecture, I will also give you tips for how to move forward in your own life and work regarding what we've talked about.

How to move forward?
08:34
“When you get close enough to the poor that you can wrap your arms around them, that’s when you’re in a position to make a statement about their humanity.” — Bryan Stevenson
What motivates and inspires people like you
1 question
Which ones of the books that I mentioned interested you most?
The books I mentioned in the course
1 question