Art Caplan - Bioethics Comes of Age
Posted: 31 January 2011 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  170
Joined  2009-06-02

Host: Chris Mooney

Our guest this week is Arthur Caplan, sometimes called the country’s “most quoted bioethicist” and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. In this wide ranging episode, Caplan discusses not only the latest issues and problems in his field, but also how those issues have changed over time.

Fresh from the ideological fights of the Bush administration-over culture war issues like stem cells, cloning, and Terri Schiavo-bioethicists like Caplan are now more focused on practical matters like access to healthcare. And so is the country as a whole.

However, the religious right remains active-encouraging pharmacists to claim a right of “conscience” and refuse to give patients the “morning after pill.” Meanwhile, as an excuse to restrict abortion, some are now also making the dubious assertion that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation. 

So in this interview, Caplan surveys the leading problems in bioethics today-and those we’ll be facing in the very near future. 

Arthur Caplan is the Emmanuel and Robert Hart Director of the Center for Bioethics, and the Sydney D Caplan Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He’s the author or editor of twenty-nine books-most recently Smart Mice Not So Smart People (Rowman Littlefield, 2006) and the Penn Guide to Bioethics (Springer, 2009)—and over 500 papers in refereed journals. He writes a regular column on bioethics for

Posted: 20 February 2011 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  2423
Joined  2007-09-03

It would have been interesting to draw Art Caplan into a discussion of what he thought were current controversial or debatable ethics questions.  He didn’t seem to identify any “grey” areas where he gave any credence to an opposing view.

Posted: 21 February 2011 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  20
Joined  2010-08-10

Caplan claims that those who have cloned dogs have been disappointed by the results because the personality is a product of development.  Does he have any evidence for this claim?

I’ve heard that John Sperling was very happy with the clones of his dog Missy, which were remarkably like the original in behavior as well as appearance.  (I’ve met two of the clones, but never met the original.)  That may well be because of a similar upbringing as well as genes, but I’ve not heard of any actual cases of disappointed dog clone owners.

Posted: 06 March 2011 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  189
Joined  2009-01-01

Regarding the cloning of dogs, the many well defined purebred breeds of domestic dogs each represent the end product of selective breeding over the course of many generations specifically for the continuance and enhancement of certain desired traits of both appearance and behavior.  Such behavior is for the most part not “learned” within the quick maturation period of such animals, thus most of the observed behavior is genetic as opposed to being the result of any environmental factors.  Although training the animals which have a high aptitude for such is quite rewarding, even that is for the most part the result of their breeding.  That much said, the purebreds are pretty much clones to start with.

The possible down side of this is that each “pure” breed also represents a dead even if ideally perfect for it’s specific line of service.  In a somewhat related subject, I do not favor eugenics basically because “mere” humans are not qualified to direct such activities and besides, there is also the bioethics question to consider.


Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. - Seneca (ca. 4 BC –AD 65)