On Monday, November 9, 2009 the Appignani Bioethics Center, a project of the American Humanist Association, held a panel discussion at the National Press Club (529 14th St. 13th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20045), to examine controversial emerging technologies in biomedical sciences, the right to die and “disorders of consciousness,” and climate change technologies framed by two experts willing to engage the public from a biopolitical angle. Debates around these controversial technologies have become increasingly politicized, highlighting fundamental differences between basic moral convictions, world-views, and political assumptions which make finding common ground a daunting task.

Two distinguished speakers lead the discussion:

Jonathan Moreno Ph.D., David and Lyn Silfin University Professor, University of Pennsylvania and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP)

Andrew Light Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Coordinator of International Climate Policy at Center for American Progress (CAP) and Director of the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University

Professor Jonathan Moreno has stated that: “Neurologists who study cases of vegetative states like those of Terri Schiavo have come to identify them as permanently vegetative. ‘Right to life’ advocates insist upon more and more medical tests and interventions, thus exploiting a private family matter for political advantage. Legally (and in my opinion morally), it will still be up to the patient or their appointed agent to decide about treatment, despite disagreements among family members.”

Only a few weeks before the most important meeting on climate change in history, Andrew Light assessed the US role in helping or hindering progress toward a new international treaty to save the planet. The controversy remains: since the US never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the world doubts what the Copenhagen summit can achieve.

The panel was moderated by Ana Lita, Ph.D., Director, Appignani Bioethics Center

Videos from the Press Conference at the National Press Club

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