Posts Tagged ‘embryonic stem cell debate’

What our medical past can tell us about our genomic future?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-07-2011

Great video from Vanderbilt University.

Holly Tucker, associate professor, Center for Medicine, Health & Society and associate professor, French & Italian, spoke on ”What Our Medical Past Can Tell Us About Our Genomic Future.”

Every era, particularly one deep in “Scientific Revolution” as we now find ourselves, necessarily has to ask some time-worn questions, such as: should a society set limits on its science? If so, at what price? This presentation asks what early cultural fears and resistance to a now commonly accepted practice in modern medicine — blood transfusion — tell us about our own efforts to navigate current clashes between science and society, especially genetic research.

Two sentence summary: blood transfusions was a highly controversial technology and the subject of much ethical debate when it first came out in the 17th centrury. Blood transfusion is now a staple technology in medical treatment. Genomic and embryonic stem cell research faces a similar debate to the blood transfusion debates of the 17th century. What can our past teach us about the future?

As Holly asks in the video:

Can we find a place where we can have calm, coherent, respectful and logical debates with one another that will allow us to move forward reconizing that these different stances are part and parcle of what we need to do?

Thinking Out of the Lunchbox is a series of conversations with David Wood, Centennial Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University.


Holly Tucker is also the author of “Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution” which can be purchased on amazon.