Potential Topics

The list below is just a starting point - feel free to propose new ideas to add to the list!

  • Scientific Reseach issues: Should scientists be held to some standard of integrity and honesty? Who should enforce this? Why is peer review so important? Should scientists be held responsible for creating (or discovering) technology that can be used to harm others or have unforseen side effects(chemical, nuclear warfare) ?
  • Reproductive Technologies: In vitro fertilization, Surrogacy, RU-486, pre-implantation embryo screening, cloning. Is there a significant difference between cloning sheep for pharmaceutical production and cloning humans?
  • Human Genome Project: Should employers be able to screen job applicants for specific genetic conditions? Who should have access to this information: family members, lawyers, insurance agencies?
  • Gene Therapy: What are the potential ramifications of somatic and germ-line gene therapy? Should genes be tinkered with and if so what limits should be placed on this type of technology?
  • Stem Cell Research: What types of research are acceptable? Who makes these decisions?
  • Fetal Rights: Does a fetus have rights? If so, what are they and who is responsible for representing the interests of the fetus? Does a fetus have rights that supersede the mothers? Can government step in to ensure the health of the fetus if the mother is not? What about embryos?
  • AIDS: issues involving disclosure, privacy, discrimination, insurance coverage
  • Euthanasia: What is the right to die? How does withdrawing or withholding treatment differ from physician assisted suicide? Who has the right to decide when and how a person dies? Should doctors be held legally responsible if they assist a patient's death? What laws should be passed to protect doctors and patients?
  • Health Care Allocation: How do we decide who gets access to health care, particularly expensive equipment and therapies? How do we decide who gets access to transplanted organs? Should the government pay for health care when a person cannot afford it?
  • Environmental Issues: How do we decide between conservation and economic interests? How much land should be allocated to other species and to parks? Should industries be responsible for damage done to the environment by them (pollution)?
  • Animal rights Issues: Is animal testing or factory farming acceptable when it benefits humans? What animals should be tested on and which should not. Does animal research be justified by its benefits to mankind?
  • Population control: Who has the right to decide who should have children (and how many)? What measures should be taken to control the population of the world?
  • Human Research: Should humans be used for medical and psychological studies, what guidelines should be instated to protect subjects?
  • Minors and Medicine: What medical procedures should minors have available to them without parental consent? Do doctors have an obligation to inform parents of conditions a teen has (pregnancy, AIDS) even if the teen doesn't wish it?
  • Genetically Modified Crops: What rights due consumers have? What are the issues with "terminator seeds"? What rights do farmers have to grow GM crops, who decides whether food is safe?
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Animals): Glow in the dark fish - good idea? Chimeras in research?
  • Performance Enhancement Drugs: Should steriod and other performance-enhancement drugs be allowed in professional sports?
  • Cryonics: Austin Powers and Dr. Evil... Forever young?