Bioethics Forum Explores Evolution and Faith

Scientists, historians, and policy and education experts will meet tomorrow and Friday at the 7th Annual International Bioethics Forum: Evolution in the 21st Century at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. Speakers will include Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education; Ron Numbers, a historian of science and medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and John Haught, an expert on science and religion at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. Their talks will explore the evidence for evolution, as well as the relationship between evolution and religion.

Do You Want to Live Forever?

This Thursday, S. Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Aubrey de Grey, a biogerontologist with The Methuselah Foundation—the two “Titans of Immortality Research,” according to the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity—will square off over radical life extension and whether they, and we, should want to live forever. The public debate will be held at the Arizona Science Center and in conjunction with the “Extending Life: Setting the Agenda for the Ethics of Aging, Death and Immortality” conference.

Closer to Custom-Built Body Parts?

According to researchers in Finland, scientists are a step closer to being able to make custom spare parts for humans using stem cells. Riitta Suuronen of the Regea Institute of Regenerative Medicine, part of the University of Tampere, said at a press conference today that the researchers used a 65-year-old patient’s own stem cells, which they nurtured and cultivated into bone tissue in the lab, to rebuild his upper jaw. —Heather Wax

More Vatican Follow-Up

Pope Benedict XVI again waded into the science-and-religion debate yesterday when he said that embryonic stem cell research, artificial insemination, and attempts at human cloning had broken “the barrier protecting human dignity.” Speaking before a meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican office, the pope dismissed the idea that the Church is an obstacle to scientific progress, but said that it wants the future of science to be based on “ethical-moral principles.” —Heather Wax

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