POLITICAL SCIENCE 322 -- POLITICS AND THE LIFE SCIENCES
Andrea Bonnicksen, Zulauf 401, 753-7059, email@example.com
Office hours: T ; T ; W
Synthetic biology, inheritable genetic alterations, personalized genomics, DNA data banks . . . these are only some of the areas of inquiry in the life sciences that have attracted public interest and attention for their societal, ethical, and policy implications. In this class we will examine ethical and policy implications of selected areas of biotechnology that are part of contemporary public debate. For each area we will identify risks and benefits, examine how the issues are framed in public discourse, and consider what policies if any ought to be initiated to enable and/or restrict the developing biotechnology. The key questions are these: Who benefits from these biotechnologies? How can they be managed so as to maximize their benefits and minimize their drawbacks? What regulatory models, if any, are most appropriate? How do these technologies fit into our belief systems about the desirability of emerging biotechnologies in our individual lives and for society more generally?
Green, Ronald M. Babies
by Design: The Ethics of Genetic Choice.
Wilson, E. O. The Future of Life.
Required readings also include items on electronic reserve that are indicated below as ER. They are available through the eReserves link on NIU Blackboard. You will find this link by entering Blackboard for POLS 322 and clicking on eReserves on the left side.
NOTE: Many of the readings come from the Bioethics Briefing Book. The table of contents for this briefing book is accessed through the eReserves link on Blackboard. Click on this link and the table of contents pages will appear. Scroll down and click on and print the chapters that are listed in the syllabus below. We will cover only some of the chapters.
SCHEDULE OF TOPICS
AUGUST 24, 26 DIFFERING PERSPECTIVES ON BIOTECHNOLOGY
Bailey, Ronald. Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech
Kaebnick, G.E. “Nature, Human Nature, and Biotechnology.” In Bioethics Briefing Book
AUGUST 31 THINKING ABOUT ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGIES
Greely, H. and B. Sahakian. “Towards Responsible Use of Cognitive-
Enhancing Drugs by the Healthy.” Nature 456:702-05 (
SEPTEMBER 2, 7, 9 ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
Asch, A., “Assisted Reproduction.” In Bioethics Briefing Book (
Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “Child-Rearing
Ability and the Provision of Fertility Services.” Fertility and Sterility 92(3):864-67 (2009). ER
SEPTEMBER 14, 16 GENETIC TESTING AND SCREENING
Press, N. “Genetic Testing and Screening.”
In Bioethics Briefing
Laberge, A-M. and
. Burke, “Personalized Medicine and Genomics.” In Bioethics Briefing Book
Andrews, L. Future Perfect.
SEPTEMBER 21, 23 DNA DATA BANKS
Maschke, K.J. “Biobanks: DNA and Research.” In Bioethics Briefing Book
Maschke, K.J. “DNA and Law Enforcement.” In
Bioethics Briefing Book (
SEPTEMBER 28, 30, OCT. 5 GENETIC ALTERATIONS IN HUMANS?
Green, Ronald M. Babies
by Design: The Ethics of Genetic Choice.
Chapter 1: The idea of genetic enhancement
Chapter 2: Possible techniques
Chapter 3: Drawing lines
Chapter 4: Risks
Chapter 5: Parents and procreation
Chapter 6: Genetics and power
Chapter 7: Tampering with nature
Chapter 8: Guidelines
OCTOBER 7 MIDTERM EXAM
OCTOBER 12, 14 STEM CELL RESEARCH
“President George W. Bush’s address on Stem Cell Research.” http://archives.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/08/09/bush.transcript/ ER
Barack Obama. “Executive Order 13505 of
Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells.” Federal Register
74:46 (10667-68). ER
Kiatpongsan, S. and D. Sipp. “Monitoring and Regulating Offshore Stem Cell Clinics.”
OCTOBER 19, 21 REPRODUCTIVE CLONING
Brock, D. “Cloning Human Beings: An Assessment of the Ethical Issues Pro and Con.”
In Clones and Clones,
ed. By M.C. Nussbaum and C.R
Nussbaum, M.C. “Little C” (fiction). In Clones and Clones, ed. By M.C. Nussbaum and
National Conference of State Legislatures. “State Human Cloning Laws.” January 2008.
OCTOBER 26 NANOTECHNOLOGY
Michelson, E.S. et al. “Nanotechnology.”
In Bioethics Briefing
Keiper, A. “Nanoethics as a Discipline?” New Atlantis. Spring 2007 -67. ER
OCTOBER 28, NOVEMBER 2 SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY
Garfinkel, M.S. et al. “Synthetic
Biology.” In Bioethics
Briefing Book (
Parens, E. et al. “Do We Need ‘Synthetic Bioethics’”? Science 321:1449 (September 12,
Browse material from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, which is holding hearings on synthetic biology. www.bioethics.gov/background
NOVEMBER 4, 9 PRIMATES IN RESEARCH
Rogers, Lesley J., and Gisela Kaplan. “All Animals are Not Equal: The Interface between
Scientific Knowledge and Legislation for
Animal Rights.” In Cass R. Sunstein and Martha C. Nussbaum, eds. Animal Rights: Current Debates and New
Greene, M. et al. “Moral Issues of Human-Non-Human Primate Neural Grafting.”
NOVEMBER 11, 16, 18, 23 TECHNOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Resnik, D.B. and C.J. Portier,
“Environment and Health.” In Bioethics Briefing Book (
NOVEMBER 30, DEC. 2 HEALTH CARE REFORM AND TECHNOLOGY
Callahan, D., “Health Care Costs and Medical Technology.” In Bioethics Briefing Book
Daniels, N., “Health Care Reform.” In
Bioethics Briefing Book (
Grades will be based on two exams, a journal in six entries, and participation/attendance, as follows:
Midterm exam 50 points
Final exam 50 points
Journal 60 points
Participation/attendance 30 points
Final grades will be allocated as follows:
171 – 190 = A; 152 – 170 = B; 133 – 151 = C; 114 – 132 = D; below 114 = F
The exams will be given October 7 and December 7. They will be short answer and multipart essay. Make-up exams will be given only for documented serious illness or a death in the family and only if you contact me AHEAD of the exam (753-7059 -- leave a message if necessary).
Journal writing is based on the assumption that people learn when writing and that writing encourages thinking and exploration of ideas. Approximately every two weeks you will submit a typed journal entry related to a topic covered in the readings during that two-week period. It is acceptable to read and discuss newspaper articles listed in the Bioethics Briefing Book as long as you relate the articles to the material in the briefing book.
The scope of the entry is up to you, but it is better to write a carefully thought out entry on a fairly narrow subject than to write a breezy essay that shifts from one idea to another. In other words, strive for a central message or theme and ground your ideas in the readings. If some topics have personal relevance for you, you are encouraged to write about them and to compare/contrast those experiences with concepts and assumptions contained in the readings. A serious entry should be at least 2 typed pages. Late entries will not be accepted, nor will e-mailed entries. Please bring hard copies to class or, if you cannot be in class that day, slide the papers under my door in Zulauf 401. Grammar and spelling count. I will look to the following in grading individual entries.
In addition to handing in a hard copy of each journal entry, you must post each on SafeAssign (available through Blackboard). Entries will be graded only if they have been uploaded to SafeAssign.
The participation grade will be determined primarily by attendance and discussion in class. You are expected to read the material before it is covered in class and knowingly to participate in discussions based on the readings. Participation grades will be decided as follows:
A = regular and informed participation and excellent attendance (3 or fewer absences)
B = occasional and thoughtful participation and good attendance (4 or fewer absences)
C = adequate attendance (5-6 absences)
D = less than adequate attendance (7-9 absences)
F = rare attendance (10 or more absences)
I appeal to the grace of individuals who are more talkative to raise their hands to be recognized before speaking so that all students may be given the opportunity to contribute. I will also give occasional short optional assignments that can count toward class participation.
September 9 Journal 1 due
September 23 Journal 2 due
October 7 Midterm exam
October 14 Journal 3 due
November 2 Journal 4 due
November 16 Journal 5 due
December 2 Journal 6 due
December 7 Final exam
You are expected to arrive on time and to remain for the entire session unless excused by the professor beforehand or confronted with a serious personal emergency. It is not acceptable to walk in and out of class to answer cell phones, take casual restroom or snack breaks, or attend to other personal matters. Cell phones, pagers, or any electronic devices that make noise must be turned off during class. No one should talk while someone else is talking; this includes comments meant for a classmate rather than the entire group. What may seem like a whisper or a harmless remark to one person can be a distraction to someone else. Classroom dialogue and behavior should always be courteous, respectful of others, and consistent with the expectations set forth by the university.
Plagiarism is a serious offense. As stated in the Northern Illinois University Undergraduate Catalog, “The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work or another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazine, or other sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.” You are encouraged to look at this link to test your understanding of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it: http://lrs.tvu.ac.uk/find/Plagiarism_tutorial/index.html. If one of your journal essays is plagiarized, you will receive no credit for the essay. If this happens a second time, you will receive no points for the journal portion of the class grade.
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with
documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some
impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should
notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of
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