Tuesday, January 16, 2007

If I Only Had a Brain

Reproductive technologies seem to be getting all the press these days: from designer/deformer babies, made-to-order embryos, to womb transfers. And while these issues are of critical importance to women, I believe neuroscience is the emerging field we need to keep an eye on (and drive the policy debate.)

Advances in neuroscience are going to pose some of the most important ethical questions yet about what it means to be human – challenging our concepts of free will, gender and genetic determinism, and what sets us apart from other species. Many believe that it will displace genetics as the leading edge of scientiļ¬c discoveries in the 21st century.

I was pleased to learn about an upcoming conference on the implications of neuroscience - see details below. The Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future has recruited an impressive range of scholars and policy makers including:

Marsha Darling, Ph.D., Professor of history and interdisciplinary studies and director of the African American & Ethnic Studies Program at Adelphi University;

Andrew Imparato, J.D., president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities;

U.S. Representative Brad Sherman, J.D., CPA, (D-CA), member of the House Committee on Science;

Patricia Smith Churchland, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at the University of California San Diego and author of Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain;

Linda MacDonald Glenn, J.D., L.L.M., faculty member in the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical Center and in the University of Vermont’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Conference details:
A Spotless Mind? Policy, Ethics & the Future of Human Intelligence
Friday, February 16, 2007 - 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
National Press Club, 529 14th Street N.W., Washington, D.C.
RSVPs are required. There is no charge for the event.
E-mail: rsvp@thehumanfuture.org

I'll be there and will be reporting live from the conference.

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