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Scientists And Bioethicists

Too often, bioethics courses equate bioethics with medical ethics, omitting questions related to the environment and parts of genetics. Even in the latter field, not all dilemmas relate to medicine; let us remember, for example, the ethical dilemmas resulting from the recent introduction of transgenic plants and farm animals. Fifteen years ago, I began offering a course in bioethics to upperclass majors in biology at Yale University. My colleagues were reluctant to sponsor such a "soft" course

Arthur Galston
Too often, bioethics courses equate bioethics with medical ethics, omitting questions related to the environment and parts of genetics. Even in the latter field, not all dilemmas relate to medicine; let us remember, for example, the ethical dilemmas resulting from the recent introduction of transgenic plants and farm animals.

Fifteen years ago, I began offering a course in bioethics to upperclass majors in biology at Yale University. My colleagues were reluctant to sponsor such a "soft" course in a department dealing with hard science, but they decided to give it a try. It has usually been oversubscribed, and still survives, now being taught by a younger colleague. Since my retirement in 1990, I have also offered a similar course as a College Seminar, and consistently receive about 75 applications for the 18 places available. Most of the students are preparing for careers in medicine and public health, but potential lawyers,...

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