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Tuesday 15 th Sept Philosophy Café The Ethics of Biotech: Who Decides on Stem Cell Research? Jamie Lewis LewisJT1@cardiff.ac.uk Choon Key Chekar Chekar@cardiff.ac.uk. www.cesagen.lancs.ac.uk. Outline of Our Talk. Jamie Lewis: Stem Cells science operates in a culture of promise, finance
The Ethics of Biotech: Who Decides on Stem Cell Research?
Jamie Lewis LewisJT1@cardiff.ac.uk
Choon Key Chekar Chekar@cardiff.ac.uk
and international competition.
Choon Key Chekar:
Are we interested in stem cells?
Should we have say in stem cells?
How much uncertainty is acceptable?
‘If I asked who your regulators are, whowould you say?’
‘I would say the Human Tissue Authority?’
‘Do the MHRA get involved at all?’
‘That’s a very good question and I think it is still an area of confusion…we haven’t had clear messages and it’s been quite difficult to find out who exactly is regulating you and what is expected’
Stem Cells occur:
an economy of finance
an economy of tissue
an economy of patients
On Stem Cell Tourism
Feb 2008: 20 year old Michael Emms, from Ebbw Vale, travelled to Belize to have stem cells injected into his spinal cord to relieve Motor Neurone Disease.
May 2009: 22 month old Joshua Clark, from Caernarfon, travelled to China for stem cell therapy to relieve blindness.
Science and technology have greater influence over our everyday life
Increasing interest in ‘public engagement’ and ‘ethical, legal and social aspects’ of science and technology [‘failure’ of GM Nation]
“… a concern at the ‘scientific ignorance’ of the populace, a consequent desire to create a better-informed’ citizenry, and enthusiasm for making science ‘more accessible’ (Irwin in Citizen Science, 1995)
Or legitimising science research by paying for social scientists and humanity researchers – box-ticking routine?
Public trust could justify more public funding and put pressure on politicians and the state to loose regulatory constraints in particular in stem cell science that requires long-term investment and access to some controversial research resources
Contested ideas on the public’s role in science and technology studies still coexist: ‘enlightenment’ and ‘critical’ views of the relationship between science and the general public
Who are ‘the public’? What role should ‘the public’ have?
How do you identify ‘public attitudes’ and what does ‘dialogue’ mean?
How is ‘public opinion’ represented? When is public opinion considered relevant? What rhetorical value does it have in policy making?
A comparative analysis of how debates ‘the public’ and stem cell research have played our in four countries: the UK, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA.
A systematic analysis of newspaper coverage – examining how the public was characterised and represented
Participating in conferences/consultation events, examining policy documents and records of political debates and conducting some interviews with scientists and policy makers.
‘The public’ most often had a voice in the debate in all four countries through stakeholders such as scientists, patient groups and religious organisations – rather than as ‘ordinary person’.
The public differently represented on the basis of certain religiousandnationalcharacteristics
‘The public’ as an entity, is much more often talked about, or ‘on behalf of’, rather than being represented directly.
Public Opinion’ as a site of representational conflict