For the record: The Big BIOETHICAL Questions

July 27, 2009
The BBC's ethical debate programme is broadcast regularly (10 AM, BBC1, Sundays)

The BBC's ethical debate programme is broadcast regularly (10 AM, BBC1, Sundays)

As users of our Upcoming TV worth recording feature will know, the BBC’s Sunday morning studio debate show The Big Questions frequently includes bioethical topics amongst the three issues discussed each episode. It has not proven possible to add posts on each of the programmes, and unfortunately they are only maintained online for a week after transmission. However, with the current series now more than halfway through a 43 episode run, it felt like an appropriate time to document in one list the programmes that have featured the most overtly bioethical discussions, and to provide the TRILT code for each episode so that members of the BUFVC can order copies via the catch-up service.

Episodes including bioethical debate (Season 2)
(all 2009)
4th January Is it right to experiment on animals?
(issue #2 of 3, TRILT code: 00CD5D48)
18th January Are designer babies unethical?
(#1, TRILT code: 00D14F18)
1st February Should the terminal ill be helped to die?
(#3, TRILT code: 00D8DE1F)
1st March Should parents teach children that sex can
be wrong? (#1, TRILT code: 00E19004)
8th March Are father’s being sidelined?
(#1, TRILT code: 00E36E40)
29th March Should abortion services be advertised?
(#3, TRILT code: 00E95971)
3rd May Should assisting a suicide be made legal?
(#3, TRILT code: 00F498FF)
10th May Should we all be on the DNA database?
(#1, TRILT code: 00F5D006)
10th May Is surrogacy wrong?
(#2, TRILT code: 00F5D006)
14th June Should the NHS discriminate against the
very old? (#2, TRILT code: 01013759)
12th July Should disability be eradicated?
(#2, TRILT code: 01077439)
26th July Should great apes have rights?
(#2, TRILT code: 010A02C5)
30th August Are zoos unethical?
(#3, TRILT code: 0111E95B)

The series is continuing and additional issues will be added to this list as and when they are discussed.

Are hybrid embryos an ethical step too far? – The Big Questions

December 31, 2007

Following the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s decision to approve the creation of ‘animal-human’ hybrid embryos, or “cybrids”, the inaugural episode of the BBC’s new ethics show The Big Questions (BBC1, Sunday Sept 9th 2007, 10 am) included a fifteen minute debate on the topic. The programme provides some useful material for discussing the issue.

This initial post outlines the thrust of the discussion.  Interested readers are strongly encouraged to look at the extended commentary Science and ethics of cybrids – reflections on some recent media coverage, which includes not only a fuller account of the exchanges on The Big Questions, but also draws upon a similar discussion on The Guardian’s Science Weekly Podcast of September 10th. The relevance of a number of recent scientific papers on the biology of stem cells is also considered.  You may also like to watch a BBC news report following the announcement – go to their News page ‘Human-animal’ embryo green light and follow the ‘Watch’ link on the right-hand side. Read the rest of this entry »