Ethics, Science and TechnologyEthics, Science and Technology

Science and technology are steadily progressing. The European Union alone supports research and technology with over 50 billion euros through its Seventh Framework Programme for Research 2007-2013. Many hopes but also doubts and fears are linked to technological developments, raising questions such as “What is a human being?” or “Where are the limits?” Should we, for instance, seek to treat incurable diseases or extend human life by using organs of genetically modified pigs or cells derived from human embryos? Should we enhance human beings through converging technologies?

These questions do not only preoccupy ordinary people, but also scientists, politicians and civil servants in the European Institutions. These are topics on which churches are expected to provide reflection, if not answers. Among the channels CSC uses to convey its contributions towards the Institutions, there is the European Group of Ethics in Science and New Technologies to the European Commission (EGE) and the Council of Europe (CoE) Steering Committee on Bioethics where CSC holds an observer status.

In the coming months, CSC will again focus on end of life issues. It will review its internal working paper on that theme in the light of the consultation paper produced by the Community of Protestant churches in Europe (CPCE).

For more information on these issues please contact Rev. Richard Fischer.

 

Christian Arguments and their Reception in the Public Debate in Europe: the Case of Bioethics

On November 6 and 7, 2014, 20 people, representing 15 different churches from 15 countries, assembled in Strasbourg to discuss the question “How do churches speak up in public debates?” The aim of the workshop was to gain insights into the most effective and the most truthful ways to be heard and seen in public debates. Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (PAS), and human procreation were taken as case studies.

Please click here for a PDF version of some conclusions from this event.

 

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Human Enhancement
Scientific, Ethical and Theological Aspects from a European Perspective

26 authors contributed to the CSC book on « Human Enhancement”, available in a printed form, and on our website.

The authors are from all over Europe: scientists, theologians, ethicists, medical doctors, political scientists. Some are closely working with the Council of Europe or the European Union Institutions. There is also a Roman-Catholic, a Jewish and a Muslim point of view. For many people, the question is how to survive in a dignified way, not to increase well-being and performances beyond current limits. The phrase “human enhancement” should perhaps be abandoned, as misleading from urgent needs towards false expectations and fears, and wrong priorities. But it says much about human soul and dreams. It raises theological questions about concepts like ‘sin’, ‘image of God’ and ‘playing God’, as well as philosophical questions about concepts like ‘goodness’, ‘nature’ and ‘normalcy’.

The editors hope the book will nurture further reflection and debate among many people.

 

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European Healthcare Chaplains defend holistic view of the human person and explain their mission - English

 

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Human Enhancement: Moral, Religious and Ethical Aspects from a European Perspective

Brussels, 25 - 27 April 2012

The general aim is to facilitate an international, interdisciplinary and interdenominational dialogue on the definition, the advantages and the concerns with regard to human enhancement ; to review and further develop the 2009 CSC Paper on Human enhancement so as to present a common voice of the European Churches to the European Institutions ; to strengthen the relationship between the CSC and institutions and bodies of the European Union and the Council of Europe, the European Ethics Group, Ethics Networks and members of the European Parliament; to help identifying the future CSC priorities in this area of work.

Programme - English

Workshop - Human Enhancement: The Ethical Issues

Human Enhancement: promises and realities - Churches warn but do not reject - Press Release   

25 April 2012

Introductory session

What Can We Learn From Those Who Have Gone Before?
Opening Statement by H. E. Metropolitan Emmanuel of France - English

Philosophy and Natural Sciences

Introductions

Ethical Considerations about Neuro-Enhancement
Dr Roland Kipke - English

26 April 2012

STOA workshop morning of 26 April

Presentation of the European Parliament STOA Projects:

Human Enhancement
Dr Christopher Coenen - English

Making perfect life
Dr ir. Rinie van Est - English

Introductions

Avis de la cellule de réflexion bioéthique sur les perspectives d'amélioration de l'homme ("Human Enhancement") par des moyens technologiques
Dr Maria Nuñez - French

Sciences, valeurs et judaïsme
Rabbi Albert Guigui - French

Un point de vue islamique concernant la "perfectibilite" de l'être humain
Dr Omar Van den Broeck - French

Protestant Perspectives on Human Enhancement
Rev. Dr Brendan McCarthy - English

Panel Discussion

Human Enhancement from the Orthodox point of view
Dr Stavros Baloyannis - English

Philosophy and Theology - Pros and Cons
Achievable Human Being? - Ethical Assessments and Implicit Images of Humanity from a Theological Perspective
Prof Dr Ulrich Körtner - English

Individual and Social Ethics - Medical Perspective
Enhancement in Theological Ethical Perspective
Prof Dr Stephanie Schardien - English

The Human Body as cultural Playground with emphasis on the Female Body
Prof Marianne Springer-Kremser - English

Case Studies

Human Enhancement: Moral, Religious and Ethical Aspects from a European perspective
Dr Henriette Krug - English

Human Enhancement: Summary of the CEC Bioethics Working Group 2009 discussion
Dr. Donald Bruce - English

27 April 2012

Closing lecture on contextualisation
Prof Dr Peter Dabrock

© CSC of CEC

If you wish to be informed of the outcomes of the consultation, please send an e-mail to that effect to our Strasbourg office.

 

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The newly established Preparatory Committee for a Conference on Human Enhancement started its work.

Its Mandate is:

The Preparatory Committee will

1. organise a CSC Conference on Human Enhancement in 2012. It should identify key issues for the agenda and for follow-up and identify the rights participants from member churches.

2. establish the future CSC agenda in the field of Science and Technology, especially on Bioethics and Biotechnology, and appropriate ways for CSC to address them.

3. comment on developments on Bioethics and Biotechnology and to make recommendations to member churches

4. develop common positions of churches towards the European Institutions on Bioethics and Biotechnology

5. develop the CSC online library on issues related to Bioethics and Biotechnology


The Preparatory Committee developed the concept of a Conference on
“Human Enhancement: Moral, Religious, and Ethical Aspects from a European Perspective”, taking place from 25 - 27 April 2012 in Brussels.

Its members are:

Dr. Theo BOER - Protestant Church in the Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Stavros BALOYANNIS - Orthodox Church of Greece
Dr. Andrea DÖRRIES - Protestant Church in Germany
Prof. Dr. Ulrich KÖRTNER - Protestant Church – AC -  in Austria
Prof. Dr. Karsten LEHMKÜHLER - Union of Protestant Churches in Alsace and Lorraine – France
Rev. Dr. Brendam McCARTHY - Church of England
Ms Miriam SZURMAN - Lutheran Church in Poland

The Committee is served by:
Ms Maria POMAZKOVA - Administrative Secretary
Rev. Richard FISCHER - Executive Secretary

 

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CSC Documents on Bioethics

Human  Enhancement – A Discussion Document, March 2010
‘Human Enhancement’ is about trying to make changes to minds and bodies – characteristics, abilities, emotions and capacities – beyond what we regard today as normal. Across a range of scientific disciplines, discoveries and developments nowadays make the idea of significantly modifying the human body no longer mere science fiction. The CSC offers a Discussion Document on Human Enhancement, prepared by its Working Group on Bioethics and Biotechnology.

Comments on the Draft Working Paper On a Quality and Safety Legal Framework on the Donation, Procurement, Testing, Transport, Preservation, Transplantation and Characterisation of Human Organs - June 2008
CSC welcomes the European Commission initiative aimed at developing a Quality and Safety Legal Framework for Organ Transplantation. Christian faith includes as a central feature “love for one's neighbour” and the expression of this may lead well to a freely chosen sacrifice...

Euthanasia - Report, February 2004
Responding to a debate within the Council of Europe, this report provided CEC member churches reflections on euthanasia. It suggested regulations to be sought to help protecting crucial values. It also stressed the need to assist those suffering and those responsible for their support.


A Theological Framework for Bioethics - Position Paper, January 2002

Therapeutic Uses of Cloning and Embryonic Stem Cells (position paper, September 2000)

Patentability of the Human Genome (letter to EU Council of Ministers, June 2000)


You will find additional archived CSC documents as well as documents from CEC's constituency on separate pages (see the links below).

 

 

European Churches : No Reason to Fear Human Enhancement Technology

CSC Book raises large public European interest

English - French

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For further reading material please visit the pages:

Bioethics documents from CEC's consituency

CSC Archive on Ethics, Science and Technology

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe launched a guide on the decision-making process relating to medical treatment in end-of-life situations. What rights for end of life patients? In which ethical and legal framework does the decision-making process lie? How and with whom are decisions made concerning medical treatment when it comes to implementing it or stopping it? This new guide aims to provide answers to these and many other questions.