Medical Ethics, Science Fiction, & What it Means to Be Human

February 20th, 2021

In a world of genetic engineering, what does it mean to be human? Do rapid medical advancements tempt us to ‘play God’?

What if you could implant a device that would improve your memory? Would you do it? Should you do it? Should you be allowed to take the ACT with a “memory prosthesis?”

Should insurance companies be able to analyze your genetic code and offer you different rates based on when they predict you will die? Or even deny you insurance altogether?

How can we tally up the moral and ethical implications of medical advances when they’re moving so fast, they seem to come straight out of science fiction novels? 

In this half-day, online conference, on Saturday, February 20th, Professor Jeffrey Bishop (SLU) guided us through the philosophical and theological problems connected to technological advancement. Professor Michael Murphy (Loyola Chicago) showed us how science fiction can help us think about ethical issues from a creative perspective. 

While it may seem strange, the Catholic Church’s intellectual tradition may give us the resources we need to think about what we should do when technological advance has offered us the opportunity to “be as Gods” (Genesis 3:5).


9:00am — Welcome & Prayer

9:10am — 1st Lecture (35 minutes)

9:50am — 1st Q&A (15 minutes)

10:05am — short break

10:15am — 2nd Lecture 

10:55am — 2nd Q&A

11:10am — Discussion Group (35/40 mins, w/time for break built in)

12:00pm — Final Panel w/both Lecturers

12:20pm — Closing Prayer (10 minutes)

If you’d like to use the video recording of this lecture with your students, email us at

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