April 7, 2009 - Samford University's Healthcare Ethics and Law Institute (HEAL) will focus on "The Intersection of Faith and Ethics in Health Care" during its annual conference Friday, April 17, at Samford. The conference will meet in Brock Forum of Dwight Beeson Hall from 8:25 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
Visiting speakers are Dr. Daniel P. Sulmasy, holder of the Sisters of Charity Chair in Ethics at St. Vincent's Hospital, Manhattan, N.Y., and professor of medicine and director of the Bioethics Institute of New York Medical College, and Dr. Karen Lebacqz, professor emerita of theological ethics at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Calif.
Dr. Sulmasy, who holds a medical degree from Cornell University and Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University, will speak on "The Numinous, the Medical and the Moral" at 8:30 a.m. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics.
Dr. Lebacqz, a faculty member at Pacific School of Religion since 1972, will speak on "The Fine Edge between Light and Shadow: Spirituality, Illness and Dignity" at 9:45 a.m. A graduate of Wellesley College with a Ph.D. from Harvard University, she has written extensively on professional ethics, bioethics and ethical theory.
The speakers will receive Pellegrino Medals for their contributions to healthcare ethics. The medal is named for Edmund D. Pellegrino, the first recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. Dr. Pellegrino often is called the "father of the American bioethics movement."
The HEAL conference–sponsored by Samford's McWhorter School of Pharmacy–is designed to help Alabama institutional ethics committees of all levels with some of today's most pressing healthcare ethics and law issues and problems. Registration is open to committee members, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, chaplains, administrators and others interested in ethical decision making in health care.
For registration information, contact Lori Bateman, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Samford University at email address email@example.com or telephone (205) 726-2820. Continuing education credit is available.
Samford University faculty involved in breakout sessions are Dr. Dennis Sansom, chair, philosophy department; Professor Jack Nelson, Cumberland School of Law; Dr. Wilton Bunch, philosophy professor; and Bateman, HEAL program manager.
Dr. John Knapp, director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership in Samford's Brock School of Business, will speak on "Self-Deception, Medical Practice and the Eclipse of Spirituality" at 1:30 p.m.
Professor Bruce D. White, HEAL director, will speak on "Justice: Bedside Clinical Ethics' Next Great Challenge" at 2:30 p.m. He will lead a group discussion and provide closing comments and evaluation at the end of the program.
April 3, 2009 - The global economic crisis was precipitated largely by irresponsible lending practices in the United States. Yet the ethics of money lending is not a new concern, particularly in the church where biblical and theological understandings of the issue have been debated for centuries.
On April 29 at 10 a.m., the Mann Center will present a lecture by Dr. Cameron Murchison, professor and dean of faculty at Columbia Theological Seminary, on 'Money Lending in the 21st Century: A Christian Ethical Perspective'.
This program is part of the A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership and is co-sponsored by Beeson Divinity School and Brock School of Business. It will be presented in Reid Chapel on the Samford University campus. Guests are welcome to attend and convo credit will be available for Samford students.
April 3, 2009 - The Seven Revolutions project, presented March 24 at Samford, is accessible online at the Global Strategy Institute of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The site features facts and video vignettes on each global trend -- population, resource management, technology, information flows, economic integration, conflict, and governance. Also available are video interviews with noteworthy thinkers with expertise on the trends.
Seven Revolutions project director Erik Peterson addressed an audience of more than 300 students, faculty and guests on the topic, "How Will Your World Change by 2025?"
Who, in 1961, watched the Bay of Pigs invasion unfold and then imagined the events of September 11, 2001? Even the leading geopolitical analysts of the early 1960s were blinkered by the Cold War and simply didn’t have the tools that might have allowed them to imagine our present world. Today, global analyst Erik Peterson and his colleagues have better tools and more sophisticated means of analysis. These don’t give analysts an unobstructed view of the future, but Peterson, who is senior vice president, William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis and director of the Global Strategy Institute at The Center for Strategic and International Studies, brought convincing predictions to Samford in March.
In his address—the inaugural Gerow Hodges Lecture in Ethics and Leadership, cosponsored by Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership and Brock School of Business—Peterson described seven revolutions that will dramatically reshape the world by 2025.
First, Peterson said, changes in demographics—from the size of the world’s human population to its distribution and age—will dramatically reshape life on Earth. He pointed out that the world’s population has more than tripled since the late 1930s, from 2 billion to 6.8 billion, and is likely to rise to 8 billion by 2025 and 9.2 billion by 2050. Increasingly, Peterson said, humans will be concentrated in urban areas, with as many as 60% of humans living in cities by 2020. Most of this growth will occur in the developing world.
Meanwhile, the population of the developed world is expected to contract by more than 100 million, creating a problem already familiar to Americans wondering how to fix the Social Security program. As the birth rate slows in the developed world and science increases longevity the average age will rise, resulting in fewer young people to care for more older people. What traditionally has been a pyramid-shaped demographic model—with a broad base of young people supporting a small population of dependent older people—will become more rectangular and, in the U.S. and Europe, might begin to take the form an inverted pyramid. Peterson said that will have a dramatic effect on developed nations’ economies. “Beyond that,” he added, “I think this has tremendous implications for social stability and security."
A revolution in state resource management will be closely linked to the revolution in population, Peterson said, especially in developing parts of the world. According to his model of population growth, food production and water supply must be doubled by 2050. But, Peterson asked, “How much more useable, arable land do we have left? ” He noted that degradation due to human practices is making some land unavailable.
Increasing the supply of water is even more challenging. “If you and I could somehow compress the entire volume of water on our planet into a single gallon,” Peterson said, “of this amount we believe about 2.8% only would be fresh water, of which a mere two drops are readily accessible to humanity, of which we are now using one drop.”
Peterson went on to explain that of that one drop of fresh water currently in use, about 70% goes to agriculture, 22% to industry and manufacturing and 8% to municipalities. “We believe now that something on the order of 950 millionpeople across the world don’t have the water that we take for granted every time we take a sip,” Peterson said. He also noted that a sip of water can be fatal in some parts of the world—especially for children—due to water-borne illness.
Although water is increasingly likely to be a source of conflict, Peterson said that the world’s thirst for energy will continue to grow and act as a destabilizing influence. Demand for oil will increase by one-half, he said, driven largely by the developing world. By 2030 China is expected to be importing 10 million barrels per day. Peterson acknowledged that there are many unanswered questions about future energy production and use, but it seems clear that dramatically increased energy demands will be a powerful geopolitical force in coming decades.
In 2007 an Intel computer chip the size of a thumbnail completed one trillion mathematical operations per second, making it the first teraflop chip. One year ago the most advanced and powerful computer broke the petaflop barrier,completing more than one quadrillion operations per second. That’s astonishing computing power but on a relatively large scale. Nanotechnology researchers are creating machines at the molecular level, promising a future of virtually invisible technology.
Peterson also described recent advances in robotics and noted that genomics may soon allow us to manipulate human longevity (which, he noted, would have implications for the demographic revolution).
And how long will it be before these technologies converge? “Not long at all,” Peterson said.
As much as human lives have already been shaped by technology, he said, such technological revolutions promise even greater change, involving computing in “virtually every facet of our being,” with all the ethical issues that entails.
Peterson said the ongoing revolution in the exchange of information has clear implications for both current and future generations. Those entering the workforce now, he said, can expect frequent career changes and constant challengesto adapt to new information.
The “death of distance,” at least as far as information is concerned, will serve as an equalizer so that the proverbial “A” student in Bethesda will no longer have the perceived advantage over the genius in Bangalore. The young person in Bangalore will have access to the same information and opportunity. “You can innovate without having to immigrate,” Peterson said.
Peterson noted that the breakdown of authoritative news sources is also part of the information revolution. As humans create increasingly specialized niche media, we will begin to “choose our own truth,” inviting conflict into every part of our lives.
It is by now widely recognized that nations are economically dependent on each other to an unprecedented degree. The ongoing financial crisis, which Peterson said has destroyed an estimated 40% of the world’s wealth over recent quarters, is compelling evidence of this. Peterson said global economic integration and an associated shift of production to developing countries will continue to reshape the world, with the so-called BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) leading the way. As of2007, he said, those four nations alone accounted for 30% of global output and 47% of global economic growth.
Terrorism and conflict between nations will remain key concerns in coming decades, Peterson said, and will be shaped by the other revolutions he described. The availability of nuclear arms information is threatening a new age of proliferation. Advances in science raise the specter of bioterrorism. As information becomes the world’s economic lifeblood, cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated.
In the months since Peterson’s lecture, as if on cue, Taliban forces made startling gains in a destabilized, nuclear-armed Pakistan (itself already a contributor to the new proliferation). Al-Qaeda appears to have made the country its new makeover project, raising the specter of nuclear-armed terrorists. Cyber attacks, and U.S. training to counter them, also have been in the news.
Peterson pointed out that the budget of the private Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—which focuses on global health—is comparable to that of the public World Health Organization. In fact, he said, 9 of the world’s top 50 economic entities are corporations rather than nations. Increasingly, globalization is outpacing traditional political techniques, requiring governments to address fragmentation of authority and legitimacy in a time of “deep cooling of their capacity to reinvent themselves,”Peterson added. “Unless they can do this, they run the risk of falling behind.”
If there is a common thread in all of these revolutions, Peterson suggested that it is the need for something other than traditional, reactive, shortsighted politics. Given both the “hyper-peril” and “hyper-promise” of the next few decades, he said, the world also needs “hyper-leadership.” For more information, go to www.samford.edu/ethics.