Medical Ethics, Science Fiction, and What it Means to be Human

Feb 20, 2021
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Presented by the Lumen Christi Institute’s Newman Forum. Open to current high school students. This event is cosponsored by the University of Saint Mary of the Lake at Mundelein Seminary, the Archdiocese of Chicago Vocation Office, and Duc in Altum schools collaborative.  


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? 


Join us on Saturday, February 20th for a half-day, online conference, “Medical Ethics, Science Fiction, and What it Means to be Human.” Professor Jeffrey Bishop (SLU) will guide us through the philosophical and theological problems connected to technological advancement. Professor Michael Murphy (Loyola Chicago) will show 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).


Cost is $15 per participant. Scholarships are available. Group discount (flat rate of $100) for groups of 7+ student participants!  Group leaders are invited to be discussion group leaders, if they so choose. Duc in Altum affiliates receive an additional discount. Please contact Austin ( or Madison ( for more information on large group procedures.



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)


We will introduce the prompts for our Spring Essay Contest at the conclusion of the conference!