LA Catholic Morning Radio Interview Archives
Topic: Brain-Computer Interfaces
How Important is the Distinction between Therapy and Enhancement? The notion of implanting a chip or other form of sensor or interface into the human brain is intriguing. Neuralink, a company run by Elon Musk, announced in September that it had received approval to implant wireless brain-computer interfaces (BCI) into human volunteers. These devices translate a person’s brain activity into external responses, enabling, for example, the movement of a prosthetic limb via brain signals. The goal of Musk’s study is to help people with paralysis to use their thoughts to control external devices, especially computers, through the BCI. Father Tad, Todd and Ellen discuss the expanding interest in BCI's and address some of the key ethical issues surrounding their use.
Broadcast Date: December 13, 2023
Topic: Genetic Privacy
Who Should Have Access to Our Genetic and Biometric Data? How should our genetic information be stored and who should be able to see it? What about patients exercising control and informed consent for downsteam applications and uses of their genetic data and biometric information? Hosts Todd Sylvester and Ellen Taylor talk with Father Tad about a recent case where law enforcement officials were able to access a stored blood droplet with the DNA of an infant and use the information, without informed consent, to eventually arrest the father for a crime committed 25 years earlier.
Broadcast Date: November 15, 2023
Topic: Adolescents and Gender Dysphoria
What is Behind Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria? Hosts Todd Sylvester and Ellen Taylor talk with Father Tad about the recent phenomenon of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria arising especially among younger girls and women in their adolescent years. They address the growing societal pressure for conformity around gender issues, including the confusion generated for parents when they are told that the only avenue forward involves "affirmation approaches." Father Tad discusses recent signs of hope in the closures of some adolescent gender clinics in Europe following lawsuits by young people who regret what was done to them surgically, along with the vocal and growing cadre of detransitioners who are sharing their stories and testimonies on line.
Broadcast Date: September 19, 2023
Topic: "Synthetic Embryos" Built Out of Stem Cells
Are New Ways of Producing Human Embryos Ethically Acceptable? Host Todd Sylvester and Father Tad discuss the announcement by labs in England and Israel claiming that they have produced human embryos by cobbling together embryonic stem cells. The challenges raised by novel technologies that move rapidly with little ethical oversight and reflection are considered and discussed. For more on "synthetic embryos," see What About Synthetic Embryos?
Broadcast Date: August 29, 2023
Topic: Holding the Line on Brain Death
Should We Be Revising the Uniform Determination of Death Act? Host Todd Sylvester takes up the topic of brain death with Father Tad, and looks at proposed changes in language that is currently used in state laws regarding the determination of death. Drawing on his column entitled "Holding the Line on Brain Death," they discuss how current diagnostic tests used to ascertain that somebody has died by neurological criteria will sometimes fail to indicate that a patient still has brain function in the hypothalamic region of the brain, allowing for an incorrect declaration of brain death, since the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brainstem, cannot be validly declared to have occurred. They discuss the need to avoid introducing problematic adjustments to the Uniform Determination of Death Act so as to assure full integrity when it comes to medical professionals making declarations of brain death.
Broadcast Date: July 17, 2023
Topic: Setting a Moral Vision as Parents
Taking Steps to Attend to the Younger Generation. Hosts Hosts Todd Sylvester and Ellen Taylor discuss with Father Tad his column entitled "Setting a Moral Vision as Parents" where he addresses some of the stressors in society that seem to be threatening family life and even undermining common civility. They consider some of the background influences on the trend away from active parenting, and ways to respond and support young people through renewing the art of parenting and deepening a commitment to both family life and faith life.
Broadcast Date: June 28, 2023
Topic: Responding Sensibly to Suicidal Ideation
The Nature of True Accompaniment in Moments of Crisis. Hosts Todd Sylvester and Ellen Taylor discuss with Father Tad the ways we can respond, either reasonably or unreasonably, to suicidal concerns that may arise from various crisis situations. Drawing on his column entitled "Suicidal Fears and Authentic Accompaniment," they discuss the situation of a husband who may become suicidal after his wife walks out on him, the young girl with anorexia threatening suicide if she is not able to get liposuction, and the the individual struggling with gender dysphoria and their suicidal desperation as they struggle with the belief that they are a member of the opposite sex. The discussion includes mention of the value and importance of sound psychotherapy, support and accompaniment for those facing these kinds of intense life-and-death struggles.
Broadcast Date: May 31, 2023
Topic: The Power of "No" and Communicating Directly
Purifying our Relationships before Marriage. Hosts Todd Sylvester and Ellen Taylor discuss with Father Tad the challenges facing men and women today in learning to value rather than objectify each other. They draw on Father Tad's recent column, "Young Women Giving Themselves Away For Nothing", which focuses on empowering young women to realize that they do not have to succumb to the misleading messages of society or any individual who tries to coerce them into false thinking or pressure them into engaging in sexual activity without the goodness and commitment of marriage. The hosts and Father Tad discuss how current "norms" in society, including pornography and social media, create a false ideal that is destructive to healthy relationships and damaging to a good self-image and a proper sense of self-esteem. The antidote includes seeking purity during dating and courtship to help protect our future marriages and families.
Broadcast Date: April 11, 2023
Topic: Did They Know? Do We?
Ethical Blind Spots, Complacency, & Nazism. In this episode with host Todd Sylvester, Father Tad raises some uncomfortable questions for Christians and others of good will to consider by reflecting on past atrocities and current manifestations of evil in our society. There is clearly something sinister, and something very mundane, in the way that polite German society could carry on in the midst of atrocities and concentration camps. He discusses the inversion of the hierarchy of goods that can subtly occur --- putting lesser goods ahead of greater ones --- even as we face a spate of ongoing evils in our own society, some of which include the imprisonment and death of millions of individuals through in vitro fertilization and abortion.
Broadcast Date: February 07, 2023
Topic: End-of-Life Decision-Making
Did I Make the Right Choices as Dad was Dying? Hosts Todd Sylvester and Ellen Taylor discuss Father Tad's recent column about navigating end-of-life decisions for loved ones. In this lively episode Father Tad and the hosts acknowledge and discuss the trials that often come with medical decision-making in the face of illness and death, and the potential for regrets if poor choices are made on behalf of loved ones. They discuss the complex family dynamics and conflicts that can be part of such a journey, and the designs of healing that are often part of the mysterious pathway into death. Father Tad encourages listeners to become familiar with Church teachings on end of life issues before a medical crisis arises, mentioning resources from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, including: the Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions, Father Tad's "Making Sense of Bioethics" columns, and his full length "The Gift of Dying Well" Video.
Broadcast Date: January 12, 2023