Stem Cells and society: An undergraduate course exploring the intersections among science, religion, and law

Chris Pierret, Patricia Friedrichsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The intersection of science and our society has led to legal and ethical issues in which we all play a part. To support development of scientific literacy, college science courses need to engage students in difficult dialogues around ethical issues. We describe a new course, Stem Cells and Society, in which students explore the basic biology of stem cell research and the controversy surrounding it. As part of the course, we highlight the nature of science, looking at the methods and norms within the scientific community. To gain a perspective on the current stem cell controversy, we examine the public debates in the 1970s surrounding in vitro fertilization, the stem cell initiative in Missouri, and the personal and religious viewpoints that have emerged relative to the stem cell debate. In the Stem Cells and Society course, students are challenged to develop and clarify their own personal positions concerning embryonic stem cell research. These positions are grounded in science, religion or personal philosophy, and law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalCBE Life Sciences Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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