Sunday, April 12, 2009


A few years ago, I participated in a year-long lecture series on biotechnology at Rochester Institute of Technology. This was organized by John Murley in the Political Science Department. He brought together a broad selection of prominent and thoughtful speakers to offer a diverse range of positions on human biotechnology--ranging from leading critics of biotechnology (such as Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama) to leading proponents (such as Ronald Bailey and Lee Silver).

Now, the State University of New York Press is publishing a book that includes some of the papers presented in that lecture series. The book is edited by Sean Sutton at RIT. The book will be available in July.

Here's the publisher's information on the book.

Biotechnology: Our Future as Human Beings and Citizens, edited by Sean Sutton.

An essential introduction to a controversial yet crucial field of research, Biotechnology surveys recent advances in the field and offers a wide range of opinions for and against expanding this new branch of science. Incisively examining such key topics as therapeutic cloning, genetic enhancement, stem cell therapy, and the use of psychotropic drugs such as Prozac and Ritalin, contributors to this volume agree that biotechnology will inevitably change human life. However, they debate the right way to balance the potential to cure disease and relieve human suffering with the need to respect human life and preserve human dignity. Several explore the way major religions--both Eastern and Western--treat the subject. Others analyze the role of government in biotechnology and specific applications of the technology that should be practiced. Serving as an introduction to this ethically complicated and significant scientific movement, the book ultimately raises the broader, fundamental question of the meaning of human flourishing.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Biotechnology, Human Being, and Citizen
Sean Sutton

1. Biotechnology and Our Human Future: Some General Reflections
Leon R. Kass

2. Who's Afraid of Posthumanity? A Look at the Growing Left/Right Alliance in Opposition to Biotechnological Progress
Ronald Bailey

3. Bioethics and Human Betterment: Have We Lost Our Ability to Dream?
Ronald M. Green

4. Biotechnology in a World of Spiritual Beliefs
Lee M. Silver

5. Jewish Philosophy, Human Dignity, and the New Genetics
Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

6. The Bible and Biotechnology
Larry Arnhart

7. A Transcendent Vision: Theology and Human Transformation
Richard Sherlock

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