Friday, March 11, 2005

New Resource on Biotechnology

I have stated in the past that in my opinion biotechnology and bioethics will be the new and dominant frontier for a Christian worldview in the 21st century. What Darwinistic Naturalism was to the 20th century, Biotechnology will be to the 21st. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that biotechnology will be/is the form Darwinistic Naturalism will take in our century.

A great new resource along those lines is The Council For Biotehnology Policy. There are a veritable plethora of articles and editorials up on their web site which cover a lot of the science as well as the public policy angles of the current issues. A good introduction to the purpose and mission of the Council is their Manifesto. Here are a few excerpts and some brief comment.

The debates over human cloning have focused our attention on the significance for the human race of what has been called "the biotech century." Biotechnology raises great hopes for technological progress; but it also raises profound moral questions, since it gives us new power over our own nature. It poses in the sharpest form the question: What does it mean to be human?

Bingo. The Naturalism of the 20th century addressed what it means to be human in many ways including the nature of the human species and its relation to animal species on the ‘evolutionary chain’. Biotechnology will allow human nature to be infinitely protean if we are not careful.

We strongly favor work in biotechnology that will lead to cures for diseases and disabilities, and are excited by the promise of stem cells from adult donors and other ethical avenues of research.

Biotechnology is not an unqualified evil.

We therefore seek as an urgent first step a comprehensive ban on all human cloning and inheritable genetic modification.

We also seek legislation to prohibit discrimination based on genetic information, which is private to the individual.

Agreed. I would also love to see this group encompass the question of the genetic modification of plant life and livestock. Such concerns may be out of the scope of their public policy mission, but I believe them to be vital concerns none the less.

Stop by the Manifesto and add your signature in agreement!


Catez said...

I think there are concerns with certain avenues of research in Biotechnology - but I wouldn't call it the Darwinism of the 21st Century. There's much that is good - and our human ability to develop and use technology is a gift from God. So I think we will be much more effective if we are able to acknowledge both the benefits and the concerns. The genetic modification issue is interesting - and in some areas needs a case by case assessment. Interesting post.

Phil Steiger said...

Agreed. My comment about the Darwinism of the 21st century refers to the large-scale scientifc, theological, philosophical and ethical implications the science will have-not that it will be all evil. I am personally hoping such science will solve issues like senility long before I begin to suffer from it...although some might say that one is too late.