Biotechnology and the Human Good

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224 pp., 5.5 x 8.5
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ISBN: 9781589011380 (1589011384)

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ISBN: 9781589012769

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April 2007
LC: 2006021475

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Biotechnology and the Human Good
C. Ben Mitchell, Edmund D. Pellegrino, Jean Bethke Elshtain, John F. Kilner, and Scott B. Rae
Some of humankind's greatest tools have been forged in the research laboratory. Who could argue that medical advances like antibiotics, blood transfusions, and pacemakers have not improved the quality of people's lives? But with each new technological breakthrough there comes an array of consequences, at once predicted and unpredictable, beneficial and hazardous.

Outcry over recent developments in the reproductive and genetic sciences has revealed deep fissures in society's perception of biotechnical progress. Many are concerned that reckless technological development, driven by consumerist impulses and greedy entrepreneurialism, has the potential to radically shift the human condition—and not for the greater good. Biotechnology and the Human Good builds a case for a stewardship deeply rooted in Judeo-Christian theism to responsibly interpret and assess new technologies in a way that answers this concern.

The authors jointly recognize humans not as autonomous beings but as ones accountable to each other, to the world they live in, and to God. They argue that to question and critique how fields like cybernetics, nanotechnology, and genetics might affect our future is not anti-science, anti-industry, or anti-progress, but rather a way to promote human flourishing, common sense, and good stewardship.

A synthetic work drawing on the thought of a physician, ethicists, and a theologian, Biotechnology and the Human Good reminds us that although technology is a powerful and often awe-inspiring tool, it is what lies in the heart and soul of who wields this tool that truly makes the difference in our world.
C. Ben Mitchell is associate professor of bioethics and contemporary culture at Trinity International University.

Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD, is the chair of the President's Council on Bioethics, and professor emeritus of medicine and medical ethics, Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center.

Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.

John F. Kilner is the Franklin Forman Chair of Ethics, professor of bioethics and contemporary culture, and the director of the bioethics program at Trinity International University.

Scott B. Rae is professor of biblical studies and Christian ethics at Biola University.
Reviews
"Moves the ethical debate over biotechnology to a new level. Biotechnology and the Human Good offers a critical analysis and constructive engagement that is informed, astute, and elegant. A must-read for anyone concerned about the prospect of a posthuman future."—Brent Waters, associate professor of Christian social ethics and director, Stead Center for Ethics and Values, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary



"United by their conviction that traditional Christianity must respond to the latest conundrums of biomedical research, the authors of Biotechnology and the Human Good write with clarity and passion. They are cautious without being negative, quite willing to endorse all the genuine benefits of biomedical science but wary of its prospects for remaking human nature. They warn that secular arguments against enhancement won't restrain our enthusiasm to make ourselves more than human. They insist that only a theology that sees humanity as created and redeemed by God will equip us to resist the temptation to re-create and improve ourselves. Not everyone will share their concerns, but everyone will be enriched by the cogency of their arguments and the clear theological framework they develop."—Ronald Cole-Turner, H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Table of Contents
Preface

Acknowledgments

ONE
The Rapidly Changing World of Biotechnology

TWO
Humanity and the Technological Narrative

THREE
Biotechnology and Competing Worldviews

FOUR
Biotechnology and Human Dignity

FIVE
Biotechnology and the Quest for Control

SIX
Biotechnology, Human Enhancement, and the Ends of Medicine

SEVEN
Conclusion: Toward a Foundation for Biotechnology

Notes

Authors and Collaborators

Index