Consumer's Guide to Brave New World

Consumer's Guide to Brave New World

by Wesley J. Smith
     
 


Cloning researchers claim to have cloned an embryo that is mostly human, but also part animal. Biotech companies brag about manufacturing human embryos as "products" for use in medical treatments. Echoing long discredited master-race thinking, James Watson, who won a Nobel Prize for co-discovering the DNA double helix, claims that genetically enhanced people will…  See more details below

Overview


Cloning researchers claim to have cloned an embryo that is mostly human, but also part animal. Biotech companies brag about manufacturing human embryos as "products" for use in medical treatments. Echoing long discredited master-race thinking, James Watson, who won a Nobel Prize for co-discovering the DNA double helix, claims that genetically enhanced people will someday "dominate the world." Events are moving so fast--and biotechnology seems so complicated--that many of us worry that we can't have an informed opinion about these issues that are remaking the human future before our very eyes. But now Wesley J. Smith provides us with a guide to the brave new world that is no longer a figment of our imagination but right around the corner of our lives. Smith starts with the basic questions. What are stem cells? What is the difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells and which is most promising for medical therapy? What does embryonic stem cell research involve and why is it so controversial? What is its relationship to human cloning? But in addition to explaining the science of stem cells, this highly readable and carefully researched book reports on the gargantuan "Big Biotech" industry and its supporters in the universities and in the science and bioethics establishments. Smith shows how this lobby works and how the lure of huge riches, mixed with the ideology of "scientism," threatens to impose a "new eugenics" on society that would dismantle ethical norms and call into question the uniqueness and importance of all human life. "A Consumer's Guide to Brave New World" presents a clear-eyed vision of two potential futures. In one we will use biotechnology as a powerful tool to treat disease and improve the quality of our lives. But in another, darker scenario, we will be steered onto the anti-human path Aldous Huxley and other prophetic writers first warned against fifty years ago when science fiction had not yet become science fact.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ever since the cloning of Dolly in 1997, critics have warned that human society has begun sliding down the slippery slope to posthumanity. In a rather repetitious and bland look at the moral questions arising out of biotechnologies such as cloning and stem cell technology, Smith (The Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America) does offer some helpful insight into the practices themselves. Much like Leon Kass, the chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, and Francis Fukuyama (Our Posthuman Future), Smith argues that any medical or scientific development that diminishes human dignity-"the intrinsic worthiness of embodied human life"-ought to be avoided, regardless of the good it promises. Smith contends that the technologies are not in and of themselves pernicious; rather, the political, ideological and entrepreneurial promotion of any scientific advance, he asserts, can lead us to ignore its dangers (for instance, producing a hybrid pig-human embryo). Smith opposes human reproductive cloning and embryonic stem cell technology. On the other hand, he argues that some advances, such as adult stem cell technology and umbilical cord blood/stem cell technology (which has been used to treat sickle-cell anemia), should be embraced. Along the way, Smith makes some mistakes-Joseph Fletcher, for example, is not the "patriarch of bioethics"-and his case has been stated better and more forcefully by others, notably Kass. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781893554993
Publisher:
Encounter Books
Publication date:
09/01/2004
Pages:
219
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.95(d)

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