Brave New Biology: The Challenge for Human Dignity

London: The Institute of United States Studies, 2002.


The urgency of the great political struggles of the twentieth century and the new global struggle against terrorism and fanaticism seems to have blinded many people to a deep truth about the present age: nearly all contemporary societies, East as well as West, are traveling briskly in the same utopian direction. Nearly all are wedded to the modern technological project; all march eagerly to the drums of progress and fly proudly the banner of modern science; all sing loudly the Baconian anthem, “Conquer nature, relieve man’s estate.” Leading the triumphal procession is modern medicine, which is daily becoming ever more powerful in its battle against disease, decay, and death, thanks especially to astonishing achievements in biomedical science and technology–achievements for which we must surely be grateful.

Yet contemplating present and projected advances in genetic and reproductive technologies, in neuroscience and psychopharmacology, in the development of artificial organs and computer-chip implants for human brains, and in research to control biological aging, we now clearly recognize new uses for biotechnical power that soar beyond the traditional medical goals of healing disease and relieving suffering. We are promised new and effective routes to better children, superior performance, ageless bodies, and happy souls.

Universidad de Navarra
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