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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
252 pages
Jul 2004
InterVarsity Press

Human Dignity in the Biotech Century

by Charles W. Colson & N. de S Camaron

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Imagine you and your spouse are expecting a baby. You’ve just received word that the prenatal genetic testing mandated by your medical insurer has uncovered a defective gene that will require costly treatment for your child. Now imagine that the insurance company has given you two options: abort the child or lose your medical coverage. Sound far-fetched? Not so, as Human Dignity in the Biotech Century makes clear. And probably one of the least far-fetched but all too possible consequences of the scientific research community’s fascination with the wonders of biotechnology.

Human Dignity in the Biotech Century, a collection of essays by lawyers, science professors, medical doctors, and others involved in the pro-life movement, examines the pros and cons of biotechnology from a Christian perspective. In addition to providing an overview of the work being done in biotechnology and its possible ramifications for life as we know it, the book also offers an in-depth look at the ethical issues surrounding biotechnological research.

Christians, unfortunately, are no less likely than non-Christians to be enthralled by the expansive claims and promises of the biotechnology industry. After all, who among us doesn’t have a friend or loved one suffering with a genetic disease that we would love to see cured? But for all its great promise, biotechnology has a dark side that “represents the gravest [of] threat[s] to human dignity and therefore to the Christian vision for our culture.” Awed by biotechnology’s potential for good and informed largely by a media committed to the “brave new world” biotechnology promises, few Christians are equipped to understand and confront its potential for evil.

Human Dignity in the Biotech Century should be read and studied by every pastor and serious Christian layperson in the country and the issues it raises discussed in every church. In the first chapter, Nigel M. de S. Cameron makes it clear that “[t]he pro-family and more sharply focused pro-life organizations that have developed to represent the Christian worldview in the public square face a radical challenge in the emerging biotech agenda.” To meet that challenge, those organizations will need the support of informed rank-and-file Christians. Human Dignity in the Biotech Century provides a framework thoughtful Christians can use to understand biotechnology’s vision for the future and all that’s at stake if scientists and researchers are left unrestrained to pursue that vision. – Linda Whitlock, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

What will be the greatest moral challenge facing our society throughout this century?

Are we ready to face it?

Editors Charles W. Colson and Nigel M. de S. Cameron, along with a panel of expert contributors, make the case in this book that the greatest watershed debates of the twenty-first century concerning ethics and public policy will surround the issue of biotechnology. In twelve essays they address several of the legal and ethical challenges before us: embryo research, stem cell research, cloning, genetic engineering, gene therapy, pharmacogenomics, cybernetics, nanotechnology and, of course, abortion.

Contributors include

  • William L. Saunders, J. D., Family Research Council
  • Christopher Hook, M.D., The Mayo Clinic
  • Henk Jochemsen, Ph.D., Free University of Amsterdam
  • David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Indiana State University
  • Nathan A. Adams IV, Ph.D., J.D., Christian Legal Society
  • David Stevens, M.D., Christian Medical Association
  • Paige Comstock Cunningham, J. D., Americans United for Life
  • C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  • Richard Doerflinger, M.A., Secretariat for Pro-life, National Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Wesley J. Smith, J.D., International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assistend Suicide

Leaders in their fields, these contributors point out the crucial role Christians can and should play in the public square. The well-informed and forward-looking perspectives they present will help us prepare for the challenges ahead.