SEATTLE, NOV. 8 Welcome to brave new biotech world where according to Discovery Institute senior fellow and acclaimed bioethicist Wesley J. Smith the question is whether science will continue to serve society, or instead dominate it.
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.”
The history of the last 100 years–think Joseph Mengele–demonstrates that science, like any human endeavor, can bring about terrible evil as well as incredible good, says Smith.
Smiths new book, The Consumers Guide to the Brave New World (Encounter Books, 2004) 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 antihuman path that Aldous Huxley and other prophetic writers warned against half a century ago.
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.
About the Author
Wesley J. Smith is the author of “Forced Exit” and “Culture of Death.” He is a senior fellow in Discovery Institutes Center for Science & Culture, and an attorney for the Anti-Euthanasia Task Force. In May 2004, National Journal named Smith one of the nations top expert thinkers in bioengineering because of his work in bioethics.
About Discovery Institute
Discovery Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy, think tank which promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Current projects include: technology, the economy, science and culture, regional transportation, and the bi-national region of “Cascadia.” http://www.discovery.org/.