In Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow, attorney, and bioethicist Wesley J. Smith asks the simple but difficult question, “should the importance of human life be sacrificed for the potential advancement of human technology?” So provocative are Smith’s ideas, that his writings have led to a quote on Starbucks coffee cups!
Cloning researchers claim to have created an embryo that is mostly human, but also part animal. Biotech companies brag about manufacturing human embryos as “product” for use in medical treatments. Echoing long-discredited master-race thinking, James Watson, who won a Nobel Prize for 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. 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.
Smith starts with the basic questions. What are stem cells? What is the difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells, and which are the 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?
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 reveals how this lobby works and how the ideology of “scientism,” mixed with the lure of riches, threatens to impose on society a “new eugenics” that would dismantle ethical norms and compromise the uniqueness and importance of all human life.
Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World presents a clear-eyed vision of two potential futures. In one, biotechnology will be a powerful tool to treat disease and improve the quality of our lives. But in another, darker scenario, we will be steered onto the path that Aldous Huxley and other prophetic writers first warned against fifty year ago, before science fiction became science fact.