Adam, Eve, and the Genome: The Human Genome Project and Theology

Adam, Eve, and the Genome: The Human Genome Project and Theology

Adam, Eve, and the Genome: The Human Genome Project and Theology

Adam, Eve, and the Genome: The Human Genome Project and Theology

Synopsis

"Part 1 of the book places genetic research in historical perspective, including the historical prickliness between science and religion. Part 2 probes the deepest religious question raised by genetic research: what it means to be human, especially in the coming "biological age." Finally, Part 3 takes up specific social issues about race, freedoms, fairness, and the social context and consequences of advanced science." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The full report of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Human Cloning and Human Dignity, is 350 pages long. Despite the parity in the title, there is no section that explicitly defines “human dignity.” Less than two pages out of 350 are devoted to statements about human beings. While science today is confronted with extraordinary ethical challenges, very little attempt is made to achieve anything like the pre- cision of scientific definitions for the often-used category “human dig- nity.” Yet, as is clearly the case in the President’s council report, the basis of the decision-making rests on an assumption that there is such a thing as human dignity.

This volume is an attempt to provide theological reflection on the human being by means of a dialogue with the newer advances in human genetics, the Human Genome Project. The chapters included in the volume began as lectures given in a course called “God, Adam, and Eve: Theology and Science in the Genome Age.” My colleague Dr. Laurel C. Schneider and I designed this course and received generous grant support for it from the Center for Theology and the Natural Sci- ences (CTNS). CTNS deserves not only our thanks for their financial support but also the thanks of the students at the Chicago Theological Seminary and at the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Chicago for making possible this addition to the curriculum. Dr. Lainie Friedman Ross, the pediatric geneticist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, agreed to team-teach with us, and we had stu- dents from both institutions take the course in the fall of 2001. The presence of both theology students and science majors made the class discussions very rich. An additional plus was that Dr. Ross, an Askanazi Jew and a deeply religious as well as philosophically trained person . . .

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