Academic journal article Ethics & Medicine

The Unexamined Technology Is Not Worth Developing

Academic journal article Ethics & Medicine

The Unexamined Technology Is Not Worth Developing

Article excerpt

In the face of the ethical challenges before the ever-expanding litany of biotechnologies, it is important for us to remember that biotechnology is not inherently wrong. In fact, technology, generally speaking, is a human good. Humans are technologists by nature and by vocation. After all, we remain under the covenantal obligations to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1:22). Stewardship of the created order requires some form of technology-even if it is no more sophisticated than a sharpened stick with which to plow a small furrow for planting seed. From paradise past to paradise future we can assume that technology will be with us always. What began in a garden, will end in a city.

In the mean time, however, we face a significant challenge, one which is most acute in the developing biotechnologies. Biotechnologies are not developed in a moral vacuum. Nor are they developed by amoral automatons (at least not yet). In the pursuit of a truly human future, technologies in general and biotechnologies in particular must be developed in morally responsible ways. We can no longer afford-if we ever could-the leisure of pushing the scientific envelope without at the same time exploring the ethical justification for and moral implications of any new biotechnology. …

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