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Bioethics and Theology Research

Finding an appropriate response to change can be difficult, especially if one is coming from a theological perspective that values tradition and the status quo. Still, the world continues to change, so organizations of faith as well as others must react to those changes in various ways. The Drummond reading involves issues of bioethical changes that are going on in society today, and the appropriate theological response to them. These issues are shown in such practices as genetic engineering and others that represent scientific advancement. These subjects involve concepts of bioethics relative to interactions with the law, public opinion, science, and religion.

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Looking at techno-secularism also brings up issues of religion In terms of bioethical predilections overall, there is an increasing desire for dialogue with ethical and moral experts coming from the scientists and engineers who are in many ways programming our future in the present. This aspect involves many subdivisions of society as well as distinct bioethical issues such as cloning, gene therapy, test tube babies, etc. As one group of authors notes, in this general environment, "The message made implicitly by the arguments of bioethicists as well as articulated explicitly by some science educators suggests that socioscientific decision-making, particularly when dealing with issues like genetic engineering, must involve the consideration of morality and ethics" (Sadler and Zeidler 2003, p. 38).

Drummond's article recommends a theologically inspired attitude of prudence and caution in regards to scientific changes in genetics, from a moralist perspective that is Christian in nature. As the author notes, "When no absolute map exists to tell us exactly what route to follow through these ethical difficulties, getting in touch with the personal good through wisdom will be indispensable in serving the common good when formulating public policy" (Drummond, 369). This quotation seems to be good general advice, but there is also somewhat of a lack of specificity in terms of what one should actually do to determine that wisdom, and what exactly it should be based upon. My reaction to this feature of the article is that one must take a stand on this issue rather than vacillating. It is an important subject on which to have a specific opinion, because if people just blindly accept cloning and genetic engineering, we may as a society be propelled to a future where couples will choose "designer babies." Drummond argues that coming from a Christian theological perspective the notion of prudence "needs to include both fortitude, which is a sense of willingness to suffer for the sake of the good, and charity, the ability to love beyond what we might be able to do through our natural instincts towards friends and family, and temperance, the ability to say no when our needs, rather than our wants have been met (sic)" (Drummond, 374).

When people join a society and enjoy its benefits, they sign a social contract. This means accepting the moral status quo of that society, as well as its other educational and ethical status quos. There is a real danger that unless ethical and moral leaders are willing to make a clear and plain statement against it, technology will enable people to let parents engage in casual eugenic racism based on characteristics for their babies that are socially popular. In this way, parents will be able to foist their own ideas of what superficial beauty means (eye color, hair type, etc.) onto their innocent spawn at a state of pre-birth. To me personally, this is a dystopian scenario that requires activism and advocacy in the present, rather than hesitation and vacillation. Any new technology is likely to have good and bad aspects, depending on how it is used.


Drummond, C. (2005). Fabricated Humans? Human Genetics, Ethics and the Christian Wisdom Tradition. Dialog: A Journal of Theology . Volume 44, Number 4 . Winter.

Sadler, T., and D. Zeidler (2003). The Morality of Socioscientific Issues: Construal and Resolution of Genetic Engineering Dilemmas. London: Wiley

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Ron Schooling
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Public school technology writer and researcher.

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