Biotechnology and Justice

Roman Catholic Perspectives

Authored by: B. Andrew Lustig

The Routledge Companion to Religion and Science

Print publication date:  October  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415492447
eBook ISBN: 9780203803516
Adobe ISBN: 9781136634178

10.4324/9780203803516.ch42

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Abstract

As Ronald Cole-Turner observes in his scientific introduction (Chapter 39 in this volume), ours is an era of rapidly emerging new technologies, with developments in biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, and informatics that challenge us to think anew about the scope of human responsibility for interventions into, and alterations of, nature and the natural world. The complexity of the issues raised is compounded by current and prospective developments to alter the physical substratum of human nature itself, especially in the areas of genetics and reproductive technology. Such developments are occurring in a culture wherein consumer preferences and desires are increasingly being “medicalized.” Widespread use of pharmaceuticals has extended medicine’s traditional curative commitments to include the use of drugs to alter mood, change behavioral tendencies, and enhance performance. Such “off-label” drug use, much like the widespread recourse to cosmetic surgery for non-medical conditions, reflects consumer trends that are likely to intensify with the rapid expansion of biotechnological possibilities.

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