Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Bioethics/Biotech, Science, Technology & Religion

Beneficence and technology

I’ve been editing some material at the end of the thesis that looks at how the theme of ‘beneficence’ (the doing of good) interacts with technological development. The theme of actively doing good, rather than just not doing evil, is a significant one in religious reflection upon technological use. Indeed, the moral imperative to do good with technology is a common feature between religionists and transhumanists.

For example, Peter Vardy says of genetic enhancement in “Being Human: Fulfilling Genetic and Spiritual Potential“,

If there is a God, then God has given human beings rational minds to enable them to make moral decisions and to develop medical technology and other resources to help them to live in harmony within this world. Indeed, it is held to be one of the crowning glories of human beings that they do have these facilities. Once this is accepted, then to set limits to how this intelligence should be employed seems arbitrary. There has been a tendency in the past for religious people to be nervous of new developments. However, if they believe God has given human beings minds, then it seems perfectly proper to argue that these minds can be used in eliminating disease and physical defects and also in enhancing human beings further to enable them to fulfil their full capacity, by employing the genome in appropriate ways.

The question, of course, is: what are “appropriate ways”?

Would the following qualify? BBC NEWS | Health | Plan to create human-cow embryos.

Related links:

Greenflame: Is our DNA Sacred?
Greenflame: DNA, Stem Cells and Faith (contains links to responses to the above).

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