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About this book
About this book
A crystal clear and highly informative guide to a debate none of us can afford to ignore. Beginning with a much-needed overview of the relationship between science and technology, Gordon Graham lucidly explains and assesses the most important and controversial aspects of the genes debate: Darwinian theory and its critics, the idea of the 'selfish' gene, evolutionary psychology, memes, genetic screening and modification, including the risks of cloning and 'designer' babies. He also considers areas often left out of the debate over genes, such as the environmental risks of genetic engineering and how we should we think about genes in the wider context of debates over science, knowledge and religion. Gordon Graham asks whether genetic engineering might be introducing God back into the debate and whether the risks of a brave new genetic world outweigh the potential benefits.
Preface 1. Science and the self-image of society Icon and understanding - the fractured image: Einstein vs Frankenstein - science - technology - anti-science - explaining things - engineering things - 'pure' and 'applied' 2. Genetic explanation Evolution and creationism - natural selection and 'the selfish gene' - survival of the fittest - altruism, homosexuality and sterility - irreducible complexity and the biochemical - sociobiology and evolutionary psychology - memetics 3. Genetic engineering Genetic screening - genetic information - genetic modification - environmentalism - the precautionary principle - genetic research - the 'slippery slope' and the 'sanctity of life' 4. Playing God Secular versions of the sacred - genetic trespassing - rights and equality - human cloning - reproductive technologies - designer babies - procreative responsibility and the ethics of abortion - 'playing God' without God