Science has often challengedreligious dogma, since Copernicus first upset the Church-approved, heliocentricmodel of the cosmos. However, after the Enlightenment, when the empiricalmethod of clinical enquiry was totally established, science has become seenas a competing, and practical method of explanation for all phenomena. Darwininitiated desire for the modern knowledge of biology, in THE FOUNDATION ofSpecies, which advanced the idea of evolution, which was contra to thetraditional spiritual explanation. This explained that all family pets, humansincluded, were evolved through natural selection from single-celled organismsto the multi-cellular ones that are extant today. This laid the foundationsfor the analysis of genetics, that was advanced by Watson and Crick whodiscovered just how DNA, the substance code in each cell nuclei, could replicateitself. In June 2000, the first draft collection of the human genome waspublished, representing a breakthrough for the People Genome Task.
The religious justification forthe source of life is based on some type of creationist account. This, in themonotheistic religions, and most notably in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is adoctrine, often by means of a story, of how a superior, divine being createdthe world regarding to a get better at plan, and then for a teleological end. In theJudeo-Christian tradition, we find this bill in Genesis which manymodern, liberal Christians are content to take as allegory rather than as astraightforward factual bill. This tells how God created the world in sixdays, and on the seventh rested. Mankind was created previous, and given dominionover all the pets. Humankind is also manufactured in the image and likeness of man, and is for this reason most like God. However, in a later part of Genesis, we learn that girl was created second to man, and was in fact developed out ofhis flesh (the rib of Adam) for the intended purpose of being a associate to man. It isobvious from this account that man takes on a second role to God, being shaped onhis image and likeness.
Religious Objections toEugenics
Eugenics is from the AncientGreek eu (so this means well) and genos (meaning tribe, or competition). Thescience is therefore concerned with producing the best human beings byselective breeding. The modern understanding of genetics has allowed eugenicsto be completed on a highly scientific basis, though it will probably be worth noting thateugenics is in no way a modern happening by themselves. Humans have practisedagriculture and farming for many centuries, and for much of this time around haveknown to select the best animals for mating, so that desirablecharacteristics are handed down along to the next generation. In modern times, the science ofeugenics has thought badly in the popular imagination, largely because of the Naziparty's vision of the supreme status (the 3rd Reich) that inferior raceswere deliberately excluded (such as the Jews).
However, spiritual objectionsto eugenics do definitely not stem from its former negative organizations. Ifone thinks that God played out a direct role in the creation of mankind, then itis an upset of a divinely-ordained system to consider such a discriminatory view ofhuman intimate reproduction. If God has allowed able-bodied and impaired, healthy and diseased humans to be born, then surely He wishes both to be ableto reproduce?
Religious Objections toGenetic Engineering
Genetic Engineering is thescience of selecting specific genes from cell nuclei, and then splicing theminto another nuclei, in order to engineer varieties with a specific gene suchthat could confer some natural advantage. This is commonly done with crops, to be able to create strains which may have been made with a higher resistance topests, therefore will be less looking for expensive fertilisers. Maybe humans will have the ability to'order' their children, and ask for certain characteristics to be selectedfor their offspring. These could add the trivial, such as eye-colour orhair shade, to biological, such as resistance to disease and full physical andmental soundness, to the more subjective, such as musical expertise or high IQ. However, there have been increasing concerns over the use of geneticengineering to humans. Spiritual objections usually stem from the theory that itis an function of hubris to meddle with the created order.
Religious objections stemfrom the eschatology covered within most religious doctrine. This means thatsome idea about life after fatality is a substantial part of all religiouscodes. If can stretch life for many, many more years, then this effortlessly leadsus to wonder about the value of life after loss of life as well. The idea ofHeaven, salvation, or even damnation may recede in importance as average life expectancyis long well beyond the original Biblical three report years and ten.
The Human being Genome Task hasshown conclusively that we do in truth share the majority of our genes withother species - especially other vertebrates. That is troubling for those whohold that mankind is distinct and above other pets, since we are manufactured inthe likeness and the image of God.
As difficult as the ethics ofgenetic technology are, we have to remember that scientific growth hasoften been viewed in negative light, initially. Organ transplantation startedin the 1970s, and was first seen as questionable, yet now it is a routinepractice, and there are very few who've any spiritual objections to thismedical procedure.
Geneticengineering and eugenics have both advanced by leaps and bounds in the 20thcentury, and no doubt will continue steadily to achieve this task, as humans continue to facesignificant inhabitants problems that could be eradicated by genetictechnology. It appears that genetic technology could solve many of theseproblems, such as disease and ageing. However, religious objections remind usthat these new solutions often ask as much new questions as they answer.
C. Deane-Drummond, B. Szerszynski, R. Grove-White (eds) Re-ordering Aspect: Theology Culture andthe New Genetics (London, T&T Clark Ltd, 2003)
C. Deane-Drummond (ed) Daring " NEW WORLD "? Theology, Ethics and the Real human Genome (London, T&T ClarkLtd, 2003)
A. Bruce & D. Bruce (eds) Engineering Genesis:The Ethics of Genetic Executive in Non-Human Types (London, EarthscanPublications Ltd, 1998)