Synthetic Biology and Religion

Authors

  • William Daley

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/eph.v23i2.27730

Keywords:

synthetic biology and religion, playing God, creating life

Abstract

Through the relatively new science and technology known as synthetic biology, scientists are attempting to create useful new life forms. Any attempt to “create life” inevitably prompts some to ask whether man is trespassing into areas properly reserved for a divine creator. The potential creative power of synthetic biology raises this concern to a level that has not been known before. Thus a new chapter in the history of the relationship between science and religion is being written. This article presents some of the scholarly perspectives on that chapter.

Author Biography

William Daley

Graduate of the Science and the Public Master's program in the Graduate School of Education at SUNY Buffalo

References

Bedau, Mark A., and Emily C. Parke, eds. 2009. The Ethics of Protocells: Moral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.001.0001

Cho, Mildred K., David Magnus, Arthur L. Caplan, Daniel McGee, and the Ethics of Genomics Group. 1999. “Ethical Considerations in Synthesizing a Minimal Genome.” Science 286: 2087–2090. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.286.5447.2087

Dabrock, Peter. 2009. “Playing God? Synthetic Biology as a Theological and Ethical Challenge.” Systems and Synthetic Biology 3: 47–54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11693-009-9028-5

Dragojlovic, Nicolas and Edna Einsiedel. 2012. “Playing God or Just Unnatural? Religious Beliefs and Approval of Synthetic Biology.” Public Understanding of Science 22(7): 869–885. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662512445011

Drees, Willem B. 2002. “‘Playing God? Yes!’ Religion in the Light of Technology.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 37: 643–654. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9744.00442

Heavey, Patrick. 2013a. “The Place of God in Synthetic Biology: How Will the Catholic Church Respond?” Bioethics 27(1): 36–47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2011.01887.x

———. 2013b. “Synthetic Biology Ethics: A Deontological Assessment.” Bioethics 27(8): 442–452. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12052

Kaebnick, Gregory. 2010. Transcript of testimony before the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, Meeting 1 Session 4. http://bioethics. http://bioethics.gov/node/167

Lauritzen, Paul. 2011. “Humming With Mystery: Synthetic Biology & Playing God.” Commonweal 138.7 (April 8, 2011):13.

Link, Hans-Jürgen. 2013. “Playing God and the Intrinsic Value of Life: Moral Problems for Synthetic Biology?” Science and Engineering Ethics 19: 435–448. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-012-9353-z

van den Belt, Henk. 2009. “Playing God in Frankenstein’s Footsteps: Synthetic Biology and the Meaning of Life.” NanoEthics 3: 257–268. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11569-009-0079-6

Wheeler, Sondra E. 2010a. “Contributions of Christian Thought to Assessments of Synthetic Biology: Testimony for the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.” http://bioethics.gov/node/174

———. 2010b. “Question and answer period in testimony for the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, Meeting 2 Session 4.” http://bioethics.gov/node/174.

Wolpe, Paul Root. 2010. “Transcript of testimony before the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, Meeting 1 Session 6.” http://bioethics.gov/node/169

Published

2016-02-18

How to Cite

Daley, W. (2016). Synthetic Biology and Religion. Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, 23(2), 159–174. https://doi.org/10.1558/eph.v23i2.27730

Issue

Section

Articles