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Beyond Human? Science and the changing face of humanity John Bryant

17th April 2012
Digital (delivered electronically)
256 pages:

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As the news constantly reminds us, recent advances in the biomedical sciences have brought within reach things that were unthinkable only a few years ago: designer babies, genetically enhanced athletes, human clones, stem cell treatment, medical technology, transhumanism. All these issues raise huge questions. Our power to intervene in the natural course of human life is immense: but what should we be doing and what should we avoid? And what about the inequalities of technological power across the globe? Biologist and ethics expert Dr John Bryant begins by placing modern biomedical science in its recent social history context, before moving on to discuss ethics and whether our normal ethical frameworks can cope with the questions thrown up by these huge issues. Throughout the book, Bryant encourages the reader to engage with the questions he addresses.
Foreword 1 Starting from the Beginning 1.1 Beyond what? 1.2 Being human: the origins and early evolution of humankind 1.3 Corn and community, cities and civilization 2 The Way We Were 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Shifting power bases in the ancient world 2.3 Religion in the ancient world 2.4 Into Europe 2.5 Post-Roman Britain 2.6 Moving away from Rome 2.7 Science, culture, and religion 2.8 The Industrial Revolution and the age of invention 2.9 Science, culture, and religion revisited 2.10 Into the twentieth century 2.11 Some thoughts on the story so far 3 The Way We Are 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Communism and capitalism 3.3 Israel and Palestine 3.4 The European Union 3.5 The 1960s 3.6 Northern Ireland 3.7 Terrorism and war 3.8 Power bases shift again 3.9 Science, religion, and culture 3.10 Human society: fraying round the edges or cracking down the middle? 3.11 After World War II: a final comment 4 Morals, Ethics, and Complex Issues 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Ethical systems 4.3 A brief excursion into postmodernism 4.4 Application of ethics in medicine 4.5 Extending the ethical vision 5 Genes, Genetics, and Human Disease 5.1 Introduction 5.2 Early understanding 5.2 Genes and medicine: the early years 5.3 The new genetic revolution 5.4 Science, sequences, and sickness 6 Genetic Testing and Diagnosis: The Good, the Bad, and the Muddly 6.1 Genetic testing and diagnosis 6.2 Prenatal and pre-implantation testing: wider ethical issues 6.3 A gene for this and a gene for that 6.4 Concluding remarks 7 Medical Technology: From Gamete to Grave 7.1 Introduction 7.2 The ART of reproduction: from donor insemination to test-tube babies 7.3 Gene therapy 7.4 Repair, replacement, and renewal 7.5 Three score years and then 7.6 : and then: when am I dead and when may I die? 7.7 Whatever next? 8 Chips with Everything: Computers, Information, and Communications Technologies 8.1 Introduction 8.2 Alan Turing and the dawn of the computer age 8.3 The age of computers: the digital age 8.4 How things have changed 8.5 Networking 8.6 The digital divide 8.7 The darker side of digital technology 8.8 Concluding remarks 9 Transhumanism: Stronger, Faster, Better, Older 9.1 Introduction 9.2 Transhumanism: biomedical 9.3 Transhumanism: pharmacological 9.4 Transhumanism: digital 9.5 Transhumanism: biomechanical 9.6 The "super-soldier" programme 9.7 Concluding comments 10 Beyond Human? 10.1 Introduction 10.2 The angel and the beast 10.3 Fair shares for all? 10.4 Fiddling while home burns 10.5 Better humans? 10.6 Postscript
Professor John Bryant is Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of Exeter. He has written several academic books and articles as well as Life in Our Hands: A Christian Perspective on Genetics and Cloning (IVP).

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