Edited by Phillip R. Sloan
“ Controlling Our Destinies contains the most penetrating set of available essays that explore the cultural dimensions of the Human Genome Project. It will become essential reading for those who want to assess the value and significance of the HGP. It’s accessibility makes it a perfect supplement for any biology program that wants to explore what humanists can tell us about the HGP.” —Paul Lawrence Farber, Oregon State University Distinguished Professor of History of Science
“An excellent collection of papers from a truly inter-disciplinary conference focusing on the humanistic implications of the Human Genome Project. Masterminded and edited by the well known philosopher and historian of biology, Professor Phillip Sloan, the volume juxtaposes differing views on the many controversial issues raised by the sequencing of our genetic blueprint. This collection is an achievement in the spirit of the ELSIE initiative, and does credit to it.” —Robert Olby, Research Professor, Department of History Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh.
Controlling Our Destinies presents the reflections of an international group of scholars from several humanistic disciplines on the historical origins, the philosophical content, the ethical issues, and the science-religion questions raised by the HGP. Contributors include John Beatty, Robert Bud, Arthur Caplan, Alice Domurat Dreger, Kevin Fitzgerald, Jean-Paul Gaudillière, Jean Gayon, Marguerite Hays, Lily Kay, Evelyn Fox Keller, Philip Kitcher, Timothy Lenoir, Richard McCormick, Ernan McMullin, Edward Manier, Timothy Murphy, John Opitz, Diane Paul, Arthur Peacocke, Martin Pernick, Hans Jörg Rheinberger, Kenneth Schaffner, Phillip R. Sloan, and John Staudenmaier.
The Human Genome Project, an international scientific enterprise aimed at attaining a complete sequence and locator map of the entire human genetic structure by the year 2005, constitutes the largest single project ever undertaken in the life sciences. When completed, it will help pinpoint the genetic basis of virtually any human trait. It will also offer the possibility for medical interventions for many diseases and abnormalities related to genetic processes. In this timely collection, scholars from the fields of philosophy, history, ethics, theology, and the natural sciences explore the complex, far-reaching issues surrounding the Human Genome Project.
Contributors discuss the historical background of the project, the issues behind the concepts of “code” and “genes,” the implicit reductionism in contemporary human genetics, the nagging issues surrounding potential new forms of positive “eugenics,” and the challenge the project presents for theological perspectives on human life.
Because of its interdisciplinary approach and its efforts to engage the scientific community in an informed discussion with humanistic scholars, Controlling Our Destinies stands alone among the literature on the Human Genome Project. In addition to its contribution to scholarly inquiry, it will be useful for classroom discussions and is certain to stimulate further analyses by both humanists and scientists of the wider issues surrounding the Human Genome Project as it develops into the next century.
“ Controlling Our Destinies is an interdisciplinary assemblage of humanistic scholars that will prove an invaluable, benchmark publication for both humanists and scientists for discussions of the ethical, and moral considerations attendant to such radical advance in human control over human biology.” — Bookwatch
“Anyone who is interested in human genetic research will find that this book offers a relevant and interesting analysis of the full range of ethical, philosophical and theological implications of such work…. [T]he contents of this book are of great importance….” — Addiction Biology
“A fruitful text, the reader is bound to find several essays that meet his or her needs and interests.” — Metapsychology: Mental Health Net
“Sloan is absolutely correct in helping his readers see implications well beyond the ethics of medical genetics.… These scientific, historical and philosophical contributions make this volume an invaluable and unique contribution to the growing literature that is exploring the moral and ethical implications of the Human Genome Project….” — National Catholic Bioethics Center