Brave New Worlds: Genetics and the Human Experience

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9780006551447: Brave New Worlds: Genetics and the Human Experience

A leading commentator questions the ethical implications of contemporary science.

In this cogent, biting argument Bryan Appleyard, special feature-writer and columnist for the Sunday Times and author of Understanding the Present: Science and the Soul of Modern Man, takes the liberal humanist position against the advance of scientific ethics (or lack of them), in particular those of genetics. As the achievements of science threaten to engulf this century leaving us morally and philosophically floundering in their wake (what ARE we going to do about Dolly?), Appleyard’s remorseless and in its way enthralling engagement with the issues makes this a book that will take pole position in a debate which can only get hotter and more desperate.
In essence, he says that although it may be true that we live in Dawkins’ ‘cold and pitiless’ universe, if we live our lives according to such wisdom we will all simply end up killing each other (as this century, with its appalling history of eugenics, a first cousin of genetics, has shown rather well).
There is a real sale here to people who are not just interested in science for its own sake but who are interested in alternatives to the bleak reductionism that it seems to offer. I have compared it to Masson’s Against Therapy, in that both take up strong positions against a strong body of opinion which many find oppressive. This could be a key book in any discussion of science and the future.

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Review:

Bryan Appleyard doesn't really have much new to say about the future of human society in the face of genetic science advances, but he states his arguments simply, precisely and quickly. In fact, Appleyard's main purpose seems simply to be a call for awareness. In a time where new discoveries about DNA and human biochemistry come fast and furious, Appleyard preaches vigilance, lest we end up with the genetic equivalent of the atom bomb--which is a perfect example, he says, of what naïve scientists will do when their knowledge is unchecked by society. His main points are that scientific knowledge is not (and probably has never been) morally neutral, despite the protestations of well-meaning advocates of science; that new developments are not always good; that genetic screening and abortion as currently practiced are eugenics; and that the practice of eugenics, no matter how well disguised, will lead us to a future that looks disturbingly like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. We must decide for ourselves what we want before science and politics decide for us, says Appleyard. This short book is bound to anger scientists, religious leaders and people on both ends of the left-right political spectrum--Appleyard no doubt hopes it will get people talking about the "scientific juggernaut" of genetics. Brave New Worlds will also give readers a quick, anxious overview of the state of genetics-research policy in the wake of the first successful adult mammalian clone and the Human Genome Project, and plenty of food for thought about what it is to be human. -- Therese Littleton

Review:

‘This is a brave book… Appleyard helps the nonspecialist to confront and to appreciate the disturbing significance of some of science’s achievements’
Sunday Times

‘A deeply felt, courageous polemic’
Daily Telegraph

‘An intelligent, passionate and profound book’
Spectator

‘The polemical thrust of Brave New Worlds finds a true point of entry into the world of lived lives.’
Melvyn Bragg, New Statesman

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: Used: Good. Paperback in good condition ex library book. Review Bryan Appleyard doesn't really have much new to say about the future of human society in the face of genetic science advances, but he states his arguments simply, precisely and quickly. In fact, Appleyard's main purpose seems simply to be a call for awareness. In a time where new discoveries about DNA and human biochemistry come fast and furious, Appleyard preaches vigilance, lest we end up with the genetic equivalent of the atom bomb--which is a perfect example, he says, of what naïve scientists will do when their knowledge is unchecked by society. His main points are that scientific knowledge is not (and probably has never been) morally neutral, despite the protestations of well-meaning advocates of science; that new developments are not always good; that genetic screening and abortion as currently practiced are eugenics; and that the practice of eugenics, no matter how well disguised, will lead us to a future that looks disturbingly like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. We must decide for ourselves what we want before science and politics decide for us, says Appleyard. This short book is bound to anger scientists, religious leaders and people on both ends of the left-right political spectrum--Appleyard no doubt hopes it will get people talking about the "scientific juggernaut" of genetics. Brave New Worlds will also give readers a quick, anxious overview of the state of genetics-research policy in the wake of the first successful adult mammalian clone and the Human Genome Project, and plenty of food for thought about what it is to be human. The Times 'Such ingenious wit, derisive logic and swiftness of expression, Huxley's resources of sardonic invention have never been more brilliantly displayed.' - used books, secondhand books, out of print books, hard to find books, for sale, second-hand books, college books, student books, nonfiction, first edition, , non-fiction books delivered world wide. Excess postage may be required for books over 1 kg in weight outside the EU. ISBN 0-00-655144-0 0006551440. Bookseller Inventory # 6002

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Book Description Harper Collins - Harpercollins, London, 2000. Soft Cover. 1st UK Paperback Edition. VG, Edgewear, creases, browning. "Gene therapy, cloning and eugenics". Expanded condition report/digital photo on request. Bookseller Inventory # 027862

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