Acceptable Genes?: Religious Traditions and Genetically Modified Foods

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Modern biotechnology has surpassed science fiction with such feats as putting fish genes in tomatoes to create a more cold-resistant crop. While the environmental and health concerns over such genetically modified foods have been the subject of public debate, religious and spiritual viewpoints have been given short shrift. This book seeks to understand the moral and religious attitudes of groups within pluralistic societies whose traditions and beliefs raise for them unique questions about food and dietary practice. What questions are there for kosher Jews, halal Muslims, and vegetarian Hindus about food products containing transgenes from prohibited sources? How do these foods impact the cultural practices and spiritual teachings of indigenous peoples? Concerns from the above traditions as well as Christianity, Buddhism, Chinese religion, and ethical vegetarianism are included. Contributors look at the ethical context of each tradition and also include information from focus groups. This enlightening work concludes with recommendations for the labeling of genetically modified foods.
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About the author

Conrad G. Brunk is Professor of Philosophy and former Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. He is coauthor (with Lawrence Haworth and Brenda Lee) of Value Assumptions in Risk Assessment: A Case Study of the Alachlor Controversy and coeditor (with James O. Young) of The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation.

Harold Coward is Professor Emeritus of History and Founding Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. His many books include The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought and Religion and Peacebuilding (coedited with Gordon S. Smith), both also published by SUNY Press.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
278
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ISBN
9781438428963
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Comparative Religion
Religion / Ethics
Religion / Religion & Science
Science / Environmental Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Over a decade ago, the field of bioethics was established in response to the increased control over the design of living organisms afforded by both medical genetics and biotechnology. Since its introduction, bioethics has become established as an academic discipline with journals and professional societies, is covered regularly in the media, and affects people everyday around the globe.

In response to the increasing need for information about medical genetics and biotechnology as well as the ethical issues these fields raise, Sheed & Ward proudly presents the Readings in Bioethics Series. Edited by Thomas A. Shannon, the series provides anthologies of critical essays and reflections by leading ethicists in four pivotal areas: reproductive technologies, genetic technologies, death and dying, and health care policy. The goal of this series is twofold: first, to provide a set of readers on thematic topics for introductory or survey courses in bioethics or for courses with a particular theme or time limitation. Second, each of the readers in this series is designed to help students focus more thoroughly and effectively on specific topics that flesh out the ethical issues at the core of bioethics. The series is also highly accessible to general readers interested in bioethics.

This volume collects critical essays by leading scholars on issues in biotechnology, genetic counseling and the disabled, population screening, race-based gamete selection, stem cell research, reproductive freedom and preimplantation diagnosis, procreation for organ and tissue procurement, and other critical areas where moral and ethical dilemmas are emerging from new and existing practices, policy, and legislation.
From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence.

For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.

While many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular religious manifestations (jihad in Islam or Christianity’s Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith—not only Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Judaism—in its totality over time. As she describes, each arose in an agrarian society with plenty powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land, then the only real source of wealth. In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression, and the warrior ethos it begot, became bound up with observances of the sacred.

In each tradition, however, a counterbalance to the warrior code also developed. Around sages, prophets, and mystics there grew up communities protesting the injustice and bloodshed endemic to agrarian society, the violence to which religion had become heir. And so by the time the great confessional faiths came of age, all understood themselves as ultimately devoted to peace, equality, and reconciliation, whatever the acts of violence perpetrated in their name.

Industrialization and modernity have ushered in an epoch of spectacular and unexampled violence, although, as Armstrong explains, relatively little of it can be ascribed directly to religion. Nevertheless, she shows us how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence—and what hope there might be for peace among believers of different creeds in our time.

At a moment of rising geopolitical chaos, the imperative of mutual understanding between nations and faith communities has never been more urgent, the dangers of action based on misunderstanding never greater. Informed by Armstrong’s sweeping erudition and personal commitment to the promotion of compassion, Fields of Blood makes vividly clear that religion is not the problem.
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