Who could have imagined that President Bush's first special address to the nation would be about the coming genetic revolution? Or that one of the defining issues in American Politics would be stem cell research? Clearly, a national debate has begun that will not soon end — one that will force America to confront whether genetics advances will contribute to human dignity or threaten it, whether there are moral limits to scientific progress, and in general what life will look like in the genetic age. Welcome to the politics of the 21st century.
This collection, edited by William Kristol and Eric Cohen, chronicles the start of this great national debate. It looks back, beginning with selections from Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis, who first imagined the possibility of a Brave New World many decades ago. It looks forward, moving on to the current debate over human cloning and stem cells, including articles, essays, speeches and testimony from genetic enthusiasts and critics, scientists and moralists, politicians and scholars. An original introduction by Kristol and Cohen maps out the major disagreements, the questions ahead, and their own view that America's unchecked faith in technological progress needs a radical reconsideration.
Other selections include essays by Leon Kass, Francis Fukuyama and Charles Krauthammer; testimony from Geron president Thomas O'Karma, bioethicist Daniel Callahan and actor-activist Michael J. Fox; speeches from the House of Representatives debate on human cloning; and the President's address to the nation.
William Kristol is editor of The Weekly Standard. Widely considered one of the nation's leading political analysts and commentators, Kristol regularly appears on major television public affairs shows. Eric Cohen is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center