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Babies by Design: The Ethics of Genetic Choice Paperback – December 2, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0300143089 ISBN-10: 0300143087 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (December 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300143087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300143089
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his latest, Dartmouth College bioethicist Green (The Human Embryo Research Debates) embraces a vision of future parenthood bound to stir controversy, arguing that parents will, and should, give children the advantage of more "attractive physical features." Starting with the assumption that "we are entering the era of directed human evolution," he suggests that coming methods of in vitro fertilization will allow parents to genetically pre-select babies, not only to eliminate diseases like cystic fibrosis, but to promote what he calls "cosmetico-genomics." Scenario in place, Green explores a number of racially-charged hypotheticals: "Will dark-skinned African American parents choose to have lighter-skinned children?" Will Jewish parents use genetic rhinoplasty to change a "Jewish nose"? Will Asian-Americans "westernize" their children's eyes? Green answers that parents are right to reduce the unfair but very real social burdens facing their offspring, and dismisses objections as "status quo bias." Although he's peppered his argument with disclaimers that his vision would not reopen the door to the eugenics movements (the kind that underpinned Nazi Germany's genocidal master plan), readers may come away unconvinced; either way, this provoking book provides a rare, cogent look at the "plusses" of genetically enhanced offspring.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"'In this clear-eyed and generally optimistic book, both promise and risk are ably weighed and balanced. The science is clearly explained, and there are signposts to help guide us through the moral maze.' Economist"

More About the Author

Ronald M. Green is a leading scholar of theoretical and applied ethics who has taught since 1969 at Dartmouth College, where he has also served as Director of Dartmouth's Ethics Institute. A summa cum laude graduate of Brown, with a PHD in religious ethics from Harvard, Professor Green is the author of eight books, co-author or editor of four, and has published over one hundred fifty articles in theoretical and applied ethics. In 1998, he was elected president of the Society of Christian Ethics. In 2005, Prof. Green was named a Guggenheim Fellow.

Much of Green's work has been in the field of bioethics. He currently serves on the Bioethics Advisory Committee of the March of Dimes. In 1994 he was a member of the Human Embryo Research Panel of the NIH, a blue ribbon commission appointed to recommend policy for federal funding of research on the preimplantation human embryo. That panel was the first to recommend federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. Following that in 1996-97, Professor Green served as founding Director of the Office of Genome Ethics at the NIH. He currently serves, pro bono, as the chair of the Ethics Advisory Board of Advanced Cell Technology, a company involved in embryonic stem cell research. He has twice served as Chair of Dartmouth's Religion Department.

From 1987-1992 Green taught business and organizational ethics at Dartmouth's Amos Tuck School of Business. He has consulted on ethics for many organizations, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ogilvy & Mather, Philips Electronics, and the National Security Agency. His book, The Ethical Manager, is still in use in business schools around the world.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Joseph VINE VOICE on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Babies By Design is one of the few books I've encountered that's not overtly biased either in favor of, or against, human genetic enhancement. Professor Green offers a nuanced analysis of these pressing ethical issues, written in a conversational style that draws upon real-world and fictional material and doesn't require a PhD in biochemistry to decipher. If human genetic enhancement is a subject of interest to you, this one is well worth your time.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hande Z on June 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very enjoyable book about the ethics of genetic engineering, a topic that may ensure that the dinner conversation go right past midnight. Ronald Green raises more questions than answers, but he makes it clear where he stands. He is all for the advancement of genetic research that may potentially be used to correct genetic defects and shortcomings. In most of the subjects discussed, he presents all the major views - whether for or against. In the chapter 'Will we create "Genobility"' he discussed John Rawls' 'Theory of Justice' with some absorbing views about it's outdatedness. Lawyers and philosophers will certainly find this chapter fascinating. 'Playing God' draws upon the questions of the religious aversion of man playing the role of his maker. Is the human eye proof of an intelligent or unintelligent design? That is one of the questions discussed here. What fascinated me most about this book is its references to famous books and films of fiction that has genetic manipulation as a central theme - 'Never Let Me Go', Ishiguro; Beggars in Spain', Leisha Camden; 'Dawn', Olivia Butler; 'Gattaca'; 'Island' (latter two are films). The reader must not expect discussions of deep and dense theories of ethics here. That did not seem to be the purpose of the book. It is a book that is wide-ranging in its coverage of genetic activities in the presentday, and by means of examples, indicate the advantages of going with scientific progress. How far should one go, is the ultimate question the reader has to decide for himself. This book will help.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The had the pleasure to attend Professor Green's lecture in Long Island. I read this book as a preparation, First I was a bit ambivalent since he was described as from the department of religious study in Dartmouth. However after reading the book I found him a real scholar and the book was written with substantial depth as well as expansive breadth. He did not shy way from potential controversies, and presented well researched and well thought out arguments. I highly recommend this book.
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