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Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution Hardcover – January 1, 2005
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"...neither minces words nor shrinks from a good rumble,...that is what makes Liberation Biology so engaging and powerful." -- Greg Stock, author of Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future.
"...provides the closely reasoned analysis that,...ought to guide public policy with respect to biotechnology an bioengineering." -- Arthur Caplan, The Emanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics, Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Director, Center for Bioethics University of Pennsylvania
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Top Customer Reviews
Bailey insists that the technological manipulation of nature to satisfy human desires has been part of human life at least since the development of civilization based on agriculture. Using biotechnology to enhance human nature--to promote our physical and mental health and to extend our life span--is a continuation of this ancient human effort to conquer nature by articial means.
Although he recognizes the need for some legal regulation to secure the safety and efficacy of biotech products and to protect against force and fraud, Bailey prefers to leave adults free to decide for themselves (and their children) whether to employ biotechnology to enhance life. People will make mistakes. But they will learn by trial and error what uses of biotech are desirable and what not. Some people will decide to avoid such biotech advancements--following in the tradition of the Amish and other groups that choose to restrict their reliance on technology.
In arguing for this libertarian position, Bailey attacks both the bioconservatives (such as Francis Fukuyama and Leon Kass) and the Leftist bioluddites (such as Jeremy Rifkin and Bill McKibben).
I find Bailey's reasoning generally persuasive, although I think that at some points he exaggerates the power of biotech for changing human nature. He appeals to the natural human desires as the moral motivation for biotech--for example, the natural desire of parents to care for the health and happiness of their children.Read more ›
Bailey is a writer for Reason magazine and a libertarian, so it's choice and freedom that drives his moral arguments. I have a hard time disagreeing with him when it comes to the blatantly paternalistic arguments that he deals with from biotechnology critics like Fukuyama and McKibben. (McKibben's arguments that genetic selection will turn kids into products and not people are particularly awful, although this may be in how Bailey presents them I suppose). The critics can romanticize suffering, death, and ignorance all they want, but I'd rather improve my chances of choosing where and how I die.
Bailey has more trouble in other areas - although he very effectively deals with concerns over GM food safety, as a libertarian he's far too inclined to believe that corporations won't misbehave when they get a good deal of control (as in the case of biotech crops - they've obviously helped, but farmers being dependent on one or two companies for their food supply unsettles me).
The book's biggest issue is the format, however. This is adapted from web essays, and it shows - the topics are disjointed, and the chapters are an odd mess of a tour of current technology and batches of moral arguments.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bunch of junk Koch Brothers Monsanto propaganda.
For more than 5,000 years human civilization has done far too well nutritionally, with conventional agriculture thank... Read more
It's easy to tell humans that they are amazing angels and gods, who have every right to transform all other life, and the planet itself, into whatever humans believe will benefit... Read morePublished on September 1, 2012 by John Stevens