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Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family (Ecco) Paperback – Bargain Price, August 7, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lee M. Silver is professor of molecular biology and public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton Uni-versity, and author of Challenging Nature. He holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University, and he lives with his family in New Jersey and New York.


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Product Details

  • Series: Ecco
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061235199
  • ASIN: B002SB8QIC
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,803,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Justin Curry on July 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book expecting an opinionated book on biotechnology, not sure what stance the author took. Quickly I realized he took the stance of a respectable scientist.What truly made this book great was that he educated people. Usually education will take away the majority of controversy on any subject. Silver clearly demystifies genetic engineering and shows how future situations will become an everyday part of our lives. Topics ranging from how the controversy of abortion is affected by the fact that 75 percent of all fertilized eggs will never be born, to how sensations of pain and thought don't occur because formation on the majority of synapses don't occur until the 25th week. His thorough explanations of how even a clone will be no different then any other person with its own thoughts and opinions, raised in a kind and loving family. Silver clears up misconceptions in science and society. His hypothetical situations gives this science book more pizazz and an insight into the future.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be highly original and very informative. In this book, Lee M. Silver recounts the history (both scientific and social) of reproductive technologies, relating specific cases, speculations, and ramifications. He goes beyond to explain possible technologies that are not yet available, and why these might be important. Such real and imagined technologies include having more than two parents, cloning, and genetic engineering. He goes on to show how a child might have three mothers (genetic, birth, and social) and two fathers (genetic and social), how a child could have more than one genetic mother, how and why someone might want to clone themselves, how genetic engineering might impact future generations or our species as a whole, and other possibilities.
My only qualm with the book was that it seemed somewhat biased in certain respects. He goes on giving scenarios that might occur in which a certain reproductive technology is of some aid. However, I do not think he goes in as much depth when it comes to scenarios in which these technologies will be of great harm.
Overall, I would recommend this book. The author has a lot of interesting and innovating things to say, and one does not need more previous knowledge of biology than is offered in a high school bio course.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With the announcement today of the completion of mapping of the human genome, this book takes on particular importance. The book was published in 1997, and as further evidence of the technological hyperdrive of the 21st century and the incredible advances in sequencing technology since 1997, the author predicts on page 244 that the Human Genome Project would take 23 more years, and be completed by 2020!
The book is excellent, for the author gives brilliant arguments both supporting genetic technologies and countering many that don't. In addition, the author discusses possibilities in reproductive technologies that may be unknown to a reader, like myself, who is not an expert in embryology. For example, he discusses the occurrence (although rare) of natural-born chimeric human beings, who arose from the fusion of two embryos that resulted from the fertilization of two eggs that had been ovulated simultaneously by their mother. Another example discussed is the possibility of a fertilized egg winding up in the peritoneal cavity (in the abdomen essentially). This example was discussed in the context of whether indeed a man could carry a pregnancy.
Some of the other interesting arguments and discussions in the book include: 1. When addressing the assertion that it is unfair for only the wealthy to take advantage of genetic technologies for enhancing their progeny, the author agrees that it is, but he then states correctly that a society that accepts the right of wealthy parents to provide their children with a top-notch private education cannot use "unfairness" as a reason for denying the use of genetic technologies. 2. His discussion of the status of the embryo as human life, which he argues, brilliantly, is not.
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I think the underlying ethos of this book is techno-utopianism. Silver believes science can and will create a new world where the human race will essentially become gods. He does point out some problems like the fact that poor people will not be able to afford these and so the wealthy may end up engineering themselves into a separate race, however nowhere in this book is any doubt that science can accomplish this. Essentially Mr. Silver is a neo-enlightenment thinker, who believes the human race has no limits. I'm a skeptic in that that the more I look back on history, the more I realize that human nature is pretty fixed. People have dreamed of being like gods for centuries, and it hasn't happened. We are developing better treatments for disease, although I think people like Silver and other utopians like Ray Kurzweil (in a different direction) tend to underestimate the extreme complexity of the biological process. They believe that because we can decode the genome, it means we can engineer it. In reality things are so complex that I believe it is hubris to suggest humans can simply do everything. We understand how the sun works, but we cannot create a second solar system. In the end I think there are two sides to Mr. Silver. I am sure he is a deeply intelligent professor, on the other hand he runs away with his science fiction dreams. He simply assumes given enough time we will magically be able to accomplish all this. He ignores an important point that people like Peter Thiel have brought up, which is outside of advances in computing, technology has actually slowed down over the past several decades.
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