Within three months of the birth of Dolly the sheep – the first mammal ever cloned – every country in the world had introduced legislation to ban the cloning of human beings. This was reasonable. It took 277 attempts to create Dolly: the technology worked but it wasn’t very efficient. Obviously using that technology with human beings would be wrong.
But what will happen when we perfect the technology? Will all this legislation be repealed? If not why not?
We love to thrill to horror stories about human clones. But are such stories justified? Might we really produce armies of clones all willing to do our bidding? Will clones be naturally malevolent? Or could cloning just be another reproductive technique that could be used to help the less than fertile have a much wanted child?
This is an issue in Bioethics. Bioethics studies the actions that are made possible by biotechnology. We can clone humans now (in principle) but should we? We can genetically modify plants and animals, but should we? We can transplant animal organs into humans, but should we?
I wrote my book to help anyone with an interest in such problems to understand these important ethical and social issues. The book will help its readers:
- understand the key issues in bioethics and the different positions people take on them;
- appreciate the arguments for and against the differing positions;
- discuss the issues with confidence;
- think productively about the issues that might arise in the future;
- come to their own considered positions on various issues, understanding the arguments for and against those positions.
This book was commissioned by Cambridge University Press. It was a follow on from the online short course on bioethics that I wrote for the University of Oxford. It was hugely informed by the bioethics classes I gave to the doctoral students at the EPSRC-funded Centres for Doctoral Training at Oxford and at Imperial College, London.
Here is what Bill from Chicago said about the book on Amazon:
“Throughout the book there are case studies providing real-world examples of the topics under discussion as well as activities to encourage deeper thinking and to enhance analytical skills regarding the matters discussed. Lastly, the author provides lists of further reading resources and useful websites at the end of each chapter. I highly recommend this very readable and most informative text.”
You can learn more about my Bioethics: An Introduction, and buy it here