Challenging Nature: The Clash of Science and Spirituality at the New Frontiers of Life

Lee M. Silver, Author . Ecco $25.95 (444p) ISBN 978-0-06-058267-8

Silver, a molecular biologist at Princeton, examines new dimensions of the contentious debate between science and religion over cloning and other biotechnologies, and brings fresh insights to it. Many Western religious people believe biotechnology is an attempt to play God and that human clones would be created not in God's image but in the image of humankind. Such arguments rest on the nature of humanity, and Silver points out that the only characteristic that makes us human is not that we have a soul but that we have human parents. Silver also explores the debate over genetically modified foods and synthetic crops. He argues that the organic and natural foods movements make their case on spiritual grounds, imbuing Mother Nature with a spiritual force equal to the force of the Christian God. Silver points out, however, that Mother Nature is a violent, not a benevolent, deity, and can cause more disasters than the making of synthetic foods ever will. Finally, Silver points out that biotechnology presents little problem for Eastern religions that believe in reincarnation. In the words of one Buddhist scientist, therapeutic cloning "restarts the cycle of life." Silver's provocative ideas and his graceful prose open new avenues for discussion of the challenges that face science and spirituality. (June 1)

Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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Paperback - 444 pages - 978-0-06-058268-5
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