cover image The Body Politic: The Battle over Science in America

The Body Politic: The Battle over Science in America

Jonathan D. Moreno. Bellevue Literary (Consortium, dist.), $18.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-934137-38-3

Bioethicist Moreno, of the University of Pennsylvania, and editor of the Center for American Progress’s Science Progress, offers an important analysis of the societal currents swirling around volatile scientific issues, primarily biotechnology. Leaping into what he calls a “new biopolitics,” implying the interconnection of biology and national political and cultural debate, Moreno brings rare insight to his description of conservative fears about the dangers of biotech, invoking a change from biology as a way of describing life to today’s use of biology to attempt to alter, and commodify, life. Although interested in the philosophical questions raised by modern biology, he wisely uses familiar ethical questions to illustrate the various strands of the debate: on abortion, end-of-life decisions, and stem cell research, among others. Moreno also explores the philosophical underpinnings of Western civilization’s views of science; in a few short pages he discusses Marx, Edmund Burke, Kant, and Heidegger, and how their views inform the debate over modern bioethics. Moreno delivers a powerful defense of science and an equally powerful indictment of those conservatives who have a fundamental quarrel with biotechnology. Moreno respects his readers’ intelligence in this nuanced and thoughtful book. (Oct.)