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After the Genome

A Language for Our Biotechnological Future

Michael J. Hyde

Publication Year: 2013

Biotechnological advancements during the last half-century have forced humanity to come to grips with the possibility of a post-human future. The ever-evolving opinions about how society should anticipate this biotechnological frontier demand a language that will describe our new future and discuss its ethics. After the Genome brings together expert voices from the realms of ethics, rhetoric, religion, and science to help lead complex conversations about end-of-life care, the relationship between sin and medicine, and the protection of human rights in a post-human world. With chapters on the past and future of the science-warfare narrative, the rhetoric of care and its effect on those suffering, black rhetoric and biotechnology, planning for the end of life, regenerative medicine, and more, After the Genome yields great insight into the human condition and moves us forward toward a genuinely humane approach to who we are and who we are becoming.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Series: Studies in Rhetoric and Religion


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p. 1-1

Series Page, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Editors’ Introduction: A Language for Our Biotechnological Future: Rhetoric, Religion, Science, and Ethics

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pp. 1-10

The rapidity with which biotechnological advances appear and make their way into our lives is changing not just the ways we experience life, but also how we understand ourselves. Many of these same technologies promise, or perhaps threaten, to change the nature of what it means to be human. in its 2003 report titled...

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1. Faith in Science: Professional and Public Discourse on Regenerative Medicine

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pp. 11-40

Despite public and media fascination with the concept of regenerative medicine, it is essential that its progress from bench to bedside proceed methodically, with care and circumspection. Five scientific strategies for regenerative medicine are described and discussed in the first part of this chapter. The second part considers two issues. One issue is whether the implications of...

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2. From Arrowsmith to Atwood: How Did We Cometo Disrespect Science?

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pp. 41-54

A ragged fourteen-year-old girl who has just buried her mother drives the wagon. in the back lie her fevered father and her younger brothers and sisters. The father urges her to head to Cincinnati, where they have a relative who might take them in, but the girl replies, “nobody ain’t going to take us in. We’re going on jus’ long as we can. Going West! They’s a whole lot of new things i aim to be seeing!” This resolute young woman is the...

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3. The “Warfare” of Science and Religion and Science’s Ethical Profile

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pp. 55-72

As science grows so also does its public responsibility, but some habits of communication that foster its advancement also diminish its ability to rise to this challenge—of addressing the ethical pressures that science and technology bring upon our world. My aim is to put this problem in historical perspective. i mean to argue two points: first, that scientists often manifest...

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4. Is There a Human Nature? An Argument Against Modern Excarnation

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pp. 73-82

Utopian dreams die hard, this despite the brutal debacles of the twentieth century, undertaken in the sure and certain promise that an earthly utopian order was available to us if we were dedicated and ruthless enough to do what was necessary to achieve it. The totalitarian impulse lies behind utopian visions—this impulse does not exhaust what utopian dreams are all...

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5. Crossing Frontiers of Science: Trespassing into a Godless Space or Fulfilling Our Manifest Destiny?

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pp. 83-98

in their introductory essay, the editors of this volume turn our attention to the way President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics characterized a conflict between science and religion, with the pioneers of biotechnology pushing limits to cross thresholds, while a religiously oriented ethics constrains the Promethean project by asking us to appreciate the giftedness...

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6. The Angels and Devils of Representing Prozac

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pp. 99-122

For a period of three years my wife and i had what is usually referred to as a “long-distance relationship.” My wife began a neurology residency at the University of California, San Diego, just as i began a tenure-track position at northwestern University in Chicago. Those familiar with the life of a resident will understand that the burden of travel for those three years fell...

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7. “Leave your Medicine Outside”: Bioethics, Spirituality, and the Rhetoric of Appalachian Serpent Handlers

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pp. 123-138

So Fred Brown and Jeanne McDonald describe a dramatic moment in the annals of American serpent handlers, that small, theologically rarefied, and widely studied Appalachian Pentecostal-Holiness sect. The family saga continued when, barely three years later, Punkin Brown himself was dead, collapsing midsermon after being caught by the fangs of another rattler, dying...

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8. Biovaluable Stories and a narrative Ethics of Reconfigurable Bodies

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pp. 139-156

The dream is very old. The ancient historian Thucydides describes the curious effect that plague in Athens had on those who survived it. They realized they were now immune, unlikely to contract the disease again, and if they did, unlikely to die. These people then generalized that sense of immunity. Thucydides writes, “They themselves were so elated at the time of their...

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9. Blacks and the Language of Their Biotechnological Future

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pp. 157-176

in their introduction to this volume, the thoughtful editors suggest a definition that has biotechnology promising to renew damaged organs, restore lost vision or mobility, and extend life itself. So on its face, the promise stands for an almost majestically positive article of faith about what the future will hold. And yes, there is something religious sounding about the...

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10. Bioethics, Economism, and the Rhetoric of Technological Innovation

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pp. 177-192

The topic of this volume, “A Language for Our Biotechnological Future,” invites us to explore the rhetorical system within which biomedical technology is depicted, and to reflect upon what the rhetoric reveals about ourselves and our society. However, we do not talk about biotechnology in a vacuum. Other discourses are already in place and shape the way we think about both...

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11. Technologies of the Self at the End of Life: Pastoral Power and the Rhetoric of Advance Care Planning

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pp. 193-218

Following the Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA) of 1990, health care providers and advocacy groups stepped up their efforts to persuade Americans to specify their end-of-life treatment preferences through advance health care plans before the onset of incapacitating illness.1 nearly thirty years later, in the midst of a protracted debate about his proposed health...

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12. Suffering and the Rhetoric of Care

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pp. 219-234

Writing in the 1950s, biologist Jean Rostand (1894–1977) imagined an experimentally produced homo biologicus who might say of himself the following:
i am the product of carefully selected semen irradiated with neutrons; my sex was predetermined and i was incubated by a mother who was not mine; i was given injections of hormones and DnA during gestation, and...


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pp. 235-282


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pp. 283-316


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pp. 317-320


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pp. 321-334

E-ISBN-13: 9781602586871
E-ISBN-10: 160258687X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602586857
Print-ISBN-10: 1602586853

Page Count: 331
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1
Series Title: Studies in Rhetoric and Religion