Genetic Turning Points: The Ethics of Human Genetic Intervention
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Genetic Turning Points: The Ethics of Human Genetic Intervention  -     By: James C. Peterson
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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2001 / Paperback

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Genetic Turning Points: The Ethics of Human Genetic Intervention

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2001 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW49202

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Human genetic intervention could be considered a microcosm of the larger field of bioethics. According to James Peterson, "it raises almost all the basic issues addressed in a standard bioethics course, from informed consent to the goals of medicine." Peterson argues that it is imperative to view human genetic intervention from an ethical framework, particularly as the technology in that intervention advances at an exponential rate.

Peterson's goal in Genetic Turning Points was to tie together some of the various questions related to human genetic intervention (better known, perhaps, as genetic manipulation or genetic engineering). He begins with a look at medical technology and moves on to major issues including genetic research, genetic testing, genetic drugs, and genetic surgery (physical manipulation of human genes in the body). The issues are raised in a progressive approach. Genetic research is the foundation for genetic testing and genetic drugs, thus issues related to genetic research are looked at first, and then issues related to genetic testing and drugs. Since genetic surgery techniques are still being perfected, and are not as available as the other technologies, Peterson looks at this vital issue last.

Christians, according to LeRoy Waters, have tended to view human genetics from one of two positions (not usually both): cosmic theology and casuistic analysis. Cosmic theology simply means looking at the grand scheme of God's plan for humanity; casuistic analysis is that which addresses the questions of practice. Peterson hopes to bring the two positions together in a cogent and effective manner. He feels that one's understanding of God's plan for humanity (our purpose) shapes the concrete decisions of life (the practice). Ideally, Christians should be aware of both how purpose shapes practice and how practice questions purpose. Thus, Peterson sees the medical and ethical issues as eminently practical, but defined and shaped by one's metaphysical beliefs.

Genetic Turning Points is laid out in a progressive manner, but topics can stand on their own. Chapters are generally short and the indexes and cross-references allow one to find a particular topic quickly and easily. Since there are fifteen chapters, the book easily lends itself to undergraduate or postgraduate study (one chapter a week), but is not solely for students. It is also for professionals (doctors, clergy, etc.) and for educated lay people. Its information is timely and its answers practical and relevant.

Product Information

Title: Genetic Turning Points: The Ethics of Human Genetic Intervention
By: James C. Peterson
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 360
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2001
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
Weight: 1 pound 2 ounces
ISBN: 0802849202
ISBN-13: 9780802849205
Stock No: WW49202

Publisher's Description

This timely volume clearly lays out the central ethical questions raised by today's rapid advances in biotechnology. James Peterson sorts through the maze of clinical decisions occasioned by human genetic intervention, organizing the range of moral considerations that now face us and exploring their practical impact on individuals, families, and communities.

Author Bio

James C. Peterson is the Schumann Professor and Director of the Center for Religion & Society at Roanoke College and professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. Read more about Peterson on the Roanoke College and McMaster University websites.

Editorial Reviews

Jose A. Bufill, M.D.
"In Genetic Turning Points James Peterson contributes a clear, courageous voice to the ongoing debate. He offers a comprehensive overview of how genetics is already challenging traditional notions of individuality, family, and community, and he responds by drawing from the wellspring of Christian inspiration. "

George C. Barrett, M.D.
"Peterson's book is an excellent resource for those who counsel patients or guardians regarding testing or therapy decisions."

Alister E. McGrath
"This highly stimulating, well-argued, and richly documented work will be warmly welcomed by all engaged in this important field of discussion. An essential resource for religious perspectives on the major new debates concerning the ethics of genetic modification, Genetic Turning Points deserves to be widely read."

James F. Childress
"James Peterson has performed a valuable public service with his clear, well-informed, and instructive theological and ethical reflection on applied human genetics, including genetic interventions. This book should be widely read and pondered. "
William R. Shea
"Genetic Turning Points is an outstanding study of the problem of genetic engineering and related ethical issues. It addresses difficult and sometimes technical matters in a style that is both clear and scholarly, and it provides valuable insights into issues that are being thrust to the fore by scientific progress. Genes store the directions for all life on earth. If you want to know where we might be going, read this book. It is a road map that can save you from many ill-fated journeys."

Hessel Bouma III
"A remarkably profound, insightful, sensitive, lucid, and helpful book."

John Jefferson Davis
"Highly recommended for anyone who wants to be well informed in this vital area of modern culture."

Health Progress
"James C. Peterson has written an easily accessible, highly informative book concerning the ethical issues raised by the ongoing revolution in genetic knowledge. . . This is a useful book that will provide a general background for non-specialists and raise for discussion a wide range of issues that deserve attention in the church and among the general public. It is a fine place to start."

"This is a wide-ranging introduction to the ethical issues raised by genetic science, and has the great virtue of being genuinely accessible to those with no significant knowledge of genetics, or indeed theology. . . Peppered with telling illustrations and useful analogies, this book is infused with both a deep awareness of the real world contexts in which issues are addressed and a genuine compassion for the difficult decisions that have to be made. . . This is not the work of an armchair ethicist, but one deeply informed by individual encounters and the hands-on business of hospital ethics committees — it deserves to be widely read."

Theological Studies
"Along with its breadth, scope, and organization, the work is particularly helpful in clarifying issues. . . Peterson's writing betrays a fair tolerance that allows the reader the chance to understand accurately the varied stances at play in any debate. With considerable detachment he presents, for instance, the differing arguments about personhood and embryonic and fetal development. An ideal textbook for both graduate and undergraduate course work."

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