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Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution
by Ronald Bailey

Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2005

The defining political conflict of the twenty-first century will be the battle over life and death. On one side stand the partisans of morality, who counsel humanity to quietly accept our morbid fate and go gently into that good night. On the other is the party of life, who rage against the dying of the light and yearn to extend the enjoyment of healthy life to as many as possible for as long as possible. This conflict is brewing because rapid progress in biology and biotechnology will utterly transform human life. What was once the staff of science fiction may now be written reach in the not-too-distant future: twenty-to-forty-year leaps in average life spans, enhanced human bodies, drugs and therapies to boost memory and speed up mental processing, and a genetic science that allows parents to ensure that their children will have stronger immune systems, more athletic bodies, and cleverer brains. Even the prospect of human immortality beckons.

Such scenarios excite many people and frighten or appall many others. Already biotechnology opponents are organizing political movements aimed at restricting scientific research, banning the development and commercialization of various products and technologies, and limiting citizens' access to the fruits of the biotech revolution.

In this insightful, forward-looking volume, Ronald Bailey, science writer for Reason magazine, argues that the coming biotechnology revolution, far from endangering human dignity, will liberate human beings to achieve their full potentials by enabling more of us to live flourishing lives free of disease, disability, and the threat of early death. Bailey covers the complete range of the coming biogenetic breakthroughs, from stem cell research to third world farming, from brain-enhancing neuropharmaceuticals to designer babies. Against critics of these trends, who forecast the nightmare society of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Bailey persuasively explains why the health, safety, and ethical concerns raised by worried citizens and policymakers are misplaced and outlines a hopeful future in which humanity will be able to thrive.

Liberation Biology makes a positive, optimistic, and convincing case that bio-research and the powerful technologies it engenders should be encouraged and embraced, not feared and resisted, for it is a revolution that will improve our lives and the future of our children, while preserving and enhancing the natural environment.

Ronald Bailey is an award-winning science journalist, the science correspondent for Reason magazine, a former television producer, the editor of Earth Report 2000, and the author of Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of the Apocalypse. His work has appeared in The Best Science and Nature Writing 2004, the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, National Review, Forbes, and many other publications.

 

 
   
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