A year ago, the Women’s Bioethics Project launched a bioethics book club designed to help people understand the direct and profound implications of emerging biotechnologies. Over the past year, we’ve featured popular works of fiction from best selling authors including Jodi Picoult, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood and Michael Crichton to stimulate discussion and reflection.
As is the nature of fiction, these authors have focused on the perils rather than the promise of biotechnology in order to create compelling story lines and adequate narrative tension. Based on feedback from our readers, we are launching a new program featuring a selection of non-fiction works on biotechnology to provide a more balanced perspective.
For our first selection, our panel choose Ronald Bailey’s book “Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution” because it provides an engaging, straight forward, and ethically compelling way for readers to consider the policy implications of decisions to ban or limit access to technological advances.
I spoke with Ron, who is an award-winning journalist, science correspondent for Reason Magazine, a former television producer and author of numerous books on the environment. You can listen to our interview here. It touches on a few of the issues covered in his book, provides an important perspective to consider and will likely provoke controversy (I can already imagine the blog postings from people who prefer that we not ask hard questions and critically examine preconceived notions) but we can’t let ideological bullies stop us from engaging, educating, and empowering people to think and reflect on these critical issues.