Cover image for Cloning the Buddha : the moral impact of biotechnology
Cloning the Buddha : the moral impact of biotechnology
Heinberg, Richard.
Personal Author:
First Quest edition.
Publication Information:
Wheaton, Ill. : Quest Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xx, 265 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library TP248.2 .H445 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



With penetrating common sense, eco-philosopher and journalist Richard Heinberg tackles some of the thorniest ethical questions we face; Are cloning, organ farming, genetic engineering, and other wonders of biotechnology developments morally aware people can support? If biotech research can cure diseases and feed starving people, wouldn't it be morally wrong not to pursue it?

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Heinberg declares that now is the time to ask some tough questions about biotechnology. Those unreservedly in favor of it take a genetic-determinist view of humanity, but they dismiss or overlook any spiritual aspect. Darwinists believe that the causes of organic change lie outside the organism, while Gaian biologists believe that the organism has an inner sense that affects such changes. Heinberg shows how Darwinist and determinist views have colored much of what is currently going on in scientific research and the biotechnological literature. The biotechnologists assert that science must be pursued fully and that this pursuit is in itself not only good but necessary. Heinberg shows that biotechnology is not morally neutral and goes on to question whether something living can be patented, thoroughly examining that basic step. He continues by countering argument for the unhindered pursuit of biotechnology with examples of genetic engineering that have gone wrong or had disturbing side effects. An excellent, thought-provoking book, even if it isn't primarily or only concerned with cloning. --William Beatty

Publisher's Weekly Review

Are humans playing God when they manipulate natural processes to achieve the results they want? Now that scientists can manipulate genetic materials, won't someone eventually use such technology to create a "perfect race"? Would it be desirable to "clone the Buddha," to use biotechnology to create compassionate people? Heinberg (A New Covenant with Nature) examines these and other questions in his survey of morality and biotechnology. He argues that science and morality often have little to do with each other simply because scientists very often lack a spiritual perspective. "The intuition, perception, or belief that other beings have a self and interior experience comparable to one's own is the basis for ethics," the author writes. Heinberg asserts that this inner self is purposeful and an end in itself, and he compares this definition of the inner self to the core experience of the sacred. Moreover, he contends, this inner self is caught in a web of life with other selves whose lives and well-being are dependent on one another. Such interdependence, he says, regards "nature as the ultimate model of economy, cooperation, simplicity, beauty, and purpose." Given such a view of nature, biotechnology is not an avenue for producing a society filled with cooperative and compassionate people. Rather, he says, we can create such a society by "working diligently on our own personal moral refinement, collectively confronting power and its abuses, and creating a nurturing context for our children and grandchildren." For the most part, Heinberg doesn't stray far from ground already covered in conversations about science, morality and religion. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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