The New Atlantis, Spring 2003

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By Adam Keiper and Christine Rosen, Eric Brown

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The New Atlantis, Number 1, Spring 2003

AGELESS BODIES, HAPPY SOULS
by Leon R. Kass
The distinction between “therapy” and “enhancement” is not enough to guide our decisions and our reflection about new biotechnologies.  Leon Kass argues that we need to think more searchingly about what it means to be human if we are to use our new biotechnical powers wisely, and that we must beware the promise of a false perfection.

MILITARY TECHNOLOGY AND AMERICAN CULTURE
by Victor Davis Hanson
While much has been written about the divide between our military and civilian culture, the deeper truth seems to be this: Americans are restless, independent, and technologically-advanced both in peace and in war. Victor Davis Hanson reflects on our character, our weapons, and our changing role in the world.

EDITORIAL: THE NEW POLITICS OF TECHNOLOGY
by Eric Cohen
“Modern liberalism and conservatism (or the Democratic and Republican parties) offer limited guidance for understanding the new politics of technology — both where it stands and where it is heading. Liberals are repulsed by our hubristic exploitation of the environment, but celebrate biotechnical interventions in human life that involve far deeper manipulations of what is natural and sacred. Conservatives sow doubt about the feasibility of embryonic stem cell research, while championing with unabashed confidence grand technological projects like missile defense.”

LIBERTY, PRIVACY, AND DNA DATABASES
by Christine Rosen
There are many good reasons to collect genetic information: to solve and deter crime, to understand and treat dreaded diseases, to improve our understanding of nature and nurture. But as Christine Rosen argues, the coming age of genetic fingerprints and DNA databases may transform our conception of liberty and privacy — not always for the better.

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DOES BIOETHICS HAVE A FUTURE?

THE PARADOX OF CONSERVATIVE BIOETHICS
by Yuval Levin
Bioethics has fast become a high priority for American conservatives. Yuval Levin asks why, and then ponders the paradox of trying to defend taboos in the public square — especially when it comes to the mysterious realms of birth, death, and the human body.

BIOETHICS AND THE CHARACTER OF HUMAN LIFE
by Gilbert Meilaender
Bioethics is concerned with the most significant and puzzling elements of human life: freedom and finitude, suffering and vulnerability, and the relationship between the generations. Gilbert Meilaender explores the wisdom that bioethics seeks and the kinds of questions that a richer bioethics should ask.

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OPTIMISM, PESSIMISM, AND BIOTECHNOLOGY

WHY CONSERVATIVES CARE ABOUT BIOTECHNOLOGY
by Adam Wolfson
What is it about biotechnology and its advances that many conservatives find troubling? Adam Wolfson considers the effects of biotech on our moral ideals, social institutions, and the American project, and asks whether the Right is right to worry.

HUMAN NATURE IS HERE TO STAY
by Larry Arnhart
Both boosters and critics of biotechnology seem certain that it will radically alter human life and human nature. Larry Arnhart argues that both sides are vastly exaggerating, because neither quite understands the biological origins and the moral inclinations of our Darwinian human nature.

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THE FUTURE OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY
by Scott Gottlieb
The most significant revolution in medical technology in recent years has been the marriage of biology and silicon. Scott Gottlieb considers how expanding computer power, increasing knowledge of the human genome, and the transformation of the biotech industry will change the face of medicine.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND HUMAN NATURE
by Charles T. Rubin
Some of the smartest people in artificial intelligence want to make human beings extinct — by replacing the body with an unlimited life of networked intelligence. Charles Rubin takes a critical look at this “extinctionist project” — what it is, what it means, and where it is heading.

THE RISE AND FALL OF SOCIOBIOLOGY
by Peter A. Lawler
Three big pictures of human nature have been hugely influential in recent decades: social constructionism, sociobiology, and biotechnology. Peter A. Lawler examines the relationship between these three efforts to explain or transform human life as we know it — especially the truth and falsehood of sociobiology.

Q&A: Is Cyberspace Secure?
An interview with the White House “cybersecurity czar”
We sit down with Howard A. Schmidt to discuss the administration’s new cybersecurity strategy, and the plans for the Department of Homeland Security to cope with threats to our information infrastructure.

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STATE OF THE ART
A Survey of Technology and Society, by the Editors

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LOOKING AHEAD: Biotechnology by the Numbers
LOOKING BACK: The Double Helix at Fifty