22 October 2011

Science & Tech declare man the 'New gods' - "Potential for evil is obvious"

University professor believes Christians have an important role to play in ensuring science and technology are used for good, not evil
Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 14:23 (BST)
Greater consideration must be given to ethics and God as science and technology stride into ever more uncharted territory and society moves further away from a Christian understanding of human identity, says one of Europe’s leading neonatologists.
In a talk sponsored by CARE last night, Professor John Wyatt painted a picture of a world in which the once unthinkable is perhaps just around the corner, as scientists work on things like ‘cures’ for ageing, drugs to suppress unpleasant memories, and all kinds of ‘human enhancement’.
While the huge scientific advances of the last century and particularly the last few decades have prompted some to declare man the new gods, Professor Wyatt warned that the “potential for evil is obvious” as ethical lines are blurred and technology opens up new possibilities for the manipulation of the body and mind.
Among the trends unnerving the University College London professor are the selective killing of female foetuses and infants in parts of the world, and ‘reproductive tourism’, by which wealthy Westerners use women in developing countries as surrogate mothers – a practice he described as “rent a womb”.
“Whenever you hear people talking about control of nature just beware of it turning out to be the strong abusing the weak,” he said.
He pointed to the ongoing debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide as a reflection of the changing way in which people are viewing the human body.
He argued that as the human body is increasingly valued as a machine, rather than a sacred creation of God, euthanasia is being increasingly embraced as the answer to a “body that is a failed machine”.
“When this was being debated 15 years ago, the arguments were about pain and diseases like cancer. Now the arguments are not about pain but about control and autonomy,” he said.
“[It is] machine thinking coupled with the centrality of autonomy.”
Professor Wyatt said that a Christian response to the “startling and confusing possibilities” offered by medical research had to start with an understanding of the moral order infused in creation by the creator God.

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