View by:  Subject  Theme  Question  Term  Person  Event

Genetics and Suffering - Introduction

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick cracked the genetic code, and out tumbled A’s, T’s, G’s, and C’s in three-dimensional array. Over forty-five years later, we are dealing with the questions raised by this new genetic science and the unforeseen manipulative power it has placed in human hands. Not only do we now understand the makeup of our biology, we are on the horizon of being able to alter our biology as we see fit—whether for medical, agricultural, or economic reasons.

We are not simply facing technological aspects of genetic science, however. Our genetic code is indicted as the source of suffering for millions of individuals inflicted by genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs, Cystic Fibrosis, or even learning disabilities. Suffering from disease, indeed, suffering of any sort, has always challenged the Judeo-Christian faiths, which profess believe in a God who as all-good and all-powerful. If such a God truly exists, many ask, then how can this suffering continue?

Genetic science, however, has added a twist to the age-old question of suffering. Now the possibility exists that suffering, at least that suffering inflicted by genes gone awry, can be remedied with human hands—by changing the genetic makeup of an individual. Christians now have a two-fold question raised by genetic technology:   If God is truly all-good and all-powerful, how can we explain the presence of suffering from genetic disease? And, the new question, what course of action should we take in light of the possibilities of genetic technology? Does this technology promise to eradicate suffering? Could gene therapies be a type of redemption?   Science, suffering, genetics, evil—how do these intertwine with one another and in our lives as human beings? On October 17, 1998, one hundred people gathered in a small auditorium to discuss these things in a conference entitled Science & Suffering: Genetics and the Problem of Evil.  

Topic Sets Available

AAAS Report on Stem-Cells

AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
Theology and Science: Current Issues and Future Directions
Unscientific America: How science illiteracy threatens our future
Will ET End Religion?

Current Stats: topics: >2600, links: >300,000, video: 200 hours.