Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nanotechnology and Religion

A piece in the NYT Technology section on the lack of comment by religious leaders on nanotechnology. The author is responding to a paper in Nature by a researcher (at USC in Columbia, incidentally), on this topic.

God and Small Things - Bits - Technology - New York Times Blog

I think the column nails it pretty clearly:
It's a curious argument. Religious leaders who have expressed qualms about practices like cloning animals have not objected to using genetic engineering on bacteria to make better drugs. Why would they be any less discerning about the differences between narrow applications of nanotechnology and those with more sweeping implications about the very nature of life? The lack of religious comment to date may not represent nano-ignorance so much as unwillingness to see any spiritual problem with re-engineering the molecular structure of textiles to improve stain resistance.

3 comments:

Zadok the Roman said...

I suppose the question is whether we have qualms about cloning per se or when cloning technology is used in such a way that it tampers with human life. Is animal-cloning or the modification of bacteria objectionable from a Catholic point of view?

Gashwin said...

That's a good question: I don't know the answer. My thought has been the instinct is to not tamper with human life. I don't suppose this gives us license to do absolutely anything with animals or bacteria. Where the line is I don't know, I haven't thought about this enough, nor am I familiar with any

Gashwin said...

[whoops] authoritative statements from the Church on this.