Bioethics and Population, by Michel Schooyans; translated by J.H. Miller (Catholic Central Union of America, 112 pp.; $10, paper); Power over Life, by Michel Schooyans; translated by J.H. Miller (Catholic Central Union of America, 75 pp.; $8, paper). Reviewed by J. Daryl Charles, assistant professor of religion and philosophy at Taylor University and author of Virtue Amidst Vice: The Catalog of Virtues in 2 Peter 1 (Sheffield Academic Press).
Reading these two volumes is akin to reading Solzhenitsyn-except with a bioethical twist. The author, a professor emeritus of political and moral philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain and member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, observes in both works how utterly undemocratic are the considerable achievements in the fields of human reproduction and biomedical science. The ambiguous relationship that exists between science and political power-what the author call "biopolitics"-does not, in his view, bode well for Western democracy. This relationship, which has already left its hideous mark on the present century, raises questions of momentous import as we approach the third millennium.
In his assessment of surging biomedical and biotechnological developments, the author is unsparing in his critique of the tendency to subordinate truth to personal freedom. This subordination can be seen in the triumph of committees of ethics, where procedure, not universally binding moral principles, dictates. Without reference to a transcendent good to be preserved, or an evil to be avoided, there remains no common morality that binds together the tissue of the human community. All the significant social movements since the nineteenth century have shared a common feature: they have ...1
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