God, Science, and Designer Genes
Alvernia duo Spencer Stober, Ph.D.
, and Donna Yarri Ph.D.
, discussed their new book, God, Science, and Designer Genes: An Exploration of Emerging Technologies as part of the 2009 Literary Festival—Life Between the Pages—to a packed crowd today.
“The Human Genome Project left a mountain of data that scientists are now trying to make sense of,” said Stober, a biology professor at the University. “And as we begin to use this information in medical technology, we need to be mindful that what we can
do isn’t necessarily the right
thing to do.”
For the last five years, Yarri, a theology professor, and Stober, a biology professor, have been meeting along the boundary lines between God and Science to discuss the technology and implications behind designer genes. They’ve brought their discussion into lecture halls, conferences, and even the classroom—in a co-taught Alvernia honors course that carries the same name as the book.
Stober and Yarri even wear baseball caps, labeled “BIOLOGY” and “THEOLOGY” in lectures, to help participants remember that the professors are speaking solely from the perspective of their chosen disciplines. “It often helps people to see that differing opinions have more than just feelings attached to them,” said Stober.
“Also, it’s hard to get ethicists and theologians to understand the science, but I don’t have to do that,” explained Yarri. “I can work with Spence to relay the technical information, and be free to look at the subject from a humanitarian perspective.”
God, Science, and Designer Genes provides a unique approach to studying hot topics such as genetic testing, embryo splitting, and cloning. “We can each look at the subject from our particular disciplines,” said Yarri, “and though we don’t always agree, the important thing is that a dialogue forms, and we can begin to find a common ground to start from.”
The well-anticipated book is now available online through Greenwood Publishing