By Sean Hughes, Contributing Writer
Jonathan Moreno’s “The Body Politic: The Battle Over Science in America” bridges the academic and popular genres. It is an erudite and sophisticated work, covering a considerable amount of intellectually substantial material in less than two hundred pages of narrative. Moreno’s aim — in which he succeeds — is to provide an historical and philosophical framework to enrich present bioethical debates.
The march of science is a particularly American issue because the notion of progress and belief in science were central to the country’s founding. With the development of the country led by scientifically inclined people such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, it “is fair to say that no nation has ever been founded by people who were more oriented toward the pursuit and propagation of knowledge than the United States.” Indeed, the form of government was itself an experiment. The influence of the founders’ pro-science philosophy can still be seen today in patent laws that allow the patenting of genes, Moreno suggests. Continue reading