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Science & the Human Person

Rapid advances in science and technology are raising fundamental questions about human life, flourishing, suffering, and death. The Science and the Human Person working group advances a global, interreligious and intercultural conversation about science, ethics, and the human future. Its activities will foster collaboration among secular scientific communities and the world’s two largest faith traditions, Islam and Catholicism, along with other secular and religious voices.


Several years ago I attended a workshop in Switzerland where scholars from several European countries, as well as religious representatives from Niger and the Middle East, discussed issues relating to assisted reproductive technologies. I remember one particular exchange vividly. I wanted to inquire as to the opinion of the Chief Judge (Qadi) of a major Middle Eastern City on the issue of heterologous insemination. Read the full article »

A response to Damian Howard, SJ


As I read Damian Howard’s comments in his recent blog entry, I started to engage in my own self-critical assessment. In my previous blog entry I may have given the impression of being a thoroughgoing supporter of rationalism in order to provoke Muslim exclusivist legal-juridical discourse to consider a more universalist, text-based argument that suggests a default secularity of Islamic religious thought.Read the full article »


I am very grateful indeed to have been able to take the time over the summer to read two of Professor Abdulaziz Sachedina’s books: Islamic Biomedical Ethics: Principles and Application, and Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights. Sachedina’s work generates a number of questions, and suggests possibilities for deeper dialogue and engagement between Muslims and Christians on moral matters. Read the full article »


Religious traditions can and should provide resources for challenging the extremes of liberal individualism and exposing the religions of science and the market at work in constructing and mediating choices—all kinds of choices—about the development, use, and distribution of biotechnologies.Read the full article »


Camosy and Hamdy both offer us food for thought in regard to the specific cases they present, as well as to the wider concerns of the Science and the Human Person project and its question: “What is the human person?” Read the full article »


In post-Enlightenment secular bioethics, the default value has become the autonomy and choice of the individual. But Christian and Muslims traditions are, of course, skeptical of this shift. Unless we critically examine the social context and structures which shape and even coerce our “autonomous” and “free” choice, we cannot hope to adequately engage bioethical issues. Read the full article »

Reframing Islamic bioethics


Whether secular or religious, it is clear that bioethics needs to be reframed, and can only go forward by incorporating multiple voices from different scholarly disciplines, fields of expertise, and different strata of social life. Bioethics needs to look beyond the cutting-edge life-or-death scenarios and speak to the everyday inequalities of politically mismanaged and economically vanquished societies. Read the full article »