An Analysis in Religious Perspectives on Emerging STI

Ang Kean Hua

Abstract


New biomedical technologies are used nowadays everywhere in the world, and thus in countries of different cultural and religious backgrounds. They constitute emerging technologies and promise a wide variety of benefits for humanity. They also caused much legal and theological debate. While some forms of its application were prohibited in the beginning, they have now started to be used in many countries. Application of these new methods of research and treatment in modern medicine makes new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions possible, but also often raises new complex bioethical problems, which cannot be discussed and judged independently of cultural attitudes. Recent advances in the field of cloning and stem cell research have introduced new hope for treatment of serious diseases. But this promise has been accompanied by enormous questions. Currently, cloning is a matter of public discussion. It is rare that a field of science causes debate and challenge not only among scientists but also among ethicists, religious scholars, governments and politicians. One important concern is religious arguments. Various religions have different attitudes toward the morality of these subjects; even within a particular religious tradition there is a diversity of opinions. This article briefly reviews Islamic perspectives on emerging technologies such particularly biotechnology (reproductive/ therapeutic cloning, stem cell research, genetically modified food). The discussions throughout the paper demonstrate that while some ethicists and religious scholars argue that some emerging technologies are unethical in the Islamic tradition, tradition permits them as long as such research are aimed at improving human health.
Keywords: Emerging Science; Reproductive Cloning; Embryo Research; Ethics; Stem Cell Research

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