The Intervention Of Biotechnology On Life Takes Two Forms Of Therapy And Enhancement

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The intervention of biotechnology in life takes two forms of therapy and enhancement. Andrew Lustig, author of the article Enhancement Technologies and the Person: Christian Perspectives, defines both accordingly, saying that “therapy is generally defined as the prevention or cure of disease, or as the restoration or approximation of return to normal physiological function. Enhancement is defined as the alteration of individual (or group) characteristics, traits, and abilities (both health- and non-health-related) beyond a measurable baseline of normal function” (41). Therapy is focused on restoration of our integrity while assisting natural physiology, whereas enhancement is focused on alteration of our physiology. For example, say a…show more content…
Deliberating further about the distinction between enhancements and therapy, the theological ethicist Richard Niebuhr outlines categories that describe how Christians have related to the culture at various times in history with regards to his book Christ in Culture (Chesire 77). After examining each of the five categories and contrasting them with Catholic moral theology and Catholic teaching, I believe the category “Christ against enhancement” is the most accurate, which Niebuhr explains in that “the radical Christian regards culture as deeply corrupted by original sin. Within this perspective, biomedical enhancements, being part of culture, work to transmit the destructive effects of sin and have the potential to magnify human depravity” (qtd. in Chesire 77). Therefore, technology associated with bioenhancements that magnifies the corruption of human morality is part of that culture. I think the “Christ against enhancement” is accurate to what the Church would believe because it is comprehensible with Catholic moral theology. Although, the Church is accepting of therapy due to its purely medical purpose. In therapy, as Pope Benedict XVI put it in his pre-papacy Instruction on Respect for Human Life, “applied biology and medicine work together for the integral good of human life [and] come to the aid of a person stricken by illness…respect[ing] his or her dignity as a creature of God” (7). This distinction between what is
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