Christine Rosen

in Preaching Eugenics

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156799
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835218 | DOI:

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This conclusion summarizes the key arguments of the book, including the many assumptions it challenges about the history of eugenics and the history of American religious leaders in the early half of the 20th century. It is clear that American religious leaders embraced eugenics when they departed from the traditional tenets of their faith, and that they did so in an effort to find new methods of social reform to suit a time of often-bewildering social and cultural change. This chapter also ties the history of eugenics to current debates in bioethics, revealing the continuities and discontinuities in hereditarian thinking from the previous century into the present. It is argued that the peculiar history of eugenics in the United States in the early-to-mid 20th century has fundamentally shaped the way genetic technologies is discussed in the twenty-first century. An understanding of that history — particularly the history of the ethical and theological debates that occurred — is necessary as we enter a new era of genetic science.

Keywords: religion and science; eugenic family studies; bioethics; ethics; genetics; reproductive technologies; Preimplantation genetic diagnosis; sex selection

Chapter.  2638 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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