Acceptable Genes?: Religious Traditions and Genetically Modified Foods

Front Cover
Conrad Brunk, Harold Coward
SUNY Press - Religion - 278 pages
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Modern biotechnology has surpassed science fiction with such feats as putting fish genes in tomatoes to create a more cold-resistant crop. While the environmental and health concerns over such genetically modified foods have been the subject of public debate, religious and spiritual viewpoints have been given short shrift. This book seeks to understand the moral and religious attitudes of groups within pluralistic societies whose traditions and beliefs raise for them unique questions about food and dietary practice. What questions are there for kosher Jews, halal Muslims, and vegetarian Hindus about food products containing transgenes from prohibited sources? How do these foods impact the cultural practices and spiritual teachings of indigenous peoples? Concerns from the above traditions as well as Christianity, Buddhism, Chinese religion, and ethical vegetarianism are included. Contributors look at the ethical context of each tradition and also include information from focus groups. This enlightening work concludes with recommendations for the labeling of genetically modified foods.
 

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Contents

1 Genetics and Genetically Modifi ed Organisms
19
2 Ethical Perspectives on Food Biotechnology
39
3 Does Vegetarianism Preclude Eating GM Foods?
63
Genetic Modifi cation and GM Food in the Jewish Traditions
81
5 Some Christian Refl ectionson GM Food
115
6 Genetically Modifi ed Foods and Muslim Ethics
135
Hindu Attitudes to Genetically Modifi ed Food
159
A Buddhist Perspective
179
Changing Attitudes toward Food in Late Imperial China
197
Why Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Beliefs Matter in the Debate on GM Foods
211
11 Regulatory and Innovation Implications of Religious and Ethical Sensitivities concerning GM Food
231
Contributors
257
Index
263
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About the author

Conrad G. Brunk is Professor of Philosophy and former Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. He is coauthor (with Lawrence Haworth and Brenda Lee) of Value Assumptions in Risk Assessment: A Case Study of the Alachlor Controversy and coeditor (with James O. Young) of The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation.

Harold Coward is Professor Emeritus of History and Founding Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. His many books include The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought and Religion and Peacebuilding (coedited with Gordon S. Smith), both also published by SUNY Press.

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