Wednesday’s Words of Worry

Wednesday, 28 May, 2008

Some classic words this week from Paul Ramsey, who is often quoted in theological bioethics. He famously writes:

“Men ought not to play God before they learn to be men, and after they learn to be men they will not play God” — Paul Ramsey, Fabricated Man: The Ethics of Genetic Control (New Haven: Yale, 1970), p138.

This, of course, requires us to view playing God as wrong. In fact, it also requires us to believe in a God at all. To illustrate this last point, why don’t I quote a fellow atheist on this topic:

“If we don’t play God, who will?” – James Watson

The theological interpretations of “playin’ God” are too numerous to go into here (although I would like to point out that some translations of Ephesians 5:1 command that humans “imitate God”), and it is sufficient to realise that a legal restriction on such technologies for such a theological reason would likely violate the church-state separation which is fortunately present in the constitution of most Western nations.

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