The Orthodox bioetics and the recombinant DNA technologies

  1. Lemma
  2. Православната биоетика и рекомбинантните ДНК технологии
  3. Bulgarian
  4. Nachev, Ivaylo
  5. Ethics - Scientific theories and disciplines > Biology - Orthodox view on technology and engineering
  6. 1-11-2013
  7. Спасов, Свилен [Author]. The Orthodox bioetics and the recombinant DNA technologies
  9. recombinant DNA technology - Orthodox spirituality
  10. 2016/12/10
    1. The article analyses a number of challenges stemming from the rapid development of the biotechnologies in parallel to the Orthodox position on these issues. The author noted a number of important technological advances but added the modern society has ceased to think about his own life as a gift from God. Eventually, modern genetic engineering is seen as a clear challenge to theology. Various regulators in the Western world have dealt with issues related with gene engineering commercialization based on the secular ethics but their approach failed to take into account the uniqueness and dignity of each individual human being, according to Spasov. The Orthodox ethics/ bioethics and anthropology naturally became part of this discussion. The Orthodox approach is holistic and examines bioethical issues in their biological, anthropological and ethical aspects.

      The author examined three characteristic for the Orthodox approach relations: science - revelation of God; man as image and likeness of God; man – creation. Spasov claimed that the progress of science in the Early Middle Ages has been driven by conservative and religious scientists, stipulating “the Christianity has not generated the science, but without it there would have not been any modern science at all”. He also examined the Christian conception for an invisible world which is knowable and has its impact on the visible world and related it to the roots of the modern science. So, when the nature is seen as God's creation it is demythologized (unlike in paganism) which prompts its study – a different mental attitude thanks to which the experimental science was born.  

      The Orthodox Church regards man as a psychosomatic unity of body and soul and that is why the conception is seen as an act of great importance. This view, however, cannot accept various procedures in modern biotechnology related with embryo destruction.  Following an outline of the development of DNA technologies, the author noted a number of anxieties, including that during cloning processes might be destroyed thousands of embryos which according to the Orthodox understanding remain human beings. Agreeing that the cloning technology will continue to develop and this can’t and shouldn’t be stopped, the author argued that it must be clearly indicated that the destruction of embryos is unacceptable and the science has to invent new methods to avoid this.

      In conclusion, the author stated that the Orthodox bioethics provides a holistic approach that takes into account historical, biological, ethical and theological aspects and thus it allows the thoughtful consideration of each separate case based on a blend of the theology of the Church fathers, the achievements of modern sciences and the specific historical and cultural context of each individual case.