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Muslim Bioethics

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A Beginner’s Guide to Muslim Bioethics

By Brandon Keim March 04, 2008 | 1:26:15 PMCategories: Bioethics, Biotechnology, Religion

When Sunni and Shiite scholars disagreed over the ethics of cloning animals, I wondered whether there were other bioethical conflicts in the Muslim world.

Are Muslims split over stem cell research and genetically engineered crops? Generally speaking, do they approach biotechnologies in the same way — or variety of ways — as Western cultures?

I posed the question to a handful of Muslim bioethicists. The first to respond was Brown University anthropologist Sherine Hamdy. Wrote Hamdy,

I think it would be easy and reductionist to make this into yet another ‘Shiite vs. Sunni’ issue, but there has always been a wide space of interpretation and widely debate even within the Sunni Muslim world about various biotechnologies including cloning. Most religious sources say that if a given technology, e.g. cloning is for beneficial purposes and the good outweighs the negative (if there is potential for human cures, etc.) then it is permissible, others have cautioned about the potential danger of creating a ‘super race’ of people, animals….so most of the disagreement is actually about the understanding of the technology itself and what impact it might have.

Would it be a bit too easy and reductionist, I asked, to then say that Muslims are less inclined to take an absolutist position and instead base their judgments by weighing the risks and benefits of each case?

You can read the entire article, and related articles, HERE

March 7, 2008 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Experiment, News, Social Issues, Technical Issue | 2 Comments

Google Banned From Military Bases

News from BBC

Google Banned From Military Bases
Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 05:45 GMT

There are concerns that detailed maps may threaten security

The US defence department has banned the giant internet search engine Google from filming inside and making detailed studies of US military bases.

Close-up, ground-level imagery of US military sites posed a “potential threat” to security, it said.

The move follows the discovery of images of the Fort Sam Houston army base in Texas on Google Maps.

A Google spokesman said that where the US military had expressed concerns, images had been removed.

Google has now been barred from filming and conducting detailed studies of bases, following the discovery of detailed, three-dimensional panoramas online – and in particular, views of the Texan base.

It said such detailed mapping could pose a threat.

Google spokesman Larry Yu said the decision by a Google team to enter the Texas base and undertake a detailed survey, had been “a mistake”.

He told the BBC News website that detailed study of such sensitive sites was not Google policy.

You can read the rest of the story HERE

March 7, 2008 Posted by | Counter-terrorism, GoogleEarth, News, Political Issues | 2 Comments