Original Research

The Human Genome Project as a case study in the debate about the relationship between theology and natural science

Johan Buitendag
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 61, No 3 | a469 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v61i3.469 | © 2005 Johan Buitendag | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2005 | Published: 12 October 2005

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Johan Buitendag, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The author presents a review article on the book, Brave new world? Theology, ethics and the human genome, edited by Celia Deane-Drummond and published in 2003 by T&T Clark International in London. After a rather elaborate exposition, he appraises the collection of essays in terms of the dialogue between theology and the natural sciences. As an acid test, he assesses the challenge Kant, however, dealt with, namely to combine and to separate the right things. Kant pushed this to extremes and ended up with both solipsism and dualism. This article tackles the challenge differently and concludes that theology is an a posteriori science and that by means of différance, knowledge of the noumenon is indeed possible. The author therefore appreciates the different contributions in the book in this light. Deane-Drummond’s proposal that a virtue ethic should be complemented by certain biblical values is therefore viewed rather sceptically. This remains a transcendental enterprise where epistemology precedes ontology.


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