Advances in the life sciences are occurring with extreme rapidity and accumulating a great deal of knowledge about life’s vital processes. While this knowledge is essential for fighting disease in a more effective way, it can also be misused either intentionally or inadvertently to develop novel and more effective biological weapons. For nearly a decade civil-academic society as well as States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention have recognised the importance of dual-use biosecurity education for life scientists as (...) a means to foster a culture of responsibility and prevent the potential misuse of advances in the life sciences for non-peaceful purposes. Nevertheless, the implementation of dual-use biosecurity education for life scientists has made little progress in institutions of higher learning. Professional societies and academic organizations have worked from the bottom-up in developing online dual-use biosecurity education modules that can be used for instruction. However, top-down help is needed from goverments if further progress is to be made in implementing biosecurity education for life scientists. (shrink)
The paper provides a briefintroduction to the biotechnology revolutionand its impact upon biological researchrelevant to military uses. It describes thestatus of biological weapons today, and currentefforts to strengthen the Biological WeaponsConvention with a legally binding complianceprotocol. Specific modifications ofmicro-organisms that may be of military use arediscussed. Three examples of dual-use researchactivities are then used to highlight issuesand dilemmas in ethical decision making.
In Use and Abuse Revisited: Response to Pluhar and Varner, Kathryn Paxton George misunderstands the point of my essay, In Defense of the Vegan Ideal: Rhetoric and Bias in the Nutrition Literature. I did not claim that the nutrition literature unambiguously confirms that vegans are not at significantly greater risk of deficiencies than omnivores. Rather than settling any empirical controversy, my aim was to show how the literature can give the casual reader a skewed impression of what is known (...) about the risks of a vegan diet. In this brief rejoinder, I illustrate how two essays by nutritionists in the same volume as George's and my essays, and a referee's report on my manuscript which was authored by a nutritionist, confirm the soundness of this basic insight. (shrink)
This book is also a call to situate Eastern religious traditions in their own framework, not borrowing from Western scholarly paradigms and also not being apologetic to the Western ideas of life, religion, and the beyond. Written in an engaging and informative style, this book would be interesting to both scholars and ordinary readers.
I was optimistic of a new beginning in an open society when I came to America in 1999. Since then, I have indeed benefited from many aspects of American life. I have learned a lot – especially through my experience with small farms and farmers. But now, it's time to move on. And it was reading Debt and Dispossession, a book about American agriculture and human values, that crystallized in me why I wanted to leave. By telling the story of (...) the 1980s farm crisis through the words of the residents of a Minnesota town, the book prizes open many of the contradictions of American society. The 1970s were boom times for mid-western farms; farmers took advantage of “easy” farm credit to finance expansion. By the 1980s, the boom burst and slump loomed. Lenders wanted their money back and thousands of farmers were dispossessed. Debt and Dispossession probes beneath the surface of a community apparently united in protest against the dispossessions. Underneath, it finds a tangled picture of a society at war with itself, pitting farmer against farmer in a fratricidal struggle. The book let me glimpse the paradox of American individualism, all-American contradictions centering on government and consumerism, frugality and morality. Just like my experience of American agriculture and farmers as a whole, Debt and Dispossession helped me see the best side of America, but also revealed the fragility of life in a one-on-one society. (shrink)