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Scholars to explore religion and bioethics, Nov. 8-9

Prominent ethicists, philosophers, theologians, historians and molecular biologists will gather on campus Thursday and Friday, Nov. 8-9, for a conference on "What Does It Mean to be Human? Religion and Bioethics."

The conference will begin with a lecture at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and resume at 8:30 a.m. Friday with three sessions. All will take place in McCosh 50.

"Recent developments in evolutionary psychology, cognitive neuroscience, genomics and astrophysics raise fundamental questions about what it means to be human," said Robert Wuthnow, director of the Center for the Study of Religion , which is sponsoring the conference. "Are we special creations of God or links in an evolutionary chain? Is our basic nature static or changing? Should we tinker with our genetic inheritance? And if we do, what does that imply about our relationship to what we understand to be God? Such questions not only hold critical ethical implications but have profound theological consequences as well."

The interdisciplinary group of participants is expected to reflect upon these questions and upon the religious and ethical dimensions of modern science more broadly.

James Childress, professor of ethics at the University of Virginia and one of the most renowned experts in biomedical ethics, will present the Thursday lecture. Speakers on Friday will be: Thomas Murray, president of the Hastings Center and a specialist in genetics, organ donation and health policy; Gilbert Meilaender, a theologian at Valparaiso University who has written widely on the theological implications of modern science; and John Robertson, a law professor at the University of Texas who is well known for his pioneering work on the legal and ethical issues involved in the control of biomedical technology, especially cloning.

Each session will include a respondent from the Princeton faculty: Peter Singer, Lee Silver, Jeffrey Stout and Carolyn Rouse. President Tilghman will chair the Thursday lecture and former President Shapiro will chair a Friday session.

For the complete schedule, visit this Web site . This conference will be Webcast; for viewing information, click here .

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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