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Playing God? Synthetic Biology from a Protestant Perspective *

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Living organisms can be seen from two different perspectives: From an observer’s perspective, the researcher is looking to find and describe properties that characterize them, and from a participant’s perspective, a human recognizes its vis-à-vis as an equally living and intention pursuing subject. From a Protestant perspective, a third way of looking at it is introduced. Believing in God as the primordial “I,” Christians confess to “You-ness” as their primordial and existential condition, enabling them not only to enter a relationship to other’ you-ness’, but to recognize God’s great “I” in every drop of creation. The ethics of dealing with living organisms, including the human-made organisms of synthetic biology, then is a question of norms and principles but of an attitude of responsiveness, respect and love.

Affiliations: 1: University of Basel, Petersplatz 1, CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland,


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