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Chapman's study argues that traditional theological anthropologies and religious norms cannot be fruitfully applied to contemporary scientific and technologically based issues without extensive adaptation and reformulation. She calls for a scientifically informed religious ethnics built dialogically from concepts in both science and theology.
With vast new scientific and technological powers, we face unprecedented choices for which traditional ethics provide little direct guidance. What role can the religious community play in addressing the ethical and theological issues that even science now acknowledges as urgent? Chapman's work forges a method for integrating ethical reasoning with scientific data, focusing on four issues -- cloning, genetic engineering, patenting of life, and environmental alteration. For each, she reviews the work of religious thinkers, assesses the roles of the religious community, considers relevant confessional differences, determines how traditional theological and ethical concepts can be clarified, reformulated, and "operationalized" to meet the questions, and finally she formulates helpful methodological options. She calls for a scientifically informed religious ethics built dialogically from concepts in both science and theology.
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