Books Read in 2014 – 32. Bioethics: All That Matters – Donna Dickenson

Genre: Science, Academic

Narrative Style: Academicbioethics

Rating 3/5

Format: Paperback

Published: 2012

Synopsis: Dickenson tackles the main issues in the area of Bioethics such as the patenting of genes by big drug companies, the storage of placenta blood and the exploitation of vulnerable populations by big companies. 

I picked this book up for a number of reasons. First of all, it is an area that I find both interesting and concerning. I have half an idea for a dystopia which would look at some of these concerns so I thought I’d make a start on research. Finally, I thought it seemed like a good introduction to the area which I do not have a close knowledge of, being a arts graduate rather than a science one.

It was a good introduction, working through each issue clearly and in a straightforward manner so that I had no problems understanding it. The examples given were helpful in elucidating her points and it was clearly researched with a lot of follow up reading, web sites and articles which will be helpful to me as I further my research.

Dickenson clearly has a strong moral viewpoint with regard to what science should and shouldn’t be doing. And given some of the dark dealings she mentions in this book (testing vaccines cheaply in third world countries even though there is no intention to use the vaccine in that country, for example) it is unsurprising. A number of times I had to stop reading in order to vent some anger. (Luckily my husband barely even notices my rants, these days) There is no doubt that the pace of research has outpaced our moral reaction in terms of the law.

However, I did find Dickenson’s tone annoying at times. She had the moral highground and boy, did she like it up there. There was an ‘I’m right and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is not only wrong but an idiot’ feel about it, especially towards the end.

Still, I do feel that I learned a lot from reading it. It has given me food for thought and I will be reading more in this area in the future.



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