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Conference to assess impact of genetic science breakthroughs

THE 21ST Century has been dubbed the “Biotech Century”. The explosive increase in our knowledge of the human genome continues to fuel speculations on the possibilities of human genetic modifications.

This has been greeted with either enthusiasm or anxiety, for alongside the many euphoric pronouncements about potential benefits are serious questions about the impact of biotechnology and the prospect of manipulating molecular information.

What impact will breakthroughs in genetic science have on our understanding of the human person and the shape of human society? Is the significance of the human person reducible to his or her genetic make-up? What part do genes play in determining human behaviour, and how would this affect our understanding of human freedom?

Drawing on an international panel of speakers representing different disciplinary perspectives, a theological conference seeks to assess the impact of recent developments in genetic science on the Christian understanding of the human person.

The conference is entitled “Beyond Determinism and Reductionism: Genetic Science and The Person”. It is organised by the National Council of Churches of Singapore, Trinity Theological College and Eagles Communications. It will be held at Trinity Theological College, 490 Upper Bukit Timah Road, from July 17-19, 2002 from 9 am to 5.30 pm daily.

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, head of The Methodist Church in Singapore, will be one of the conference speakers.

The other speakers are: Prof Ronald Cole-Turner, H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; Prof Colin E. Gunton, Professor of Theology, King’s College, London; Prof Gareth Jones, Professor and Head of Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, University of Otago; the Rev Dr Daniel Koh, lecturer in Ethics and Pastoral Theology, Trinity Theological College; Dr Kon Oi Lian, Director, Division of Medical Sciences at the National Cancer Centre, Singapore, and Associate Professor of Biochemistry, National University of Singapore; Dr Ng Kam Weng, Director, Kairos Research Centre, Malaysia; Prof Ted Peters, Programme Director, CTNS Science and Religion Course Programme, and Professor of Systematic Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California; and Dr Carver T. Yu, Vice-President and Professor of Dogmatic Theology, China Graduate School of Theology, Hong Kong.

The fee is $150, and the closing date for registration is July 1, 2002. For registration after this date and at the door, there will be an additional $30 charge.

Cheques are to be made payable to Eagles Communications, Marine Parade P.O. Box 581, Singapore 914403. For enquiries, visit: eagles.com.sg/genetics.html, or call 6748-5056 or email: mimi@eagles.org.sg