Literary Lunch: Robert Winston
Are science and religion always destined to come into conflict? What are the ethical implications of new developments in biology and medicine? How should halachah respond to this brave new world?
In this session Lord Winston explored, with his customary wit and erudition, the implications for Jewish law of scientific advances, including reproductive genetics, transplant technology, fertility issues and genetically modified foods.
'Far from there being a conflict with halachah for a scientist, there is actually harmony with halachah, and the question that really comes to light is how halachah might be viewed in terms of the knowledge we have. I must tell you that in nearly forty years of treating patients, in my estimation, halachahhas been wholly advantageous to the way I treat both men and women and come to decisions, which of course respect their autonomy, which involves them whether they are Jews or non-Jews and, surprisingly though it may seem, I don't really think there has ever been a serious conflict. People often ask me: Is there a conflict? There isn't.'
Lord Winston is Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College and Director of NHS Research and Development for Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust. He is a Labour peer, Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology and a board member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. He has presented a number of BBC science programmes and published several books and several hundred articles in scientific journals.
The session was held in association with the Anglo-Jewish Association.
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