One of my grad school teachers said that anyone teaching bioethics should adopt Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Upon arriving at Baylor I took up her suggestion, and I have taught the National Book Critics Circle Award winner twice a year for nearly a decade.
Medicine, Daniel Callahan argues, has become the sustainer of false hope in the face of death and dissolution. Callahan calls for a medicine more modest in its aspirations and more careful in its promises. Giving up the illusion that it can extend life indefinitely for a few, this new medicine would devote itself to making life better for the many.
When two groups of scientists announced in mid-February that they had finished mapping the human genome, scientists, politicians and journalists paid rapt attention. The human genetic code has been deciphered! We are on our way at last to obeying scientifically the old Delphic oracle: Know thyself!