Magazine July 20, 2009, Issue

Story Morals

(Pixabay)

On January 20, 2002, Leon Kass, chairman of the newly appointed President’s Council on Bioethics, opened the Council’s first session with a discussion of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1843 short story “The Birth-Mark,” the tale of a scientist who kills his beautiful wife while removing a birthmark from her face. It would have been an unusual start for any government panel, but for one dedicated to scientific issues, it was especially surprising.

Yet strange as it might seem, lawmakers and scientists would benefit from a greater engagement with literature. A richer public bioethics — one that combines the insights of science with those

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Letters

I read William Voegeli’s review of Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift with pleasure and genuine interest.
Poetry

Poetry

When you deserted your military post, you fled from India as a refugee, then sailed — where else?

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