UWE holds debate on how much we value nature in an age of genetic modification

Issue date: 13 April 2015

A hand watering a single green shoot

Bristol Festival of Ideas

Thu 16 April 2015


UWE Bristol is organising a free public debate on the value of nature on Thursday 16 April at the Watershed.

The event is entitled “Nature after Nature: The Value of Being Natural in the Age of Marvellous Technologies.”

Organiser Dr Darian Meacham, a senior lecturer in UWE's Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and researcher at BrisSynBio, said, “Many ecologists have argued that nature has an intrinsic value outside of its instrumental use for and by human beings. The idea of natural value is often extended to the “naturalness” of something having value in itself.

“Valuing nature and naturalness is tied up in public debate with concerns over the use of new technologies, especially genetically modified organisms or GMOs. But do such ideas make sense when the line between nature and artefact is blurred by technology and when many of our ideas about nature rest on intuitions?

“This event will bring together scientists, philosophers and ecologists to discuss how ideas about the value of nature and naturalness fit into debates about emerging technologies and the impact these debates could have on scientific research.”

Speakers include Sir Roland Jackson, Nima Yeganefar and Alison Assiter. Roland Jackson is Executive Chair of Sciencewise and will chair the Nuffield Council's project on Naturalness. Nima Yeganefar is Associate Professor of Engineering at the University of Poitiers in France and writes a popular anti pseudo-science blog, Sham and Science. Alison Assiter is Professor of Philosophy at UWE, Bristol and an expert in ethics and philosophy of nature.

The debate is a collaboration between BrisSynBio, UWE Social Science in the City and the Royal Institute of Philosophy, with participation from the Nuffield Council, and is a Green Capital event.

The event is free, but booking is required - please register here.

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