Two Interviews about Current Books, about Reproductive Technologies and Social Cohesion

Two radio interviews this week worth noting, in part just for the pleasure of listening to smart people, in contrast to what we dutifully hear every day from our politicians.

First, this KQED forum interview in which Bioethicist Hank Greely Forecasts ‘The End of Sex’ and the Future of Reproduction.

His book is called The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction, and concerns potential reproductive technologies in which parents may “stop having sex for the purpose of reproduction” and instead use various technologies to generate multiple embryos and choose the best one, with all the attendant ethical and legal issues (not to mention in inevitably religious reactions). (His byline on the book is Henry T. Greely.) Whatever your views about such topics might be, Greely is obviously such an intelligent and cogent person, he is a pleasure to listen to.

(And, on these particular matters, I wish such options, or even the current surrogacy options for gay couples, had been available 20, or even 10, years ago.)

There was also this useful interview with Sebastian Junger, about his new book TRIBES, which is short enough that I bought it and will likely actually read it. It was on KQED’s Forum program Friday, hosted by Mina Kim: War Reporter Sebastian Junger Turns Attention to Veterans’ Lives at Home.

His subject is cultural cohesion, and in this way he sounds a lot like recent David Brooks op-eds, but his perspectives (as in many of his books), is that of a war veteran, and his take in this book is how returning vets from Afghanistan or Iraq, where they lived among units with strong cohesion (i.e. what might be called a tribal mentality), are appalled upon their return home to the US, to see such bitter cultural and political divisions. The vitriol with which one side attacks the other, from both directions he said, is truly harming our society.

(Also: an NPR interview with Junger about his book)

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