The New Atlantis (journal)

The New Atlantis, founded in 2003, is a quarterly journal about the social, ethical, political, and policy dimensions of modern science and technology.[1] The journal is published in Washington, D.C. by the Center for the Study of Technology and Society.[2] The New Atlantis was founded by the social conservative advocacy group the Ethics and Public Policy Center. It is edited by Ari Schulman, having previously been edited by co-founders Eric Cohen and Adam Keiper.

The New Atlantis
EditorAri Schulman
PublisherThe Center for the Study of Technology and Society, The Ethics and Public Policy Center
Year founded2003 (2003)
Based inWashington, D.C.
ISSN1543-1215 (print)
1555-5569 (web)

The journal’s name is taken from Francis Bacon’s utopian novella New Atlantis, which the journal’s editors describe as a "fable of a society living with the benefits and challenges of advanced science and technology."[3] An editorial in the inaugural issue states that the aim of the journal is "to help us avoid the extremes of euphoria and despair that new technologies too often arouse; and to help us judge when mobilizing our technological prowess is sensible or necessary, and when the preservation of things that count requires limiting the kinds of technological power that would lessen, cheapen, or ultimately destroy us."[4] Writing for National Review, editor Adam Keiper described The New Atlantis as being written from a "particularly American and conservative way of thinking about both the blessings and the burdens of modern science and technology."[5] New Atlantis authors and bioethicists publishing in other journals have also similarly referred to The New Atlantis as being written from a social conservative stance which utilizes religion.[6][7][8][9]


The New Atlantis tends to publish views in favor of technological innovation but wary of certain avenues of development. For example, the journal has generally advocated nuclear energy;[10] space exploration and development through public-private partnerships,[11] including manned missions to Mars;[12] biofuels;[13] and genetically modified foods.[14] But it has expressed ambivalent or critical views about developments in synthetic biology[15] and military technologies like drones,[16][17] chemical weapons,[18] and cyberwarfare.[19] Articles often explore policy questions on these and other issues, sometimes advocating particular policy outcomes, especially on health care,[20] environmental management,[21] and energy.[22]

The journal has published widely on bioethics, including issues such as stem cell research,[23] assisted reproduction,[24] cloning,[25] assisted suicide,[26] organ and tissue donation,[27] the purported link between vaccines and autism,[28] and informed consent.[29] Articles on these issues often highlight the potential for dangerous or degrading developments, including concerns over human dignity,[30] with many articles examining human enhancement,[31] and life extension,[32] and historical precedents for abuse in eugenics[33] and population control.[34]

The journal also features broader philosophical reflections on science and technology, and tends to be skeptical of what its authors consider to be speculative overreach common in popular discussions. Examples include articles that have defended the existence of free will in light of developments in neuroscience,[35] questioned the wisdom of using brain scans in courtrooms,[36] and described how growing knowledge of epigenetics has undermined common claims about genetic determinism.[37] While the journal has sometimes aired libertarian views about human enhancement and transhumanism,[38] its contributors generally tend to question whether technologies like artificial intelligence,[39] "friendly" artificial intelligence,[40] and genetic enhancement[31][41] are possible or desirable. The journal also publishes the Futurisms blog, dedicated to criticizing transhumanism.

The journal has also published widely on the interpersonal effects of the Internet and digital technology. It has featured articles on subjects like Facebook,[42][43][44][45] cell phones,[46] multitasking,[47] e-readers,[48] GPS and navigation,[49] and virtual reality.[50] A 2006 article by Matthew B. Crawford advocating the intellectual and economic virtues of the manual trades[51] was noted as a best-of-the-year essay by New York Times columnist David Brooks,[52] and was subsequently expanded into the bestselling[53] book Shop Class as Soulcraft.[54] The journal also frequently publishes essays on philosophical and literary questions relating to science and technology.[55][56][57]

Book Series

The New Atlantis also publishes a book series, New Atlantis Books, an imprint of Encounter Books. To date, six books have been released:

  • In the Shadow of Progress: Being Human in the Age of Technology ISBN 9781594032080 (2008), by Eric Cohen[58]
  • Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy ISBN 9781594032097 (2008), by Yuval Levin[59]
  • Neither Beast nor God: The Dignity of the Human Person ISBN 9781594032578 (2009), by Gilbert Meilaender[60]
  • Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism ISBN 9781594034763 (2012), by Robert Zubrin[61]
  • Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America ISBN 9781594037160 (2014), edited by Wilfred M. McClay and Ted. V. McAllister[62]
  • Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress ISBN 9781594037368 (2014), by Charles T. Rubin[63]


Among the more notable contributors to the journal are physicians and bioethicists such as President’s Council on Bioethics chairman Leon Kass and neuroscientist William B. Hurlbut; prominent scientists such as Raymond Tallis, Sara Seager, and Marcelo Gleiser; political scientists, legal and ethical scholars, and policy analysts such as Yuval Levin, Robert P. George, Peter Augustine Lawler, Diana Schaub, Charles T. Rubin, Jeffrey Rosen, Larry Arnhart, and Jonathan B. Tucker; think-tank scholars such as Nicholas Eberstadt, Roger Bate, Henry Sokolski, and Robert D. Atkinson; space experts and entrepreneurs such as Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin, James C. Bennett, and Jeff Foust; and philosophers, historians, authors, and journalists such as Roger Scruton, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Matthew B. Crawford, Harvey Mansfield, Wilfred M. McClay, Ross Douthat, Victor Davis Hanson, Alan Jacobs, Varadaraja V. Raman, Stephen D. Snobelen, Andrew Janiak, William R. Newman, and Ronald Bailey.


Writing for the National Review in a 2003 column, the conservative author Stanley Kurtz described The New Atlantis as influential on thinking about science and technology.[64][65]

Richard John Neuhaus, late editor of the conservative journal First Things, wrote that The New Atlantis is "as good a publication as there is for the intelligent exploration of questions in bioethics and projections—promising, ominous, and fantastical—about the human future,"[66] and a writer in The American Conservative described the journal as a source "of fresh ideas on the Right."[67] National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg described The New Atlantis as "a new and interesting magazine" that "seems to be trying to carve out the space for the government to stop the more offensive aspects of biotechnology."[68]

By contrast, the liberal bioethicist Jonathan D. Moreno has said that the journal offers "a very dark vision" about science and technology, but that it "makes an important point about the need to worry about the ends as well as means in science"[69] and that its "writers were young, smart, and had a good understanding of the political process and the making of public policy."[8] Bioethicist Ruth Macklin criticized The New Atlantis as representative of a conservative movement in bioethics that is "mean-spirited, mystical, and emotional" and that "claims insight into ultimate truth yet disavows reason."[9]

The journal has particularly gained a reputation among the transhumanist movement for its criticism of human enhancement. James Hughes, a techno-progressivist and at times director of organizations such as the World Transhumanist Association and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, notes that the journal "has published influential attacks on artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, reproductive technology, and life extension." Natasha Vita-More has described it as a "journal known as a ring of bioconservatives bent on opposing the cyberculture," while the Extropy Institute has called it "a high-powered rallying point for the neo-Luddites."[70]


  1. "Welcome to The New Atlantis". Reason. May 5, 2003. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  2. "The Center for the Study of Technology and Society — About". The Center for the Study of Technology and Society. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  3. "Why We Are Called The New Atlantis". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  4. Cohen, Eric (Spring 2003). "The New Politics of Technology". The New Atlantis.
  5. Keiper, Adam (May 29, 2003). "The New Atlantis Turns Ten". The Corner.
  6. "The Paradox of Conservative Bioethics".
  7. "St. Francis, Christian Love, and the Biotechnological Future".
  8. Berger, Sam; Jonathan D. Moreno (2010). "Introduction". In Sam Berger and Jonathan D. Moreno (ed.). Progress in Bioethics: Science, Policy, and Politics. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press. p. xviii. ISBN 978-0262517423.
  9. Macklin, Ruth (January–February 2006). "The New Conservatives in Bioethics: Who Are They and What Do They Seek?". The Hastings Center Report. 36 (1): 34–43. doi:10.1353/hcr.2006.0013. PMID 16544839.
  10. "Nuclear Energy". Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  11. Simberg, Rand (Fall 2010). "In Search of a Conservative Space Policy". The New Atlantis.
  12. Zubrin, Robert (Winter 2004). "The Human Explorer". The New Atlantis.
  13. "Biofuels". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  14. Adler, Jonathan (Summer 2012). "How Not to Label Biotech Foods". The New Atlantis.
  15. "Synthetic biology". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  16. Singer, P.W. (Winter 2009). "Military Robots and the Laws of War". The New Atlantis.
  17. Ofek, Hillel (Spring 2010). "The Tortured Logic of Obama's Drone War". The New Atlantis.
  18. Tucker, Jonathan B. (Fall 2009). "The Future of Chemical Weapons". The New Atlantis.
  19. Ford, Christopher A. (Fall 2010). "The Trouble With Cyber Arms Control".
  20. "Health care". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  21. "Environmentalism". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  22. "Energy". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  23. "Stem cell research". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  24. "Assisted reproductive technologies". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  25. "Cloning". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  26. "End of life". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  27. "Organ transplantation". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  28. Nicol, Caitrin (Fall 2007). "Shot in the Dark". The New Atlantis.
  29. Schulman, Ari N. (Spring 2012). "What is the Body Worth?". The New Atlantis.
  30. "Human dignity". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  31. "Enhancement". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  32. "Agelessness". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  33. "Historical eugenics". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  34. "Contemporary eugenics". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  35. Tallis, Raymond (Summer 2010). "How Can I Possibly Be Free?". The New Atlantis.
  36. Snead, Carter (Winter 2008). "Neuroimaging and Capital Punishment". The New Atlantis.
  37. Talbott, Stephen L. (Summer 2010). "Getting Over the Code Delusion". The New Atlantis. Archived from the original on October 4, 2012.
  38. Bailey, Ronald (Summer 2011). "The Case for Enhancing People". The New Atlantis.
  39. "Artificial intelligence". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  40. Keiper, Adam & Schulman, Ari N. (Summer 2011). "The Problem with 'Friendly' Artificial Intelligence". The New Atlantis.
  41. "Genetic engineering". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  42. Boyd, Brian (Fall 2006). "The Dotcomrade". The New Atlantis.
  43. Rosen, Christine (Summer 2007). "Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism". The New Atlantis.
  44. Scruton, Roger (Summer 2010). "Hiding Behind the Screen". The New Atlantis.
  45. Waisman, Sebastian (Summer 2008). "We Are the Change We've Been Waiting For". The New Atlantis.
  46. Rosen, Christine (Summer 2004). "Our Cell Phones, Ourselves". The New Atlantis.
  47. Rosen, Christine (Spring 2008). "The Myth of Multitasking". The New Atlantis.
  48. Rosen, Christine (Fall 2008). "People of the Screen". The New Atlantis.
  49. Schulman, Ari N. (Spring 2011). "GPS and the End of the Road". The New Atlantis.
  50. Koganzon, Rita (Summer 2008). "The World Made New". The New Atlantis.
  51. Crawford, Matthew B. (Summer 2006). "Shop Class as Soulcraft". The New Atlantis.
  52. Brooks, David (December 14, 2006). "The Sidney Awards". The New York Times.
  53. "Best Sellers". The New York Times. July 19, 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  54. Crawford, Matthew B. (2009). Shop Class as Soulcraft. Penguin. ISBN 978-0143117469.
  55. "Hawthorne: Science, Progress, and Human Nature". The New Atlantis. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  56. Matlack, Samuel (Summer 2012). "The Physicists at Fifty". The New Atlantis.
  57. Hughes, Austin L. (Fall 2012). "The Folly of Scientism". The New Atlantis.
  58. Cohen, Eric (2008). In the Shadow of Progress: Being Human in the Age of Technology. New York: Encounter Books. ISBN 9781594032080.
  59. Levin, Yuval (2008). Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy. New York: Encounter Books. ISBN 9781594032097.
  60. Meilaender, Gilbert (2009). Neither Beast nor God: The Dignity of the Human Person. New York: Encounter Books. ISBN 9781594032578.
  61. Zubrin, Robert (2012). Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism. New York: Encounter Books. ISBN 9781594034763.
  62. McClay, Wilfred M.; McAllister, Ted V., eds. (2014). Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America. New York: Encounter Books. ISBN 9781594037160.
  63. Rubin, Charles T. (2014). Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress. New York: Encounter Books. ISBN 9781594037368.
  64. Kurtz, Stanley (May 29, 2003). "Brave New World of Dna?". The Corner. Archived from the original on March 3, 2014.
  65. Moreno, Jonathan D. (October 2007). "Biotechnology and the New Right: Neoconservatism's Red Menace". American Journal of Bioethics. 7 (10).
  66. Neuhaus, Richard John (October 6, 2005). "A number of readers have." On the Square.
  67. Bramwell, Austin (August 29, 2005). "Defining Conservatism Down". The American Conservative.
  68. Goldberg, Jonah (June 16, 2003). "Ones & Zeroes Have Consequences". National Review.
  69. "Point Counterpoint". Science. 318 (5851): 725. 2 November 2007. doi:10.1126/science.318.5851.725d.
  70. "About the Vital Progress Summit". Extropy Institute. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
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