playing god and other dworky thoughts


No other chapter of our science, including cosmology, has been more exciting in recent decades than genetics. And none has been remotely as portentous for the kinds of lives our descendants will lead. Some of the moral and political problems which the new technology presents are in the future. If it becomes possible to clone human beings, for example, or radically to alter the chromosomes of an early foetus to make a child more intelligent or less aggressive, then people will have to decide whether these interventions should be forbidden or not. But many of the problems are already upon us. Tests, for example, can identify genetic predictors of disease or of predisposition to disease. So we already face difficult questions about how far and when these tests should be allowed, or required, or forbidden; and how far employers and insurance companies should be allowed to ask for the results. Critics of genetic testing have cited various kinds of harm which might result from dissemination of its results.

more from the recently deceased Ronald Dworkin at Prospect Magazine here.