The nuclear weapons debate reminds us once again of how well-intentioned scientific advances may grant human beings such vast powers that they endanger our fundamental political and social values. The specter of such power has haunted the development of recombinant DNA research since its inception in the early 1970s. Aware of this danger, President Carter set up the Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Splicing Life: The Social and Ethical Issues of Genetic Engineering with Human Beings is the Commission’s published report.
The Commission begins that report by denying the often-made claim that genetic engineering is immoral because it would grant humans godlike powe...
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