Science and engineering are at a point where humans are increasingly able to modify and even create new life forms. Some argue that such practices are essential to our survival and to extending a high quality of life to more people. Others see primarily unacceptable risks. Monopolistic, litigious global corporations and other aspects of globalization (as practiced) complicate a fair assessment of the potential value of genetic engineering.
Format: A brief (15-to-30 min) overview of genetic programming, bioengineering, and related concepts followed by a discussion of ethical and other philosophical implications. (More details and references coming.)
Decorum: This is not intended to be a political food fight (pun intended). Regardless where your view falls now, bring a mind open to additional perspectives. This will be a respectful discussion.
Co-facilitator welcomed: If you are knowledgeable of or very interested in this topic and would like to co-facilitate, please contact Mark Harris by 7 Jan14.
If you were a no-show within the past three months (Meetup keeps track), wait until 6:00 PM on 20 Jan 14 to sign up.
Things to ponder
• Can we expect genetic engineering to improve the lots of more people than would prohibiting it?
• Is genetic engineering fundamentally in violation of human dignity? If yes, how so?
• If you had the capacity to eradicate a serious disease, and the new risks involved were minimal, would you be morally or ethically compelled to do so? What about allowing medical scientists to ensure your children develop without the genetic diseases you would otherwise bequeath to them?
• How should genetic engineering and other bioengineering be governed?
• If we arise from natural processes and are part of Nature, and Nature's processes have evolved us to manipulate (engineer) Nature, how can our deliberately modifying Nature be unnatural? Are we the next modality (after evolution by natural selection) of Nature's tendency toward self-modification? (This does not sidestep our obligation to proceed with care, intelligence, and moral integrity.)
• Ethical issues in genetic engineering and transgenics
There's an excellent list of links to additional resources at the end of the article.
• Proposed Treatment To Fix Genetic Diseases Raises Ethical Issues ... (audio with transcript)
• Gregory Stock: To upgrade is human (video 17:55, from 2003, but identifies key issues)
• Genetic engineering and its dangers
A slightly dated collection of links to anti-GE sources
• Hadyn Parry: Re-engineering mosquitos to fight disease (video 13:57)
• Paul Root Wolpe: It's time to question bio-engineering (video 19:42)
• Genetically engineering 'ethical' babies is a moral obligation