Human Exceptionalism Stifles Progress

Last November Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced the birth of twin babies whose germline he claimed to have altered to reduce their susceptibility to contracting HIV. The news of embryo editing and gene-edited babies prompted immediate condemnation both within and beyond the scientific community. An ABC News headline asked: “Genetically edited babies—scientific advancement or playing God?”

The answer may be “both.” He’s application of gene-editing technology to human embryos flouted norms of scientific transparency and oversight, but even less controversial scientific developments sometimes provoke the reaction that humans are overstepping their appropriate sphere of influence. The arrival of the first IVF baby in 1978, for example, was denounced as playing God with human reproduction1; more than 8 million “IVF-babies” have been born since.2 As we face a global climate crisis, an article at Religion News Service questions whether proposed climate fixes based on geoengineering are playing God with the climate system.3 For many, the idea that mere humans can or should interfere in lofty natural or human domains, whether it’s the earth’s climate or human reproduction, is morally repugnant.

Where does this aversion to

Anda sedang membaca pratinjau, daftarlah untuk membaca selengkapnya.

Lainnya dari Nautilus

Nautilus6 mnt membacaChemistry
A Breakthrough in Measuring the Building Blocks of Nature
In a recent experiment done at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, in Germany, physicist Alexey Grinin and his colleagues came a step closer to resolving one of the more significant puzzles to have arisen in particle physics over the past de
Nautilus11 mnt membaca
Why a Universal Society Is Unattainable: Our minds evolved in an Us-vs-Them universe of our own making.
On Jan. 1, 2021, five long years after the vote for what’s become known as Brexit, and numerous marches before and after that national decision, some of which attracted more than 100,000 impassioned participants, Great Britain formally severed its ne
Nautilus4 mnt membacaBiology
We Didn’t Evolve for This: A lesson from the animal kingdom on why COVID-19 is so deadly to humans.
When a Weddell seal, native to Antarctica, plummets 400 meters beneath the ice on one of its hour-long dives, an ensemble of adaptations come together to keep it alive. The seal’s heart rate slows. At this pace, it will burn through its deep reserve