FUTURELIFE: The Biotechnology Revolution by Alvin & Virginia B. Silverstein Silverstein

FUTURELIFE: The Biotechnology Revolution

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The Silversteins' report on biotechnology begins with breathless references to the revolutionary ""war"" against the unknown being waged ""all over the world,"" and ends with a two-page barrage of questions which suggest some of the difficulties posed by biomedical advances: conflicts between scientific freedom and expertise, on the one hand, and the ""average citizens'"" right to curb possibly dangerous research, on the other; the ethics of tests on humans; the prospect of ""some future dictator"" abusing genetic engineering. (There is no attempt, however, to put the medical wonders in perspective vis-à-vis current world priorities.) The bulk of the book, glossier than the Silversteins' The Genetic Explosion, with which it overlaps, is a positive review of sophisticated gadgets such as the CAT, PET, and NMR scanners; spare parts; and the applications of genetic ""tinkering."" The tone and the viewpoint are bland and sometimes simplistic, whether the topic is the brain patterns of mental patients, the use of growth hormones in livestock, or the possibility of shaping our heredity (""Some people find prospects like that frightening; others find them exciting"")--or of living forever (""Some scientists believe that this could happen""). Superficial.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Prentice-Hall