GENETIC FIX: New Opportunities and Dangers for You, Your Next Child and the Nation by Amitai Etzioni

GENETIC FIX: New Opportunities and Dangers for You, Your Next Child and the Nation

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What do you think about growing babies in test tubes? About ""xeroxing"" people by genetic cloning? Choosing your baby's sex; aborting a defective fetus? Is the Pill safe enough to use? And who determines what is safe, or what is dangerous? Some of these questions are as yet too hypothetical to be urgent but as Etzioni, sociologist and social moralist, affirms we axe already ""in the initial phase of genetic engineering."" In life and in the laboratory human biology is being tampered with. This overview of the new genetics is set in the form of a running commentary on a three-day Paris conference organized by the Council for International Organization of the Medical Sciences (and sponsored by UNESCO and WHO) which Etzioni attended as a non-scientist but concerned parent and citizen. Initially fearful of the social consequences of manipulation, he finally concluded that society ""cannot edit progress""; intervention as an individual option needs ""more support, not less,"" but consent must be voluntarily given and the government restricted to friendly persuasion and control. (His pet is the creation of a Health-Ethics Commission to serve as watchdog.) But he doesn't advise a change in social attitudes as a curb upon the deleterious impact of technology, and ignores the fact that institutions have rarely stood up to vested interests. The format is too dry to reach the uninformed or unconcerned, and a good many of these issues have been raised before, say in Robert Rorvik's Brave New Baby (1971).

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 1973
Publisher: Macmillan