It Will Take Years To Reap The Whirlwind Sown By Genetically Altered Babies

Dec 3, 2018 by

By Paul C. Binotto, The Federalist:

Last week, a Chinese researcher said he helped create the world’s first gene-edited babies, in an effort to make them less susceptible to AIDS. Scientists responded in an uproar.

In the waning months of World War II, scientists worked feverishly to finish first in the so-called “race to build the bomb.” Would it be the Allies or the Nazis? Humanity’s future depended on the Allies winning that race. Thankfully, they did.

Harnessing atomic power remains one of the single greatest accomplishments in human scientific history, just as the sheer magnitude of destruction delivered by the two atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima remains the single most horrific military operation ever. Thankfully, it has yet to be repeated.

The ethical rationale for developing and dropping these bombs was avoiding even greater losses of human life and property should the Allies need to conduct a major assault and full invasion of mainland Japan. However, the ramifications of that fateful discovery saw two generations of the world’s opposing superpowers locked in an arms race, and the entire world’s eyes locked on a doomsday clock.

More than 70 years later, questionable nuclear deals with Iran and rising tensions between the United States and the former Soviet Union are only the latest reminders that the threat of nuclear self-destruction remains just as real in the 21st century as it was in the 20th, even if it is now silent as a sleeping giant. Nuclear bombs are not the only self-destructive dangers this century shares with the last. Eugenics was the name then. Today, with highly refined and advanced techniques, the preferred euphemism is “human genome editing.”

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