In the Name of Eugenics/Broken Code

Shannon, Thomas A.

are critically aware of the promise and perils of the technologies. Both books make an excellent introduction, overview, and commentary on one of the most profound scientific discoveries...

...This dialectic relationship is clearly indicated in the title of Daniel J. Kevles's well-written study...
...It is perhaps not unremarkable that in every age the leaders of the eugenics movements thought that everyone would resemble themselves...
...Kevles's study demonstrates the continuance of this dual nature up to our time, shown by efforts on the one hand to map out the structure of the gene and, on the other, to use this knowledge to improve the race...
...For scientists were motivated and led in their research not so much by where the data led as by their ideas of a better society and who should be in charge of society...
...Thomas A. Shannon The impact of science on the lives of individuals or societies has nowhere been more clearly felt than with genetics...
...On the other hand, Lappe' also provides a detailed account of developments in the field, applications of the technology, considerations of environmental implications, its use in biochemical warfare, as well as a consideration of ethical issues raised by or associated with the technology...
...Lappe' chronicles how developments in technology profoundly shifted the ethical questions...
...These problems, too, have gone by the way and Lappe' argues that we now face two major problems: ecological problems caused by the environment and the priorities chosen by large biotech companies...
...The book has both informational chapters and appendices which detail in clear, helpful language what DNA is about...
...And, interestingly enough, one must study genetics as much as an ideology as a science whether one reads Galton or the most recent theories of single gene therapy...
...Does the biotechnology industry have a special duty to enhance freedom of inquiry...
...The issues then focused on laboratory safety and biohazards posed by escaping organisms...
...first, by developing the history of genetics through a presentation of the biographies of the main actors in that history...
...I1OIENCODE THE EXPLOITATION OF DNA Marc Lappe' Sierra Club, $17.95, 354 pp...
...Marc Lappe', on the other hand, provides a detailed account of one aspect of the science of genetics: the recombinant DNA debate...
...At first, the concerns were focused around the issues of privacy and confidentiality inherent in screening programs and genetic counseling...
...The two are intertwined...
...Thus one gains a clear picture of both the development of scientific information as well as the application of that information to social policy and individual human beings...
...These concerns were dramatically changed, in 1972, when genes were first transferred from one organism to another...
...The book provides a thorough and careful analysis of these issues...
...The book is an admirable mixture of clear science reporting, interesting and insightful historiography, and ethical commentary, sometimes by implication, other times by direct comment...
...Both of these books present different, but frequently complementary, pictures of developments in genetics...
...This way of identifying the ethical questions is important because it assumes and accepts the developments in place, recognizes the safety record of the past, and now focuses on the implications of the largescale industrial applications of genetic engineering...
...Does the biotechnology industry have an obligation to anticipate and offset adverse effects of developments that escape its existing controls...
...For those who are familiar with the debate but are unsure of the terminology, techniques, and applications, Lappe" s book is an excellent starting point...
...Although genetics had a certain amount of a basic research dimension in its origin solving problems regarding the mechanisms of evolution it is clearly an applied science oriented toward improving the race by increasing the number of men of reputation through judicious marriages...
...This book traces the development of genetics in two interesting and complementary ways...
...While Lappe' avoids the apocalyptic tone of many other commentators, he does not shy away from critical analysis of these issues...
...The volume provides an excellent overview of the main lines of the development of a field of science, as well as providing a commentary on the uses and abuses of technological power...
...Kevles's lucidly written history also provides an interesting locus for debating once again the alleged value: freedom of science...
...Through genetics, operating either as a science or as an ideology, lives have been changed, bodies altered, eating habits affected, social policy set, and medicine changed...
...For what we understand as the science of genetics has its home in the ideology of eugenics...
...27 February 1987: 121 SCIENTIFIC INTIMACIES II TIE MNE ir EUSEHCS GENETICS AND THE USES OF HUMAN HEREDITY Daniel J. Kevles Knopf, $22.95, 426 pp...
...Lappe' singles out three ethical issues as the most critical for our age: does the biotechnology industry have any obligation to serve the public good...
...Both books make an excellent introduction, overview, and commentary on one of the most profound scientific discoveries of our day: the gene...
...second, by presenting the development of the science of genetics in the ideological and socio-political contexts of its development...
...What is remarkable and depressing is how often Kevles is able to tell the same tale...
...While Kevles is historical and developmental and Lappe' is scientific and environmental, both focus on the eugenic aspects of the new and old genetics, and both 120: Commonweal...
...The book is a good blend of both science and social-ethical commentary by one who has joined in these discussions as a participant-observer for many years...

Vol. 114 • February 1987 • No. 4


 
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