& Emerging Technologies: Bioethics in the Shadow of Auschwitz?
brought key figures in law, bioethics, journalism, science, and
social justice advocacy to the National Press Club in Washington,
DC for a day-long conference
on the prospects of a new eugenics based on emerging human biotechnologies.
The November 10 event was hosted by the Institute
on Biotechnology and the Human Future, an organization whose
founders, fellows, and affiliated scholars span the left-right political
provided a range of assessments of the issues surrounding the development,
use, and regulation of human biotechnologies. The diversity of their
professional backgrounds was exceeded only by the diversity of their
political perspectives and normative commitments, giving the audience
different entry points from which to think about biotech's relationship
with law, society, and ethics.
While it was
impossible to distill a consensus opinion from the panelists' talks,
a common theme was clear: Regardless of whether you identify as
left or right, religious or secular, or libertarian or conservative,
the specter of a new high-tech eugenics should concern us all, and
those most at risk of being harmed need protection. Just how to
address this should be, perhaps, the focus of the next eugenics
and biotech conference. But this was undoubtedly an important first