Panelists at the fifth annual State of the World Forum, held
in New York
in September, offered starkly divergent evaluations of human
technology, with scientists and activists questioning biotech
predictions of medical miracles.
Among the panelists were "soft energy" scientist
Amory Lovins; Martha
Herbert, pediatric neurologist and member of the Council for
Genetics board; Judy Gobert, spokesperson for two Native American
and Robert Lanza, vice president of Advanced Cell Technology
company that claims to be "saving endangered species"
by cloning them.
ACT's Lanza claimed that the production of "designer babies"
soon: "We're close to being able to add 20 or 30 points
to your baby's
IQ, or an equivalent boost of their muscle mass. . .and who
wouldn't say, `Yes'?"
Amory Lovins said, "We know that in larger ecosystems,
foreign agents upsets things in unpredictable and often unhappy
ways. . .
I feel the same way about putting bits of xeno-DNA, or even
our species, into our genes." Lovins also pointed out that
the goal of
genetic engineering "is profitability, not biofitness."
Judy Gobert argued that patents on DNA should not be granted,
objected to industry or government scientists asking native
to provide their own DNA for research purposes. Martha Herbert
that human germline engineering is misguided, dangerous, and
and should be banned.
(Phillip Frazer, "Genetic medicine promises baby geniuses,