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More media attention to advocates of techno-eugenics

Genetic Crossroads
April 16th, 2000

The central figures in the push for a techno-eugenic future continue

to receive favorable treatment in the mainstream media. Here's a
sampling:

o In a special issue of Time magazine, "Beyond 2000" (November 8,
1999), Lee Silver adopts a whimsical tone to fantasize a marketing
campaign for germline engineering by the "St. Genevieve" fertility
clinic in the year 2025 (pages 68-69). The advertising pitch that
Silver imagines is called "Organic Enhancement" because "the DNA
molecules added to embryos are totally organic" and "all-natural."
Silver even writes the text for the clinic-of-the-near-future's web
page: "[K]eep in mind, you must act before you get pregnant. Don't
be sorry after she's born. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity for your child-to-be."

o Among the many other turn-of-the-millenium articles on the future
of human genetic technology was one called "A Small Leap to Designer
Babies" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg (New York Times, January 1, 2000,
page 7). Stolberg includes short quotes from critics of human
germline engineering Ruth Hubbard and Paul Billings, but gives far
more space to Gregory Stock, Lee Silver, and W. French Anderson.

o In March, an Associated Press article by Daniel Q. Haney appeared
in newspapers across the country. The CNN Interactive version was
titled "Scientists Predict Another Hard Choice for Parents: Their
Babies' Genes" (March 6, 2000); the Baltimore Sun called it "`Designer
Babies' Just Genes Away" (March 15, 2000). The article extensively
quotes Gregory Stock, Lee Silver, and John Campbell; it presents as
critics of human germline manipulation only Thomas Friedmann and
Huntington Willard, both of whom are actually active advocates.
Willard and Friedmann are quoted saying that it will take longer
to perfect designer-baby technology than Stock, Silver, and Campbell
believe.

o A New York Times op-ed piece by Lee Silver (March 16, 2000) argues
that there's nothing wrong with private ownership of the human genome.
"In truth, no geneticist can deny that the secrets of the human genome
will serve mankind [sic] most fully through the profit-motivated
efforts of pharmaceutical and biotech companies," Silver writes.


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