Must runaway science be regulated?
Modern society takes a completely different view of curiosity than ancient society did. The Tower of Babel, the wings of Icarus, Pandora’s Box, and of course, Adam and Eve, all punish human beings for extending their search for knowledge to presumptuous heights. Today’s civilization thrives upon the freedom to do just that. Sometimes fear of what we might do with our knowledge and our power is reawakened, and ethical questions arise of how far we should go – for example, with cloning. Biogeneticists may be able to alter the genes of our unborn offspring, as discussed in the Pardee Center’s conference on “The Future of Human Nature.” The idea was proposed that a global bioethics authority might be desirable in order to control science. There are many potentially disastrous results that could come from genetic mutations – disease, terrorist threats, a new species of human beings… And what we will do with our scientific capabilities is yet to be seen.
This repository item contains a single issue of Which Way?, a series of occasional papers published by The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University. Which Way? pamphlets highlight emerging controversies at the crossroads where decisions must be made about choices that will affect the future of humankind through the twenty-first century and into the next. They are intended to illuminate, inform, arouse interest, and inspire debate among opinion-molders, decisionmakers, and an informed and thoughtful public.