The Ethics of Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering has created both great expectations and great fears. Some believe this new technology will provide us with a cornucopia of genetically modified foods along with therapies that will rid of us of many diseases and infirmities. Others decry the prospect of "Frankenfoods" and warn us that using this technology to change our capacities and traits will rob us of our dignity and may result in a class of "superhumans."  In the Center for Inquiry's position paper on "The Ethics of Genetic Engineering," David Koepsell steers a middle course between those who advocate banning the technology based on irrational fears and those who would give carte blanche to the new technology, heedless of some of the technology's risks and problems. After summarizing the basic science behind genetic engineering, Koepsell identifies and analyzes the principal ethical concerns presented by this new technology. Koepsell then advocates a reasoned, science-based approach to controlling applications of this technology. As set forth in the paper, the Center for Inquiry maintains that we should welcome the benefits of this new technology, but ensure that it is regulated appropriately.
David Koepsell earned his law degree and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from SUNY at Buffalo.  He has authored numerous philosophical articles, and authored and edited several books, including The Ontology of Cyberspace (Open Court 2000), and Searle on the Institutions of Social Reality (Blackwell 2003) (with Lawrence Moss).  He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Bioethics at Yale in 2007.