Fw: Ena van Zyl Comments

Kenneth A. Feucht (kenf@kenf.seanet.com)
Sun, 23 Jun 1996 22:18:19 -0700

> From: Kenneth A. Feucht <kenf@kenf.seanet.com>
> To: ASA <ASA@calvin.edu>
> Subject: Ena van Zyl Comments
> Date: Sunday, June 23, 1996 22:14
> Ena van Zyl issued some interesting comments regarding the ethics of
> research, but I'm not sure how they apply to the subject at hand, and
> would like some clarification.
> You start by saying, ...." Dr James Watson has a special interest in
> project and is of the opinion that people who are directly affected by a
> genetical disorder should be involved in the decision making process."
> not sure how that makes an action more ethical? Please clarify this.
> You comment that Dr. F. Anderson is using his research to glorify God. I
> don't doubt that, but don't see how that sheds light on ethical
> determinations. What exactly does Dr. F.A. do that glorifies God, and
> do you know that his gene research is indeed a glory to God?
> You then state that genetical engineering and gene therapy may be used
> glorify God similar to that used in agriculture. The analogy has limits,
> as my previous e-mail message discussed. Does altering the genes that
> my kids big noses glorify God?
> Few people doubt that gene research has intrinsic moral value to it, but
> it depends on what you plan on doing with it. James Watson's utopian
> to solve human disease by unlocking the sequences of the human genome
> fanciful if not downright naive. Even worse, once the human genome is
> sequenced, what are you going to do with it? Abort children with
> amniocentesis proven defective genes? Create a super-race?
> I predict that none of those will happen for a simple reason. The volume
> of information from the human genome will be fundamentally
> uninterpretable. It may provide clues for the composition of various
> products, but will not tell us how the genome regulates itself, or how
> cellular environment regulates the genome. It will not tell us about the
> dynamism of the human genome, but portrays the genome as a static
> Barbara McClintocks' work on transposons in (wheat ?) is probably only
> tip of the iceberg as to the flux that human genes regularly experience.
> I share your enthusiasm for research that helps us to better understand
> the wonders of cellular function. I also support the idea of the genome
> project. Such gene research may lead to both great glory and great evil.
> The object of ethical discussion in gene research (I feel) is to
> the limits and motive behind the research.
> Deus Vobiscum,
> Kenneth A. Feucht, M.D., Ph.D., FACS
> --
> Kenneth A. Feucht
> kenf@kenf.seanet.com
> St_Augustine@msn.com
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