Regarding the story “Babies were genetically edited: Chinese scientist” in the Nov. 27 edition, this is a most radical step indeed. It was only a matter of time before someone tried it and more are likely to follow. So, rather than criticize such a development, we should pave the way for the researcher in question to publish the findings in a proper peer-reviewed journal.
We don’t have many options to make this a better planet. Although genetic editing seems to be a scary tool at present, it could be the only option we have to save human beings from scourges like AIDS, influenza epidemics, etc. Maybe we can even make human beings resistant to pollution and the extremities of weather due to global warming.
We do have another path: Stop the growth-oriented model of development that sees GDP growth as its god. We could forge a world with a more equitable distribution of wealth, sustainable development, fewer working hours and better social security. However, we have not taken the necessary steps in that direction and there is a tendency to believe that technology can solve most of our problems, rather than good governance, social community bonding and leadership. So, it is rather ironic that there are so many critics now that technology has come into play.
We already consume genetically engineered food. Why not create human beings who are resistant to diseases, have larger brains and are less fearful of being ruled by artificial intelligence? Why are we so resistant to genetic editing and find it unethical when we have no qualms about polluting the Earth beyond repair?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.