April 2

InfoMail for April 2, 2002



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Commentary by Vera Hassner Sharav

April 2, 2002

Francis Fukuyama:Don’t Alter Human Nature 


Human nature "is fundamental to our notions ofjustice, morality and the good life."

In an interview in The New York Times (below)  politicaltheorist, Dr. Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins University (author of "TheEnd of History and the Last Man" and "Our Post-human Future"),has a dim view of unregulated science and biotechnology.  If leftunregulated, today’s biotechnology–with its commercial focus– poses thegreatest threat to the very essence of our humanity. 

"The danger is the greater because those closest tothe action — scientists and bioethicists — cannot in his view be trusted toraise the alarm. Scientists are interested in conquering nature while manybioethicists, Dr. Fukuyama contends, "have become nothing more thansophisticated and sophistic justifiers of whatever it is the scientificcommunity wants to do." His views are not academic; he has an officialvoice on such matters as a member of the White House’s Council on Bioethics."

Dr. Fukuyama also takes a dim view of mood changing,psychotropic drugs that could change society, "he wonders whetherCaesar or Napoleon would have felt the need to conquer Europe if either had beenable to pop a Prozac tablet…"

Dr. Fukuyama’s criticism, like our own, isdirected at those over reaching aspects of science that threaten the moralfiber of society and humanity.  Dr. Fukuyama’s conclusions about theinadequacy of the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes ofHeath to reign in dangerous biomedical experiments—-including,genetic engineering, cloning, mood altering drugs– and the need for legislationand "institutions with real enforcement powers," are in completeharmony with the position of The Alliance for Human Research Protection(AHRP).

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