Steven Pinker on CRISPR bioethical constraints and critics: ‘Get out of the way’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
IIevX rR

Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has been one of the most outspoken advocates for more gas and less brakes in CRISPR research. Both in writing and in talks he has expressed the view that we should move forward without substantial impediments to CRISPR-Cas9. For instance, Pinker’s “get out of the way” editorial in The Boston Globe on CRISPR was very critical of bioethics and advocated an expeditious path forward for the research without constraints. It sparked wide-ranging discussions and even some anger from bioethicists.

Knoepfler: Related to your talk at BEINGS and your more recent editorial, what do you see as the appropriate role for bioethics and bioethicists in the life sciences? “Get out of the way” seems rather absolute. Can you help us understand the nuances there in your view of bioethics if any?

Pinker: There’s a difference between ethics, on the one hand, and “bioethics” and “bioethicists,” on the other. Of course everything a scientist does — everything a human being does — ought to be ethically guided. But bioethics has become a professional guild that all too often impedes sound ethical concerns rather than advancing them. Many moral philosophers — the scholars who specialize in evaluating the soundness of ethical arguments — believe that mainstream bioethics commonly trades in confused claims based on emotion and woolly thinking.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Steven Pinker interview: case against bioethocrats & CRISPR germline ban

Outbreak Featured
Infographic: Autoimmune diseases — 76 identified so far — tend to target women over men. Here is a master list

Infographic: Autoimmune diseases — 76 identified so far — tend to target women over men. Here is a master list

There are many autoimmune diseases, and taken together they affect as much as 4.5 percent of the world’s population. This ...
Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
glp menu logo outlined

Get news on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.