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October 19, 1969 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-10-19

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Sunday, October 19, 1969

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Sundy,-ctobr 1, 199 TE MCHIGN DILY ageFiv

The

biological

revolution and what it means

"The Biological Time-Bomb," by Gordon
R. Taylor, Thames and Hudson.
"The Second Genesis," by Albert Rosenfeld,
Prentice Hall.
By DANIEL JONES
"DEATH IS NATURE'S WAY of telling us to
slow down," quip the black humorists. Such
comments concerning the rapid pace of modern
life seem to be perennial. The acceleration of
social change can be seen by comparing two
historical developments, the agricultural revolu-
tion and the Industrial Revolution. The so-called
agricultural revolution blossomed in China and
the Middle East thousands of years ago and lasted
many centuries. The Industrial Revolution, on the
other hand, spread over most of the world in
less than two centuries. Despite the difference
between the rates of growth of these two revolu-
tions, they both had profound and far-reaching
effects on human society.
During the agricultural revolution man aban-
doned hunting and gathering as a way of life
and became a planter, herdsman, and builder
of magnificent cities. It is during this period
that some of our social institutions such as mar-
riage, family, and property appear to have evolved.
The Industrial Revolution accelerated the aggre-
gation of people into cities and brought the mixed
blessing of mass production and mass pollution.
Sometimes social revolutions have unforeseen con-
sequences which threaten the stability and survival
of society, such as thefurban overcrowding which
followed on the heels of the Industrial Revolution.
The message of The Biological Time-Bomb and
The Second Genesis is that a biological revolution

is iminent if not already upon us. Organ trans-
plants and oral contraceptives may be only the
beginning of a long series of alterations of the
structure and function of the human body.
One aspect of modern biology that could lead
to increased control over evolution is the deliberate
manipulation of genetic change. Present capabili-
ties in this area are quite primitive compared to
what we may expect in the future. Scientists are
already capable of inducing mutations in bacteria
with chemicals such as nitrous acid and certain
synthetic dyes. Plant and animal breeders have,
of course, been directing genetic change by se-
lective breeding for some time. Taylor and Rosen-
feld foresee the time when our genetic tampering
will have become so specific and sophisticated
that it will be given names such as "genetic engin-
eering" and "genetic surgery." That which is done
for fun and profit, however, with germs, hybrid
corn, and prize heifers becomes infinitely more
complex when applied to people, particularly from
the standpoint of social goals.
TAYLOR AND ROSENFELD pose many prob-
lems concerning the legal, social, and moral con-
sequences of the biological revolution. One ex-
ample is artifical inovulation, the transfer of one
woman's egg cell to another woman's uterus prior
to fertilization. The motivation for reproducing
in this roundabout way may not be immediately
obvious to us. It may, for example, simply become
fashionable for some women to bypass the anguish
of pregnancy and childbirth by having their ova
transferred to other women for conception and
gestation.
Taylor and Rosenreld anticipate r a d i c a l
changes in other widely venerated ideas. The
traditional association between sexual activity and

reproduction is one example. Both authors feel
that the present separation between procreation
and recreation will be accelerated as contraceptive
measures become cheaper and more convenient.
Even the concept of the unique and absolute
identity of the individual will be challenged by
the new biology. Kidney, lung, and heart trans-
plants may be only the beginning. Transsexual
operations, the surgical transformation of one sex
into the other, have already been performed,
usually in deference to the psychiatric welfare of
the patient.
Taylor anticipates that memory transfer,
memory editing, and personality reconstruction
will be practical by the end of the century. Rosen-
feld foresees brain transplants and even whole
head transplants. If these operations become a
reality, the concept of absolute individuality will
have come to an impasse. The present social sys-
tem rests to a large extent on the efforts of
acquisitive, status-seeking, power-hungry individ-
uals. What place would there be for individual
aggrandizement in a world in which the personal-
ity could be altered or snuffed out by technical
manipulations?
Taylor and Rosenfeld clearly have different
attitudes and styles. Generally, Taylor is cautious
and restrained where Rosenfeld is more buoyant
and easily carried away in flights of fantasy. Their
feelings toward scientific research contrast strong-
ly. Taylor has an essentially Promethean view of
science and worries a great deal about the sinister
aspects of research, such as the possible unleash-
ing of new virulent microorganisms on a defense-
less world. He even suggests a moratorium on
research the likely consequences of which man
would not be able to manage wisely.

ROSENFELD, ON THE other hand, sports a
glowing confidence in the motivation and judge-
ment of scientists and emphasizes the active con-
cern of some of them for the social consequences
of their discoveries. Hhe goes so far as to suggest
that scientific training and analytical thought
habits make scientist more qualified than others
to handle thorny social problems. While Rosen-
fed may admire the objective detachment of
scientists on certain issues, there is no reason to
believe that scientists are any less compromised
than laymen by fame, fortune, and power. An-
other subject on whch the authors differs is
humanism. Rosenfeld endorses the evolutionary
humanism of Lancelot Whyte and Pere du Char-
din as a functional basis for the value judgements
necessitated by orderly management of the bi-
ological revolution. Taylor turns thumbs down
on humanism, arguing that biology has uprooted
the very definition of man which is vital to
humanism. If the demise of individuality comes
to pass, it will be difficult indeed to argue with
Taylor.
Both The Biological Time-Bomb and The
Second Genesis offer a mindblowing glimpse into
the future. But after the authors preview the
dazzling and technical virtuosity of future bi-
ologists, some gnawing questions remain. These
questions might be epitomized by Julian Huxley's
query, "What are people for?" Man's religious,
social, and political myths have provided easy
answers to these questions, but they may not be
sufficient for humane control of the biological
revolution. Either man will find a workable solu-
tion or society will be torn apart by the strains
and excesses of rapid biological change.

You won't have to go as
far as you thought for
your new SAAB because
936 N. Main St.
will feature SAAB start-
ing October 15, 1969.
Drop in and ask fora test
flight
936 North Main Sit.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
HOURS:
Open 8-6
Mon. &
Thurs.
till 9 P.M.
Sat. 9-2, FSE E
Sales only OF SWEDEN

booksbooks books

lie
By LAMIE LIPPINCO

shoulda stuck

to

azz

TT

A Political Life-The Educa-
tion of John V. Lindsay, by
Nat Hentoff. Alfred A. Knopf.
RIDE WITH Nat Hentoff on
his magical mystery tour of
the education of the liberals'
latest hero, John V. Lindsay.
Hentoff's biography appears at
a critical time for Lindsay, when
voters in New York City are
making their final decision
whether to give him the man-
sion on the East River for an-
other four years or whether to
elect Mario Procaccino in his
place. For this reason too, Hent-
off's biographyshould make
compelling reading. But Hent -
off's description of struggle of
this "Puritan" mayor to save the
rotting city of New York never
really hits home.
The trouble with the book is
that you never see where the
tour is taking you or where you
have been-except that it is
taking you away from a clear
conception of what Lindsay has
done for New York, why Lind-
say is a Republican, and why
Lindsay has antagonized so
many people.
HENTOFF TALKS to a lot of
people. But they are mostly
pro-Lindsay people, like Lindsay,
his wife Mary, and his staff,
Only occasionally do quotations
slip in f r o m anti-Lindsay
spokesman, such as an inidenti-
fied "political technician" from
Wagner days.
The style is personal jour-
nalism at its worst. Hentoff gets
bogged down in his conversa-
tions. He quotes everything-so
much so that the book is a
patchwork of conversations in
some vaguely chronological se-
quence.
We do not see the issues of
specific events like the transit
strike. Hentoff mentions in
passing that it happened, and

then, later, asks someone hu
happens to be interviewing how
he thinks Lindsay handled the
strike. But in between he re-
ports verbatim conversations
with Mary Lindsay, and discuss-
es such important subjects as
(1) both Hentoff and Lind-
say's son have the same t o y
firetruck (which is pedal oper-
ated), (2) the Parks Depart-
ment man in spite of Mrs.
Lindsay's request would n o t
throw out Wagner's "terrible
lampshades", and (3) hn thinks
it's "sad" that the Lindsay fam-
ily has to find excuses for an
evening at the theatre. By the
time Hentoff gets beyond triv-
ia to the transit strike again,
you don't know what Hentoff's
point is-nor does he.
HENTOFF IS RARELY re-
porting the news as it happens;
he lists events of which we are
supposed to have prior and
complete knowledge and h a s
rambling discussions with peo-
ple about them.
Even in his final section, his
first real attempt to analyze
Lindsay's politics, he still plays
Boswell, beginning the assess-
ment by quoting from the Wall
Street Journal. "John Lindsay
hasn't lived up to anyone's ex-
pectations, but he's done better
than anyone expected."
Yet amidst this confused re-
porting, Hentoff still reveals the
arrogance and the honesty of
John Lindsay. He is writing at
his best when he follows Lind-
say on a walking tour through
Harlem during the sanitation
strike. He shows Lindsay stri-
ding alone through the garbage,
walking so that he could under-
stand his voters, but walking too
fast to hear what they were say-
ing. But here again, this is not
Hentoff's analysis. He is quo-
ting the other reporters he is
walking with.
In his final assessment of
Lindsay he is ambivalent. All
the way through he is in awe
of Lindsay's moral purity. As a
Congressmen he shows Lindsay
going out on a limb to protect
civil liberties. As mayor, Lind-
say backs away from political
deals, aids minority groups. But
he agonizes over Lindsay's more
recent - less civil libertarian
stance - Lindsay refused to let
George Wallace speak in Shea
Stadium; Lindsay sponsored a
bill which will impose martial
law on the city whenever the
major thinks "clear and present
danger of a riot or other dis-
order" may exist.
All this "troubles" Hentoff.
But because Lindsay is "sincere"
Hentoff concludes that Lindsay
is the best mayor of New York
since La Guardia. He supports
Lindsay finally because Lindsay
is "trying to do the right thing."

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When
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got a company
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looks like.

But Procaccino aid Marchi
are also "trying to do the right
thing" or so they say. And Hent-
off leaves a lot of important
questions unanswered. He does
not explain why five top level
administrative aides left the
Lindsay administration. And he
never explains why Lindsay sec-
onded Agnew at the Republican
National Convention in Miami.
He asks Lindsay about it, and
Lindsay says he supported Ag-
new because he wanted to re-
main strong in the Republican
party.
But in the same breath Lind-
say says he knew the party
would never choose him for vice-
president because of his stand
against the Vietnam war, and
his desire to uplift the blacks.
IIENTOFF DOES not see the
contradiction of Lindsay being
Republican under these circum-
stances. He says Lindsay's pro-
Agnew speech semed "sensible.-
And in the end, we don't know
much more about the enigma
John Lindsay than we did when
we began, except that Hentoff
is confused about him too.

Todiy's writers .. .
DANIEL JONES is a Ph.D.
candidate in biochemistry here
at the University and an in-
frequent contributor to BOOKS.
LANIE LIPPINCOTT is a
senior editor of The Daily from
New York. She worked for the
Lindsay campaign this past
summer while vacationing from
her Daily post with the New
York Times.

v V ----

Four-fifths of our management
at Hughes-Fullerton are
engineers. So we're technically
oriented. As the chart shows, 27%.
of the staff are assigned
engineering or scientific tasks in
our field of large information
systems. Another 24% have
technical support assignments.
We're set up so that draftsmen
draft; technicians work at lab
benches; and engineers engineer.

To develop sophisticated
information systems, we need a
wide range of technical disciplines.
This 1968 chart gives some idea of
our requirements. One man in
five has a Masters or Doctorate in
his specialty.

Many of our technical staff
continue graduate studies under
company-sponsored educational
programs. Each year, advanced
degrees are earned this way.
Support for fellowship programs
has steadily increased. In 1959,
three Ph.D. and 15 M.S. Fellows
were supported by Hughes-
Fullerton. During the 1969/70
school year, 29 Ph.D. and 50 M.S.
Fellows are being supported.

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Current activities include: phased-array frequency-scanning radar
svstems; real-time general-purpose computers; real-time
programming and systems software; displays; data processing;
satellite and surface communications systems; missile systems;
and tactical command/control systems.
For more information on opportunities at Hughes-Fullerton in
Southern California-and to arrange for an interview with Staff

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