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January 20, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-20

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4- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 20, 1994

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

JosH DUBow
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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Genetic revolution must be ethical

The world is now witness to the
Chinese government's adoption of a
meant to fine-tune
society by abort-
ing inferior (dam-k
aged, at-risk, etc.)
fetuses. China's
interest in eugen-
ics is more than a
challenge to whatI .R
many in the West
might interpret as
values; it is mankind's first (inevitable)
attempt to use genetic research to assert
the godlike powers of creation.
The question to ask is not What is
sinful? It is To what degree should
humans interfere with the natural pro-
cesses of life? Though most geneticists
are equally as horrified by the policy,
society must still deal with the moral
dilemma that genetic research has pre-
It seems to me that all people share
a manifest destiny, though not one de-
fined as intergalactic.(or some such)
imperialism. Rather, our manifest des-
tiny is the acquisition of knowledge,
which is simultaneously a driving force
behind and the centerpiece of most
human activity.
Those who question the prudence
or morality of research projects, there-
fore; often tread on the thin ice of anti-
intellectualism. How then can society
reconcile the seemingly benign acqui-
sition of knowledge with the perpetual
threat of its abuse?
The Human Genome Project, whose
new chief is the University's own Dr.
Francis Collins, is in the process of
mapping every gene in the human body.
One of the goals is the identification

and correction of those genes that in-
crease vulnerability to such diseases as
breast cancer, alcoholism, and cystic
fibrosis. (The cystic fibrosis gene was
identified here at the University.)
The problems are inevitable. Tech-
nology will eventually allow the par-
ents to engineer their unborn to perfec-
tion. The ramifications have not es-
caped researchers on campus. Dr. Joel
Howell, director of the University's
Program in Society and Medicine, asks,
"Do we want all our children to be tall,
brilliant, and athletically gifted? If ge-
netic technology is able to produce
some (or all) of these characteristics, it
has the potential of being used to per-
petuate whatever cultural and social
stereotypes are operating at a given
Other recent breakthroughs have
shortened the path to moral crisis. Re-
searchers have managed to fertilize
eggs which were removed from the ova
of aborted mouse fetuses. They intend
to use the same procedure on human
fetuses to help infertile women. Such
technology cuts straight to the heart of
how we define human life and its per-
ceived role in nature.
The first child born of that proce-
dure must eventually confront the cir-
cumstances of his birth. If he believes
the fetus from which the eggs were
removed was not a human being, he
may well question the legitimacy of his
own life, knowing that he alone in the
worldhasnobiologicalmother; unique,
but unnatural. On the other hand, if he
were to accept the fact that the fetus
was a human being, he must suffer the
horror ofknowing his biological mother
was aborted well before he was con-
Researchers have also learned to

clone cells and fertilized eggs, again as
an alternative for the infertile. Because
most people inherently possess some
degree of spirituality (though, not nec-
essarily religion) and concern for their
role in the grander scheme of things,
these moral conflicts cannot be ignored
-which returns us to the unanswered*
question of how to reconcile genetic
engineering and our current system of
Those -who wish to suppress ge-
netic research should think again. His-
tory shows the impossibility and dubi-
ous morality of suppressing scientific
curiosity. The solution lies in immedi-
ate and open discussion, among ex-
perts and in the Congress and legisla-0
tures, as a means to develop an ethical
system to clearly define which activi-
ties are helpful and which are detri-
mental to society.
Of course, that does not relieve sci-
entists of their responsibility to exam.-
ine the ethical value of their projects;
Researchers cannot shrug their shoul-
ders and leave the issue of ethics to
society, as some have done in defense
of recent projects. Dr. Howell states,
"Scientists are always a part of ...
society, and share with all members the
obligation to consider the ethical im-
plications of their work."
But the fast pace of technological
progress does not leave us much time.
Combined with the drugs developed as
personality (Prozac) and memory en-
hancers, genetic technology has opened
the doors to the creation of society's
greatest nightmare: the superhuman.
The coming genetic revolution must be
met with a system of ethics capable of
predicting-then accordingly accom-
modating or mitigating - its conse-

Willing to work
together for change
To the Daily:
I am pissed. On Saturday, Jan. 15
I went to a very nice after party of
State Street - a Black after-party.
Can you guess how it ended? Yup,
the cops decided us Black folks were
having too much fun and we were
being a public nuisances, so they
came and broke up the party. There
were no drugs at the party, and
alcohol wasn't being served. There
weren't even many people there.
Nevertheless, the Ann Arbor Police
Department dispatched half its force
to "deal with us."
I'm not one to yell "racism" all
the time, but this is ridiculous.
Whenever there is a "Black" party at
the Union, the cops are there to make
sure we behave. Not only do they
rope off parts of the Union so we
don't accidentally wander off, they
are also there afterwards to make
sure we act civilized. Does the Ann
Arbor Police Department feel that we
are too immature to take care of
ourselves? This isn't fair. You never
see any cops at a Fiji party, unless

someone gets alcohol poisoning from
the cheap beer they serve.
I'm tired of bitchin' and moaning
about how unfairly we get treated
because that really doesn't help the
situation. It's time for us as Blacks to
show a united front when it comes to
these issues. And, I'm not just talking
about Blacks, because white, Black,
Asian, Latino - we're all God's
children. I'm also not just talking
about what some whites do to us; I'm
also talking about what we do to each
other. You know, sistas talking about
one another and brothas frontin' on
each other. That is WHACK!
We must work together to change
things here and everywhere. I'm
willing. Are you?
LSA senior
With fans... who
needs athlNetes?'
To the Daily:
Who needs athletes? Perhaps
without realizing it, Andrew Levy
begs this question by overstating the
role of fans in his article "Without
the fans, where is sport?" (1/13/94)

Who needs athletes? You do, Mr.
Levy, along with every other sports
fan who wants sports to watch.
I am stating the obvious? Fine,
then let us put to rest any notion that
the fans are more important than the
athletes, or more essential than the
producers who organize spectator
Take men's basketball. It starts
with a bunch of guys playing hoops.
After that, it is all supply and
demand. The athletes play for any of
a number of reasons. They enjoy it,
they want the money, they want the
attention, or maybe they just enjoy
making spectators happy. They do
not play as a favor to the fans, they
play for themselves, as they should.
The next step is that some
promoters risk time and money on
the intuition that there might be a
demand for watching these men play,
ball. If they are wrong and there is no
demand, then they go bankrupt.
The final components are the
fans. They have a choice to attend the
games or not. That is all. If fans want
to have any influence on the game,
they can complain to the producers,
or they can boycott games and hope
that the producers make changes to

College Roundup l
M1 n~ 10 K 1( 1 1 100 1

Recent occurrences of bathroom
"peeping" and assaults have brought to
light once again the neglected state of
campus safety at Michigan State Uni-
Two assaults occurred last month
in women's bathrooms in Snyder and
Mason halls, when an unknown male
assailant grabbed the victims' buttocks
and groin while they were showering.
Campus police are searching for the
man and have released composite draw-
ings of the attacker to better their
chances of tracking him down.
In another, unrelated incident, aman

ing to police, the man would lurk in the
bathroom until a woman came in, jump
out and startle her, then run out of the
bathroom and leave the hall.
While searching for the attackers
offers victims a small chance of bring-
ing their assailants to justice, such ef-
forts would not be necessary if the
MSU community invested more re-
sources in preventing these and other
campus crimes.
As usual, the MSU Department of
Police and Public Safety is advising all
campus residents to keep their doors
locked at all times, not prop open resi-

starting point for campus safety, truly
comprehensive safety programs would
far exceed these.
For example, campus officials be-
gan installing locks on bathroom doors,
a preventative step that should have
been taken long ago. Since residence
halls have long offered locks on bike
and study rooms, bathroom locks would
seem a logical extension of these safety
measures and certainly are more prac-
tical than asking residents to have
friends wait outside the bathroom while
they shower.
Residence halls also should install
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