Saturday, November 22, 2008
Nov 24 Kitcher – Ch 11 (Genetalk), McGee Ch 4 (Debunking Myths)
The more that I read about the separation between genotype and phenotype, nature and nurture, genes and traits, the more skeptical I become of science’ ability to predict much about human characteristics through genetic testing. I recognize we have made strides in this field over the past few years, but we still operate under great uncertainty. I don’t know that this means we ought to stop operating, but we should definitely take genetic test results with a grain of salt (as Kitcher suggests in the chapter for today). This means talk of aborting embryos bearing genes which could result in certain diseases ought to cease as well as genetically altering people’s DNA to ‘fix’ their genetic makeup. At the same time, genetic testing can help families prepare for the possibility of bearing children with genetic disorders and hopefully better cope with the hands they are dealt. Since nature and nurture both play key roles in development, why not alter the nurturing environment and leave nature to run its course?