The new Edge Magazine has the annual question 2009 online
New tools equal new perceptions.
Through science we create technology and in using our new tools we recreate ourselves. But until very recently in our history, no democratic populace, no legislative body, ever indicated by choice, by vote, how this process should play out.
… While science may or may not be the only news, it is the news that stays news.
And our politicians, our governments? Always years behind, the best they can do is play catch up.
But unfortunately it continues
Nobel laureate James Watson, who discovered the DNA double helix, and genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter, recently were awarded Double Helix Awards from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for being the founding fathers of human genome sequencing. They are the first two human beings to have their complete genetic information decoded.
Watson noted during his acceptance speech that he doesn’t want government involved in decisions concerning how people choose to handle information about their personal genomes.
Venter is on the brink of creating the first artificial life form on Earth. He has already announced transplanting the information from one genome into another. In other words, your dog becomes your cat. He has privately alluded to important scientific progress in his lab, the result of which, if and when realized, will change everything.
Having those two aliens on the front cover and not a scientist with a marked social responsibility will put Edge in the news. But would you still praise Robert Oppenheimer for his scientific achievements?