Playing God

  • Genetic science has opened a moral and political Pandora’s box. Should insurance companies have access to genetic information? Is widespread revulsion at the prospect of human cloning justified, or must our values adapt to the new boundaries between chance and choice?

    No other chapter of our science, including cosmology, has been more exciting in recent decades than genetics. And none has been remotely as portentous for the kinds of lives our descendants will lead. Some of the moral and political problems which the new technology presents are in the future. If it becomes possible to clone human beings, for example, or radically to alter the chromosomes of an early foetus to make a child more intelligent or less aggressive, then people will have to decide whether these interventions should be forbidden or not. But many of the problems are already upon us. Tests, for example, can identify genetic predictors of disease or of predisposition to disease. So we already face difficult questions about how far and when these tests should be allowed, or required, or forbidden; and how far employers and insurance companies should be allowed to ask for the results.

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  • “Should insurance companies have access to genetic information?”

    Insurance companies themselves are godly. Ever noticed the common theme among the holy and the shrewd?


    Three similarities between insurance industry and world religions.

  • Insurance companies are just one aspect of the greatest dilemma the human-race has ever faced, the role of genetics in shaping our future.

    We will have to face the challenge - what is moral or immoral.

    " Playing God is indeed playing with fire. But that is what we mortals have done ever since Prometheus, the patron saint of dangerous discovery. We play with fire and accept the consequences, because the alternative is an irresponsible cowardice in the face of the unknown.""