A Debate on the Intersection of Science & Ethics – Genetic Engineering
Headlines were made worldwide in March after the successful modification of the genes of a fetus in a Chinese laboratory, leading to the embryo having a reduced risk of developing HIV in its lifetime. Yet, the scientific community was enraged to see that seemingly “universal ethical boundaries” were crossed; however, only a few weeks later, scientists at Harvard and MIT in the USA announced a joint collaboration to engineer the genes of a baby to optimize for certain traits to combat disease, leading the way for another scientific revolution. Ultimately, this begs a moral question on the nature of science in contrast to the fabric of society, and the place ethical considerations play in this rapid growth rate of science. Thus, this seminar will invite four powerful speakers at the forefront of the genetic engineering discussion to debate against one another in British Parliamentary style, creating a two-on-two back and forth with one side supporting genetic engineering and the acceleration of scientific discovery while the other will oppose exponential rates and advocate for increased regulatory oversight on the nature of experiments being conducted. All in all, delegates will draw insight on the role ethics ought to play in the face of scientific discovery, and how not all experiments yield a net good for the future of humanity.