Genetics and the Law II by Bernard D. Davis (auth.), Aubrey Milunsky MB.B. Ch.,

By Bernard D. Davis (auth.), Aubrey Milunsky MB.B. Ch., M.R.C.P., D.C.H., George J. Annas J.D., M.P.H. (eds.)

The legislations is a mandate and a replicate; it either instructions and displays. it's going to now not come as a surprise that scientists and physicians usually favor the replicate from time to time while society seems hard a mandate. this can be very true within the quickly advancing box of clinical genetics, the place fresh discoveries resulting in almost certainly startling purposes have raised outdated questions of legislations in a brand new gentle. however, we think that during basic the clash among the legislation and technological know-how, as illustrated within the box of genetics, is embroi­ dered with exaggeration. the manager Justice of the U.S. very best courtroom, Warren Burger, has famous that "the top functionality of the legislation is to guard uncomplicated human values--individual human values--sometimes even on the rate of medical progress"; and that "it isn't the functionality of the legislation to maintain velocity with science." whereas either one of those statements are actual so far as they pass, we think the legislations needs to make an affirmative attempt to count on clinical advancements in order that these necessary to society may be nurtured instead of stultified. It used to be to nurture cooperation and realizing that we introduced jointly a amazing school of across the world recognized specialists on legislation and genetics to debate their fields in 1975.

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But when action is at stake, then the usual moral rules of responsibility for action come into play: one is obliged to take responsibilities for one's actions, and one can be held accountable for those actions. While we may say there is a right to free scientific inquiry and that freedom to carry out scientific research should exist, it is important to realize that no right or freedom can be unlimited or unrestricted (save the right to think what we please in the privacy of our minds). If even basic research involves action and not just thought, then in principle it seems that we must conclude that the moral rules applying to action in general will have a bearing here as elsewhere.

The regulation of science is within science itself by its very nature; and trying to regulate the whole body science, I think, is just an impossible thought and certainly is based on the erroneous idea that all scientists share everything. MR. RIHITO KIMURA (Tokyo Lawyer; Visiting Scholar, Harvard University): My question is to Dr. Callahan about the limit of regulation within the scientific community. My question is focused on the issues of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki experience in Japan. As you know; a hundred thousand people disappeared almost immediately and still almost one thousand people are dying every year because of this tragedy.

DISCUSSION 27 DR. CALLAHAN: One surely can't be responsible for somebody else's misuse of the knowledge or device you develop. But it seems to me one ought at least to foresee that as a possibility. In some cases one can see that there is almost a likelihood that something will be misused. If one can foresee the likelihood of misuse, then you do, it seems to me, bear a moral responsibility for something. Granted, in most situations we are going to be relatively ignorant. But I would simply argue that any moral agent at least has to take account of what may happen when the good idea goes awry or the good idea is put in the hands of somebody who will not use it properly.

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