Ethical Concerns (Gary Comstock, Bioethicist)

Gary Comstock is a bioethics professor at Iowa State who wrestles with ethical issues surrounding genetically engineered organisms.

Transcript: Ethical concerns

I [would] like to distinguish two types of ethical objections to agricultural biotechnology: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic objections are objections that the technology is wrong in and of itself. [Genetic engineering is] playing God or it's unnatural. It's tinkering with species boundaries. Intrinsic objections to agricultural biotech say whatever the benefits might be, no matter how great they might be in the end we shouldn't be doing this. Extrinsic objections are of a different sort. They focus on the consequences and they're sort of cost/benefit objections which are of the sort that there may be some good benefits. We may be able to feed hungry people. Farmers may be safer because they don't have to spray chemicals on these new crops. And those are clearly benefits. But the risks, the potential harms, are so great that we shouldn't proceed with the technologies.

Tags: bioethics biotechnology breeding ethics Explore More Gary Comstock genetic engineering genetically modified organisms genetics policy viewpoints




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Explore More: Genetic Engineering
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