- Apr 8, 2020
The new CRISPR gene technology is posing ethical questions for scientists.
Pope Francis on Saturday named Irish Bishop Paul Tighe the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, essentially cementing his status as the top aide to Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. For the better part of a decade Tighe has been an effective emissary for the headquarters of the Catholic Church, among other reasons because he’s widely regarded as perhaps the Vatican’s nicest guy.
It became official this week: We can now edit the genetic material of embryos. It’s being hailed as a major breakthrough to fight disease, but as the movie “Gattaca” so brilliantly demonstrated two decades ago, there are numerous, profound ethical questions when such a practice is normalized. If we wait for our grandchildren to resolve them, it will be too late.
Arthur Caplan, the founding head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University, answered ethical questions about new technology in the field of genetics that might allow disease to be engineered out of embryos.
“Nature is so complex and rich and that prompts questions about why on earth is this the case? If you’re an atheist, how do you explain a universe that seems to have the capacity to produce these things in the first place?” asked Alister McGrath, an Oxford theologian who is director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion that hosted the conference at Oxford.