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September 18, 1972

Genetic Engineering

Author Affiliations

Michigan State University East Lansing

JAMA. 1972;221(12):1409-1410. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200250048019

To the Editor.—  Your recent EDITORIAL on genetic engineering exemplifies specious logic based on an Aristotelian world view completely at odds with contemporary science. We agree with an earlier statement in The Journal1 that, before proceeding with human genetic engineering, moral and ethical considerations ought to be examined. The examination must, however, proceed from sound basic assumptions, which Dr. Ramsey and the EDITORIAL have failed to provide.Dr. Ramsey proposes that genetic engineering constitutes unethical experimentation on the unborn human subject, then he enumerates the imagined evils that will inevitably follow "the final triumph of manufacturing over human parenthood." The EDITORIAL argues that "human procreation ought to be an act involving the total human person," and an individual cannot reach a "full measure of dignity" unless "called into being" by an act of human sexual union in the traditional sense. This view is logically indistinguishable from the idea that