13th annual Municipal Finance Conference


13th annual Municipal Finance Conference



3:00 pm EST - 5:00 pm EST

Past Event

The Pursuit of Perfection: A Debate on the Ethics of Genetic Engineering

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST

Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC

“Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise,” writes political philosopher Michael Sandel in the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly, “is that we may soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may also enable us to manipulate our own nature.”


As a range of genetic-enhancing therapies becomes a scientific reality, human beings wield increasing power to redesign their bodies, their memories, their intelligence and their moods. But to what end? What are the potential costs? How should public policy reflect these choices?

Sandel, a Harvard professor and a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, and genetics expert Lee Silver appeared at this briefing on biotechnology, public policy, and the quest for perfection sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Brookings Institution.