Lecture: Kevin Esvelt on Gene Editing

Monday, October 16, 2017
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM (ET)
Kimball Hall Seelos Theater
Event Type
Lecture - Speaker
Danielle Kane
McFarland Ctr. for Religion, Ethics and Culture

When should we edit nature? Kevin Esvelt, assistant professor of M.I.T. Media Lab, directs the “sculpting evolution” group at M.I.T., where he and his colleagues are attempting to design molecular tools capable of fundamentally altering the natural world. Technological advances challenge traditional views of the role of science and our obligations to the natural world. Gene drive systems could enable researchers to unilaterally alter the traits of wild populations. 

In this talk, Esvelt addresses the moral questions raised by gene drive research. Is it acceptable to develop technologies for engineering the shared environment behind closed doors? Given the suffering inherent to the natural world, does our newfound ability to intervene impose any moral responsibilities? How can we balance the Rousseau-inspired view of natural as an intrinsic moral good with modern notions of animal welfare? Perhaps most important, can we reform science to benefit wisdom?

Open to the Public

Categories: McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture

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