“生物安全”的伦理性

一个不祥的新词已经悄悄潜入生命科学和生物制药研究:“生物安全”(biosecirity)。这个词反映出人们已经日渐意识到,生命科学领域和生物制药领域的飞速进步有可能给人类带来巨大的福利,但使科学进步成为可能的那些知识、工具、技术也可能被滥用,造成故意伤害。

生物技术研究是一项真正的全球事业,所以任何解决这一“二元应用”困境的努力最终都必须是国际性的。在确保风险管理的种种努力能增强安全,加强国际协作以确保非恶意使用科学进步方面,国际科学界将发挥重要作用。

最近,我和路易斯维尔大学的罗纳德·阿特拉斯教授一起向《科学》杂志递交了一份题为《生命科学的伦理规范》的提案。我们提出的需要一种规范及其内容的要求,遇到了各种互相激烈冲突的观点的冲击。科学界日益认识到科学本身不是不受价值控制的活动,因此,选择从事何种研究,如何从事一定要服从于伦理原则。但是,还是有一群科学家反对这一观念。他们争辩说绝对不应该限制对新知识的研究,只有在对该知识进行应用时,伦理原则才相关。

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