操控基因、植入晶片... 用科學「改良」人類好嗎?

1975年諾貝爾生醫學獎得主大衛.巴爾的摩去年底在一場針對基因編輯的安全與倫理的國際研討會上發言。 美聯社
 

We Don't Trust Scientists to Make Us Better

 

科學家改良人類 美國人不放心

Americans aren't very enthusiastic about using science to enhance the human species. Instead, many find it rather creepy.

 

A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows a profound distrust of scientists, a suspicion about claims of progress and a real discomfort with the idea of meddling with human abilities. The survey also opens a window into the public's views on what it means to be a human being and what values are important.

美國人不太熱中用科學來強化人類。相反的,許多人認為這種想法令人毛骨悚然。

皮尤研究中心的一項新調查顯示,美國人對科學家有很深的不信任感,對他們宣稱的進步感到懷疑,對於干預人類能力的想法真的很不安。這項調查也打開了一扇窗,讓我們一窺一般大眾對於身為人類意義何在,以及那些價值才重要的看法。

Pew asked about three techniques that might emerge in the future but that are not even close to ready now: using gene editing to protect babies from disease, implanting chips in the brain to improve people's ability to think, and transfusing synthetic blood that would enhance performance by increasing speed, strength and endurance.

 

The public was unenthusiastic on all counts, even about protecting babies from disease. Most, at least seven out of 10, thought scientists would rush to offer each of the technologies before they had adequately tested or even understood them.

皮尤問了三種未來可能出現,但目前離就緒階段還很遠的科技:利用基因編輯來預防嬰兒生病;把晶片植入腦部改進人們的思考能力;輸入能提高速度、力量和耐力以增強體能的人造血。

大眾對三者都不熱中,連預防嬰兒生病都不例外。大多數人,至少占十分之七,認為三者中的任何一項,科學家都會在充分測試、甚或了解這些科技之前就急著提供給大眾。

Two-thirds say they would not want the enhancement technologies for themselves. And even though genetic manipulations appear more frightening than a chip or artificial blood, which might be removed, the public finds it slightly more acceptable to change a baby's genes than to enhance human abilities.

 

Religiosity affected attitudes on these issues. The more religious people said they were, the less likely they were to want genetic alterations of babies or technologies to enhance adults. The differences were especially pronounced between evangelical Protestants and people who said they were atheists or agnostics.

三分之二的受訪者說,他們不要強化他們自己能力的科技。而且儘管操控基因比晶片或人造血更令人害怕,因為後二者也許能移除,但大眾對改變嬰兒基因的接受度,卻比增強人類能力略高。

宗教信仰影響對這些議題的態度。自認宗教信仰愈虔誠的人,愈沒有改變嬰兒的基因或用科技強化成年人的需要。福音教派新教徒和自稱為無神論者或不可知論者之間的差別特別明顯。

For example, 63 percent of evangelical Protestants said gene editing to protect babies from serious diseases was meddling with nature. In contrast, 81 percent of atheists and 80 percent of agnostics said it was not fundamentally different from other ways humans have tried to better themselves.

 

Cary Funk, an associate director at Pew and lead researcher for the survey, said she was surprised by the extent of the public's worries. "These are appealing ideas: being healthier, improved minds, improved bodies," she said. And she was surprised that the public seemed nearly equally worried about all three of the technologies. After all, she said, "these are three different kinds of technologies, for different purposes."

 

The survey queried a nationally representative sample of 4,700 adults, supplemented by discussions with six focus groups.

例如,63%的福音教派新教徒說,以編輯基因來預防嬰兒重大疾病是干涉自然。相反地,81%的無神論者和80%的不可知論者說,這與人類試圖改進自己的其他方式,基本上沒有不同。

皮尤中心副主任、這項調查的首席研究員凱莉.方克說,她很訝異一般大眾憂慮如此之深。她說:「這是些很討好的想法:更健康、更好的頭腦、更好的身體。」而且她很訝異大眾對這三種科技憂慮程度幾乎一樣。她說,畢竟,「這是三種不同的科技,用途也不同。」

這項調查以具有全國代表性的4700名成年人為詢問樣本,佐以與6個焦點團體的討論。

 

(文/Gina Kolata;譯/田思怡)


 

說文解字看新聞

用科學來改變人類,總有倫理道德上的顧慮(ethics concerns),例如複製人(human cloning)或生化人(cyborg),生化人也稱為改造人。

本文提到三種強化人類的方法,類似生化人的概念,包括基因編輯(gene editing)、植入晶片(chip implant)和人造血(synthetic blood或artificial blood)。

雖然這三種科技都還沒實現,但已令人害怕,從皮尤的民調可以證實。有宗教信仰的人(religious people)更不能接受用科技來強化人類(using technologies to enhance human abilities),認為是干涉自然(meddling with nature)。meddle這個字有管閒事的意思,meddle with有胡搞的意思。

最近俄國的禁藥醜聞(doping scandal)已使俄國田徑選手被禁止參加里約奧運,服用增強體能的藥物都被禁賽,若如文中提到的,輸入人造血來增強體能(transfusing synthetic blood to enhance performance),那麼人類就不必舉辦奧運了。

(文/田思怡)

(Article From:聯合新聞網)

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