Limiting Science: a Summary

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David Baltimore’s written work of Limiting Science: A Biologist’s Perspective discusses the controversy of research in molecular biology and its limitless freedom, disputing there should be freedom in which direction science heads, but the public should decide the pace at which it goes. Baltimore first begins his argument with the discussion of how molecular biology began. It was born from individual sciences where attempts at trying to solve the mysteries in these fields led to the realization that the answers lied in genetics. Advances in the field are what really are at the heart of this discussion though. The most critical one is the development of recombinant DNA where DNA can be multiplied for an indefinite period, but the potential of this process has scared some scientists, even Baltimore himself, about unforeseen events. This led to even more unsettling questions that inevitably hurt the field of genetics, which Baltimore goes on to explain that the dangers have been blown out of proportion. The most common subject that comes to discussion through these fears is genetic engineering. Baltimore delves into the two techniques for altering imperfect genes, and then raises two questions that normally pop up. Who gets to decide what genes get altered and how will they decide it will be done? For Baltimore this presents a dilemma of both ethics and morals and thus presents the real problem at heart. To clarify the argument against recombinant DNA research Baltimore presents to the reader similar arguments. After he gives us the danger of actively researching genetic engineering, Baltimore flips the coin and argues the danger of restricting it. His theory is that the criterion used to decide how science should be handled reflects a dominant principle of governing. This should not be allowed to control scientific advances nor should science be the servant to this ideology, mainly because of the repercussions on society it could...
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