“People once worried about the boundary between the living and the nonliving. Today, the boundary seems meaningless….”
— Attributed to Francis Crick
(now among the nonliving)
the above novel:
“My name is David Tennant, M.D.
I’m professor of ethics at the
University of Virginia Medical School,
and if you’re watching
this tape, I’m dead.”
From a public-relations newsletter
of the University of Southern California’s
Health Sciences Campus
dated April 20, 2001:
W. French Anderson, the physician and scientist who carried out the first human gene therapy clinical trial, will discuss the ethical issues involved in human genetic engineering and how science fiction has shaped the public’s perception of this budding new technology, Thursday, May 3, at noon, in USC’s Mayer Auditorium.
The lecture, titled “Frankenstein, GATTACA and Gene Therapy,” is free and open to the public. Mayer Auditorium is located on USC’s Health Sciences campus.
In his talk, Anderson will analyze the book Frankenstein and its filmic progeny and discuss how the Frankenstein story has captured the public’s imagination. He will also examine the ethical and moral issues raised by the book and movies and address the charge that, like Dr. Frankenstein, today geneticists are attempting to play God.
Anderson will evaluate the 1997 movie GATTACA, a cautionary tale about injustice in a 21st century society run by genetically “superior” elites. Anderson, who was a scientific consultant for the movie and is now proposing to carry out the first in utero gene therapy trial, will discuss the impact of GATTACA on the public’s understanding of genetic engineering.
See also the previous entry,
on Anderson’s arrest Friday
on charges of child molestation.
For the origin of the title GATTACA,
see The Diamond Code.