Why do we really care about technologies that can radically transform human biology?
Of all the technologies and practices The Tarrytown Meetings addressed, those that would give us the power to radically alter the biological makeup of future generations raise some of the most fundamental concerns. But different people ground these concerns in different ways: in the need to ensure health and safety; in commitments to social justice, equity and the common good; in human rights and human dignity; in a commitment to fully informed democratic governance of powerful technologies, especially when these are otherwise driven by market forces; in the need for precaution in the face of new technologies of potentially great consequence; in the giftedness of human life, the "yuck factor," and "factor X"; and in theological commitments. In what ways do these and other grounds for our concerns allow us to agree on practices, policies and strategies, and in what ways might they work to divide rather than unite us? Are there grounds for our concerns that are yet to be fully discerned and articulated, and that might resonate deeply with large numbers of people?
In this session, a brief introduction (5 minutes) and three framing presentations (8 minutes each) addressing these and related questions were followed by table discussions among the assembled participants.