The Descent of Man: Will Altering the Course of Evolution Save or Destroy Us?

Should we ever intentionally drive a species to extinction? Most people probably agree with deadly diseases like smallpox and malaria, but what about the New World screwworm? Its very existence in the wild causes horrific suffering. Humans sometimes struggle to accept the fact that nature is amoral, because evolution doesn't care. Now, though, we have technologies that make it far easier to intervene than it ever has been, and we are faced with the choice of whether or not to use them. This a test of moral character as much as it is of scientific achievement. Do we care more about leaving the natural world untouched, knowingly allowing animals to suffer when we could intervene? Or do we interfere? Are we gardeners, or park rangers? And who gets to decide?

Festival: 2017

Watch and Listen: Science

In 1930, a 19-year-old Indian graduate student, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, came up with the first mathematical proof... See more
For seven years, the Cassini spacecraft and its Huygens probe traveled invisible interplanetary roads to the place we... See more
Consumer demands, cost containment, and technological evolution are stimulating innovation in how and where care is... See more
"Personalized medicine" holds great promise for optimizing the effectiveness of drug therapies based on our genetic... See more
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Anthony S. Fauci, MD, offers a briefing on the... See more
With nearly 78 million baby boomers turning 60 last year, it is estimated that someone in America develops Alzheimer's... See more

Pages