Why Asilomar conference was a bad idea, Victor McElheny
Interviewee: Victor McElheny.
Former New York Times science journalist Victor McElheny talks about why he thought the "Moratorium Letter" was asking for trouble.
(DNAi Location: Manipulation > Revolution > Players > The controversy > Why the moratorium was a disaster)
Because I thought it invited thunderbolts from heaven. The world is an irrational place and I reported about science, in part I think by an idealistic devotion to science as the only rational raft that we can be on. And here we were about to dash a lot of quite realistic hopes with ill-informed political and public interference. I knew the letter would give rise to a sort of fire-storm of ill-informed brave new world stuff.
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In 1974, scientists in the field of recombinant DNA drafted a letter calling upon "scientists throughout the world" to suspend certain types of studies until hazards could be assessed. Paul Berg talks about the "Moratorium Letter."