Letters, May 9, 1977

Genetic Genie:

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Our progress in "tinkering with life" [April 18] is shocking, terrifying, exciting. It's like watching a baby take its first steps—but then worrying because the stairs are so near. God give us the wisdom—and the courage—to step carefully and avoid the stairs.

Carl E. Fratz Mantua, N.J.

Among scientists-to-be, DNA research has given rise to dreams unequaled since we first began to explore space. To propose an outright ban on this research is folly. Regulation seems necessary, if only to placate an aroused public, but the guidelines for DNA recombination should arise from within science and not from Government or other third parties.

Michael L. Therrien Baltimore

The act of living, as opposed to existing, requires the taking of chances —and perhaps a little faith. The worlds that may be opened by genetic research seem well worth a risk.

David Fischer University City, Mo.

Once the doors to genetic engineering are thrust wide open it will be pursued to its ultimate end: man transformed into a biological machine, manipulated and controlled by the few.

Chuck Huseman Dallas

The whole controversy comes down to one question: Who wants to restrict the progress of brilliant men, working in their own fields without destructive or pecuniary motives?

The answer is simple: the same inferior minds that fought the theory of evolution, freedom of the press, free speech and polio vaccines.

Kenneth Rudman Newton, Mass.

In view of the fact that our so-called human intelligence has already driven some species to extinction, there is only one commandment for us in nature's bible: Thou shalt not tamper.

Jerry A. Shields Dover, Del.

The most dangerous organism of them all: man.

Rebecca Novak Columbus

Perhaps Noah and his friends on the ark were genetic engineers.

L. Brown Barn Bay, N.Z.

The public cannot be asked to swallow, without questioning, the financing of research that has been called both the hope for mankind and a shortcut to doomsday.

Recombination research must be continued, but science has to be willing to allow the public to peer over its shoulder every step of the way.

Eric Dunayer Philadelphia

Free Trade, Phooey

Free trade be damned [April 18]! The first and only obligation of officials in Washington is to the American people! The Japanese worker is living off the fat of the American land at the expense of the American citizen. Our economy depends on our own workers in our own companies producing goods for one another and the balance of the citizenry. The Japanese would make us a nation of onlookers, not workers.

Leo S. Jacobs Oak Park, Mich.

As a former manufacturer in a labor-intensive industry (knitted gloves) now virtually defunct here, I point out that the greater "efficiency" of foreign makers consists mainly of much cheaper labor rates—as low as one-fifth of American rates. When only a few small industries were hurt, who cared? Now that the pinch becomes apparent in the bigger ones, Congress is listening.

What's a "fair share" of the American market? All?

Edward F. Vonderahe Gloversville, N. Y.

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