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could combat this prevalent neurotic condition of many modern doctors who fear nothing more than having to reflect on Sundays, and so escape into ever new diversions. I believe that every medical practitioner in addition to the scientist should read this book, particularly in these days of preoccupation with the biologic and medical significance of human death and, additionally, thanks to Paul Weiss leading the few, of human life. Jacobus W. Mostert, M.D. Department ofAnesthesiology University of Chicago Genetic Fix. By Amitai Etzioni. New York: Macmillan Co., 1973. Pp. 276. $7.95. This is among the few outstanding books on the future ofbiomedical interventions . The author is a professor of sociology at Columbia University and is director of the Center for Policy Research. The book includes a first-person account of a conference on the implications of progress in genetics which was held in Paris under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization and UNESCO. The author speaks, listens, thinks, and develops all sides of each argument. His vivid account of the dialogue, the participants, his introspections, and conclusions are informative and provocative. He has done his homework on the biological aspects of heredity. Many of the common predictions on genetic engineering are not likely to come true in the near future. The author knows this but is rightfully concerned that the ethics of proposed interventions and the ethics of some current lines of research be examined and debated. Much of the drama of the conference developed over the research of Colin R. Austin, who aims at human fertilization in vitro with the transfer of early embryos to the uterus. Possible dysgenic trends in reproduction are discussed, and the author added a chapter of his reflections on proposals to breed a superior race. The conferees discussed the right to know, to decide, to consent, and to donate. There is a chapter on a paper presented by Dr. Hilton A. Salhanick which reviewed the use of antifertility pills and their unwanted effects. At the conference the author proposed the creation of local, national, and international health-ethics commissions to explore and pass on the social issues raised by biomedical interventions. An international commission was conceived at the conference but has not been formed. In a postscript, the author reflects on the long road to social change. He adds eight appendixes representing relevant statements . Although not of central importance in the book, the author's views on the ethics of the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry seem to me to be too harsh. It is true that some clinical investigations have violated the rights of the patients and that some drugs have proved to be more harmful than was claimed. But the medical profession is quietly and strongly self-corrective. If one reviews the entire scope of medical progress, our medical researchers have done a remarkably good job of safeguarding patients while improving therapy. Similarly , the pharmaceutical industry has within it an order of self-discipline that is almost unknown outside of the industry. It is frequently true that the sales division of a pharmaceutical house tends to regard anything that sells or is judged likely to sell as good medicine. After a plea to look at the positive side of medical and pharmaceutical ethics, I agree with Professor Etzioni that biomediPerspectives in Biology and Medicine ยท Summer 1974 | 593 cal interventions are the concern of everyone and that it may be helpful to organize commissions of physicians, biologists, social scientists, theologians, lawyers, economists, and laymen to aid in the guiding of research and the application of knowledge. DwightJ. Ingle Professor Emeritus University of Chicago Educability and Group Differences. By Arthur R. Jensen. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. Pp. 407. $10.00. This book is nothing less than an attempt to prove that the minority population of socially defined Negroes in the United States is inferior to the white majority in respect to the genetic determinants of general intellectual ability. In spite of the title and perhaps half a dozen pages devoted to social class differences in general ability, the main burden of the book is a wide-ranging attack upon a purely environmental explanation of the typically poor average performance exhibited...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 593-594
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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