domingo, 2 de diciembre de 2018

BioEdge: Internet scammers target people seeking to die

BioEdge: Internet scammers target people seeking to die


Internet scammers target people seeking to die
Internet scammers are using fake endorsements from well-known euthanasia campaigners to bilk gullible people. According to Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society:
“At any one time there are at least 40 web sites offering to sell the drug Nembutal without the need for a doctor’s prescription. None are known to be reliable. Not only are they fraudulent but sometimes pretend to be part of genuine right-to-die organizations like ERGO or EXIT.
“The latest impersonator has stolen the colored banner and logo from ERGO’s web site. They repeat the words ‘Euthanasia World Directory – Web Site of Hemlock Society Founder Derek Humphry at the top of their web site.”
Mr Humphry says that the scammers charge US$500 to $700 for enough Nembutal to end life painlessly. “A favorite trick of some thieves is to deliver honestly on a couple of orders, gain a good reputation, then when thousands of dollars roll in, fail to respond and close down the web site.” However, says Mr Humphry, whose blog describes him as “serving the rights of competent, terminally ill adults for 30 years”, neither ERGO nor EXIT sells drugs. They only offer “quality advice” on how to kill people who want to die.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Many scientists were aghast this week when a Chinese expert in CRISPR, He Jiankui, announced the birth of gene-edited twins – probably the world’s first “designer babies”.

Dr He is being described as a “rogue scientist” who ignored the rules. But that is the way that whole field of reproductive technology has advanced. Bob Edwards, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for developing IVF, never sought ethics approvals or worried about the safety of the children.

In fact, he was an unashamed eugenicist. As Edwards said in 1999: “Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children.” Edwards did not even seem to worry about the higher rate of birth defects among IVF children. They were just collateral damage of the “clinical imperative”.

Yet now Bob Edwards is regarded as a hero -- because his risky experiment worked.

I think that it is a bit unfair to label Dr He as a rogue. In fact, his robe-tearing, scandalised colleagues agree that editing the human genome is ethical. They are just worried that he did not tick all the boxes and do all the paperwork. This is very bad public relations for them and for the Chinese government.

In fact, given the deteriorating place of human rights in China at the moment, He Jiankui will be lucky to escape a long prison term -- or even execution – to regild the government’s tarnished image as a watchdog of uber-ethical science.

Michael Cook
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