Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Genome issues

April 10, 2002

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To the editor:

In "Era of biotechnology: Investors pursue new park," you quote the impresario of a Lawrence biotechnology center as stating: "The human genome project will change the way medicine will be practiced it will change the way we treat diseases"

"The way medicine will be practiced" is ultimately a political question. That the biotechnology era promises to be the "biggest growth opportunity since the beginning of civilization" underscores our critical need to re-evaluate "free market medicine." Last year, the Health Care Finance Administration (HCFA) paid $423 billion of public money to this so-called "private" industry. Yet nearly a third of the adult population remains uninsured. This is only going to get worse as biotechnology develops new ways to care for sick rich people.

It is, in my opinion, a consequence of irresponsible journalism that genome marketing hype goes unchallenged. NPR has been a principal culprit having suspended all skepticism in routinely reciting genome press releases.

If there are any journalists left in this society, they would provide a real service by critically evaluating our emerging model of the human organism. Genome industrialists advance as a FACT that which is only a hypothesis that the "human spirit" ARISES FROM the genes, and that all "illness" arises from WITHIN the individual. There are alternative hypotheses. Are you a body or are you IN a body? Are there external forces which act upon you, which are mediated by the "human spirit" but NOT controlled by your genes?

Robert Casad, Jr.,

Lawrence

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