There was a time when it might be presumed that the scientist or the people overseeing the science might know when and have the courage to put on the brakes. I am not sure that even those who think it would be prudent are ready to place limits on where we are determined to go to find answers to our many questions. I am fairly confident that many would consider the limitations more immoral than any of the outcomes of our dangerous exploration of such enemies of people, their lives, and their world. But we shall see.
In any case, what we in the U.S. are willing to fund in research on pathogens may not be enough to discourage or limit what others are interested in doing. Right now, the projects must be funded and vetted by the agencies that fund or oversee them and by the review committees of universities, hospitals, and quasi-governmental agencies that live and are responsible for what happens under cover. In any case, the reprieve commonly issued against those agencies and institutions exploring the unknown have not receded at all from the prominence before politicians and government edit.
St. Paul said it best. Not everything possible is beneficial. I only wish that we took this to heart. I only wish we believed that what is possible is not always good for us. But it seems that the possible is the unmistakable magic we cannot resist. So if we can, we will. Whether it is right and good and beneficial to us and our lives or not. Right now we have about as much self-control as a teenager who stands transfixed by the forbidden by the sudden distraction of others.
Maybe that is our role in society -- to be those voices who warn when we are getting dangerously close to the edge. Well, if that is what we are supposed to do, then let us do it.
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