Wed, Jan 04, 2006 - Page 9 News List

What is the worst thing that could go wrong with our society?

Academics see gene cloning perils, untamed global warming and personality-changing drugs as presenting the gravest dangers for the future of civilization

By Alok Jha  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

"Almost any scientific discovery has a potential for evil as well as for good. Its applications can be channelled either way, depending on our personal and political choices.

We can't accept the benefits without also confronting the risks. The decisions that we make, individually and collectively, will determine whether the outcomes of 21st century sciences are benign or devastating," Rees said.

Rees argues that the feeling of fatalism will get in the way of properly regulating how science progresses.

The future will best be safeguarded by people who are not too fatalistic, he said.

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