Crop Bio-terrorism Using Genetic Weapons: Horrifying Scenario

The New Scientist published this scary article in reaction to new reports from the US Agriculture Department about unorthodox terrorist risk scenarios. It’s one more example of why uncontrolled genetic engineering is perhaps the greatest present long-term threat to the human species — far more dangerous in fact than nuclear weapons. If we regulate plutonium technology and know-how with extreme security, why aren’t we regulating genetic engineering technology and know-how just as carefully? Until we have effective means of quickly detecting and stopping genetic weapons we should be extremely careful about disseminating knowledge and technology that would potentially help terrorists or rogue states to cause harm. This is of course a very hairy ethical issue that could be debated endlessly. My point is not to limit scientific progress — but on the other hand, not all scientific progress is “good” — it’s only good if humanity is ready to handle it responsibly.