I was shocked by Bill McKibben's Jan. 6 op-ed article, "A Threat to Our Coherent Human Future." He wrote: "Robert Lanza . . . called the Raelian announcement 'appalling,' 'irresponsible' and 'a sad day for science.' Yet Lanza, two years ago, predicted that soon we would not just be cloning children but genetically souping them up: 'We're close to being able to add 20 or 30 IQ points, and an equivalent boost of their muscle mass,' to embryos, he said, adding, 'Who among us wouldn't say "yes"?' "
This misrepresents what I said at the State of the World Forum in 2000.
I did say that technology already existed to genetically increase muscle mass in animals by knocking out a gene known as myostatin and that someday scientists might figure out how to increase human intelligence. I also posed the question "What parent would not want to increase their child's IQ 20 or 30 points?" But I used this to illustrate the strong pressure that will develop to use cloning and genetic engineering to tamper with the human genome. I stated repeatedly that this "crossed the line" and was wrong.
Human evolution has taken millions of years, and it would be arrogant and foolhardy for us to think we can design a better person through science.
ROBERT P. LANZA
Medical and Scientific Development
Advanced Cell Technology Inc.