I once thought overselling science was the biggest threat to scientific credibility. Credibility scientists need to achieve general acceptance in the public, and subsequently continued funding (progress).
Recent developments have made me think that rushing into commercializing new biomedical technology, like embryo sorting and genetic testing may pose a larger threat. Examples are genetic tests for athletic ability and embryo sorting based on more or less uncertain predictions of phenotypes without medical significance.
Granted, athletic testing and embryo sorting will not become a reality for most of us for a long long time. Athletic ability one can usually assess wit the naked eye, and having sex to create offspring is far too much fun for it to go away.
– Then all the more reason to pause and think twice before unleashing commercial products to the unsuspecting and unschooled (in genetics) lay man. Even more reason to pause, when those products have disputable accuracy and are of questionable value
These are the early days of the genomic era, there are many, many things we still do not know, especially when it comes to the nature vs. nurture relationships. Since the future keeps evading finite predictability, absolute disease risks (or any other risks or absolute probabilities for that matter) within the full time span of a human life, remains utopic.
We are moving in the right direction, all-encompassing disease prevention and/or treatment is on the horizon together with increased longevity.
Let’s not screw it up for ourselves. Our credibility is all we have, – please people show some restraint…..