Amniocentesis: A Case Study in the Management of Genetic Engineering

May 01, 1975

Insight into how American society is dealing with recent and potentially far-reaching breakthroughs in genetics and bio-medicine and the personal, social, legal and moral issues they raise, can be gained :hrough studying the fate of one significant new intervention: amniocen- tesis, a test of the amniotic fluid for the purpose of gaining gcnetic information about the fetus. While the cloning of human beings,”test-tube“ babies, genetic surgcry and many other often debated genetic tools are for the present-still science fiction, amniocentesis is already, being performed increasingly on pregnant women and used in deciding whcther or not the fetus should be aborted.

On Medical Feedback Systems

March 27, 1975

“On Medical Feedback Systems,” Evaluation, Vol. 2, No. 2 (1975), p. 11. Published also as “Evaluation Studies Required,” New Scientist, Vol. 65, No. 942 (March 27, 1975), p. 763.

The Energy Forecast

January 06, 1975

Daily predictions about "the next oil-embargo" - what the Arabs will do if the next round of Kissinger negotiation fails, what the international price of a barrel of oil will be in 1983 or our energy needs over the next 10 years-pay little heed to our demonstrated inability to predict such developments in the past.

Public Policy Issues Raised by a Medical Breakthrough

January 01, 1975

Amniocentesis, which detects mongolism and other serious abnormal- ities in a fetus in utero, will prevent the birth of thousandsof afflicted children yearly once current research on its safety justifies its wide use. But this genetic intervention raisescrucial questionsof public policy.

An Engineer-Social Science Team at Work

January 01, 1975

We commonly recognize the complexity of our numerous societal problems by suggesting that their solution requires interdisciplinary teams in which are combined the experience and knowledge of many experts in many fields to face all the main elements of a problem. And we often lament, as James Carrol quoted by Harold Orlans, that the "present compartmentalization of knowledge . . . in the form of academic disciplines is not coincident with social need. However useful this compartmentalization may be for the inner development of knowledge, it is only marginally useful for the resolution of social questions."

Risks of Pregnancy and the Pill

November 14, 1974

One major reason why most doctors who have prescribed birth control pills continue to do so, despite increasing evidence of undesireable side-effects, is that they hold the Pill to be safer than its alternatives.

Human Nature and the Transforming Society

September 01, 1974

The essence of the question of what kind of society we may form-once we are freed from our past repressions and the hangover of our liberation feast-is what kind of material do we have to work with?

Political Science Quarterly

September 01, 1974

Political Science Quarterly, with Pamela Doty, 89, No. 3 (Fall 1974), pp. 647-650 (James Q. Wilson, Political Organizations).

Alternative Conceptions of Accountability

July 01, 1974

The following view of accountability-the guidance approach-is the view closest to my heart. It took me 600-odd pages to explain it elsewhere." Here I will simply susgcst its chief points relevant to the issue at hand.

Off the Beat: Endow N.I.H. to create a National University

May 25, 1974

Recently, the outgoing deputy director of the National Institutes of Health, John F. Sherman, charged that the Nixon Administration's management-minded executives at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the Office of Management and Budget were moving in "with an iron hand" to run the research programs at NIH.


February 01, 1974

“Futurology,” Psychiatry and Social Science Review 5, No. 2 (February 1971), pp. 28-29. (Alvin Toffler, Future Shock.)

Participation in America: Political Democracy and Social Equality

January 01, 1974

Public Opinion Quarterly 37, No. 4 (Winter 1973-74), pp. 659-660 (Sidney Verba and Norman H. Nie, Participation in America: Political Democracy and Social Equality).

Social Implications of the Use and Non-use of New Genetic and Medical Techniques

January 01, 1974

“Social Implications of the Use and Non-use of New Genetic and Medical Techniques,” Protection of Human Rights in the Light of New Scientific and Technological Progress in Biology and Medicine (Geneva: Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences, 1974), pp. 48-75.

Interstate Integration of Students

January 01, 1974

About one in every five American students is attending college in a slate other than the one in which he or she resides. The national percentage for undcrgraduate students is about 17 percent; the ratio for graduate students is somewhat higher.

Biomedicine and Ethics: What Role for Genetic Engineering?

January 01, 1974

If a raving maniac struck your child on the head with an iron bar, causing mental retardation, reduction of life expectancy to seven years, and institutionalization, the act would be considered a horrendous crime. The perpetrator would be instantly incarcerated.