A respondent over at Mere Comments gets right to the heart of what the scientific and technological ethos is (i.e., Technopoly):
“If we can do it, it’s right” and “If we can do it, we do it” which resolve to “it’s right if I do it.” Always an ethics committee is there to help sear the consciences of those involved.
These are precisely the guiding principles of university ethics panels that permit creation of genetic chimeras, promote embryonic stem cell usage and human cloning and the recent NAS “guidelines.”
Does it remind you of anything else? How about the Tower of Babel:
“Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
To this I respond,
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
Proverbs 3:7 (NIV)