1997 State of the World Forum Statement on Life and Evolution
Life is an intimate web of relations that evolves in its own right, interfacing and integrating its myraid diverse elements. The complexity and interdependence of all forms of life have the consequence that the process of evolution cannot be controlled, though it can be influenced. It involves an unpredictable creative unfolding that calls for sensitive participation from all the players, particularly from the youngest, most recent arrivals, human beings.
Life must not be treated as a commodity that can be owned, in whole or in part, by anyone, including those who wish to manipulate it in order to design new life forms for human convenience and profit. There should be no patents on organisms or their parts. We must also recognize the potential dangers of genetic engineering to health and biodiversity, and the ethical problems it poses for our responsibilities to life. We propose a moratorium on commercial releases of genetically engineered products and a comprehensive public enquiry into the legitimate and safe uses of genetic engineering. This enquiry should take account of the precautionary principle as a criterion of sensitive participation in living processes. Species should be respected for their intrinsic natures and valued for their unique qualities, on which the whole intricate network of life depends.
We recognize the validity of the different ways of knowing that have been developed in different cultures, and the equivalent value of the knowledge gained within these traditions. These add substantially to the set of alternative technologies that can be used for the sustainable use of natural resources that allow us to preserve the diversity of species and to pass the precious gift of life in all its beauty and creativity to our children and their children, to the next century and beyond.
This is a relaunch of a Statement on Life and Evolution to which 4,000 have already signed on from all over the world. We are still looking for a target of 100,000 signatures, and will need your help. It is available alongside the World Scientists' Statement on the ISIS website at www.i-sis.org. You may sign onto both if you are a scientist.
Among the signatories are:
A Altieri, University of California, Berkeley, USA
To sign on to the Statement, please visit the website of ISIS:
Institute of Science in Society at www.i-sis.org. The Institute of Science in Society is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to research and education. Its aims are to develop and promote sustainable science, socially responsible science, science for public good and the integration of science in society.