I like the short example of changing visions of morality. When this technique appeared like much of science related to reproduction, it was pronounced to raise: “moral issues”. I’m never sure that I know that means other than it makes me uncomfortable that someone is doing this.
Robert G. Edwards Dies at 87; Changed Rules of Conception With First ‘Test Tube Baby’
“Working with Dr. Patrick Steptoe, Dr. Edwards essentially changed the rules for how people can come into the world. Conception was now possible outside the body — in a petri dish.
“The technique has resulted in the births of five million babies, many in multiple births, according to the International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies, an independent nonprofit group.
“Yet, like so many pioneers of science, Dr. Edwards and Dr. Steptoe achieved what they did in the face of a skeptical establishment and choruses of critics, some of whom found the idea of a “test tube baby” morally repugnant. Denied government support, the two men resorted to private financing. And they did their work in virtual seclusion, in a tiny, windowless laboratory at a small, out-of-the-way English hospital outside Manchester.
“It was there, after outwitting a crowd of reporters, that they delivered their — and the world’s — first IVF baby, Louise Brown, on July 25, 1978. Her parents, John and Lesley Brown, had tried for nine years to have a child — a period that virtually coincided with Dr. Edwards’s research.”
Here’s my earlier post on the occasion of his Nobel, including some dissenting voices at the time:
Robert Edwards, R.I.P. Brought in vitro fertilization from repugnant transaction to Nobel prize
Sat, 13 Apr 2013 12:27:00 GMT