GM foods: " Prince Warns Of 'Playing God' " (was Dawkins Letter)

From: Ziana Astralos (
Date: Wed May 24 2000 - 18:48:27 MDT

--- Lee Daniel Crocker <> wrote:
> Edge <> has a wonderful "Open
> Letter to Prince Charles" by Richard Dawkins, in
> which the latter takes issue with the former's
> fearmongering about GM crops.
> ...

Speaking of which, as I was looking through the BBC
News website earlier today, I came across Prince
Charles's latest diatribe-- here it is for anyone else
who hasn't seen this yet.


_Prince warns of 'playing God'_

[picture of Charles standing in a suit in front of
some hills]
[caption:] Prince's speech may prompt further rift
with the government

Prince Charles, a long-standing opponent of
genetically-modified food, is to warn the scientific
community that tampering with nature could cause great
harm to the world.

The Prince of Wales is to voice his concerns during a
contribution to the Reith Lectures, broadcast on BBC
Radio 4 on Wednesday.
He speaks of the need to "work with nature" and will
warn of the dire consequences of ignoring the
"essential unity" of the living and spiritual worlds.

The 2,300-word essay was written by the prince during
a recent pilgrimage to a remote Greek monastery.

He says his concerns are rooted in the need to
safeguard the divinely-created Earth. But the prince's
swipes at biotechnology may prompt a further rift
between St James's Palace and the government, which
continues to support GM technology.

'Nothing held sacred'

The prince will argue it is because of humanity's
"inability or refusal to accept the existence of a
guiding hand that nature has come to be regarded as a
system that can be engineered for our own

[picture of a female scientist at work]
[caption:] Tampering with God's work?

He will go on to say: "We need to rediscover a
reverence for the natural world, irrespective of its
usefulness to ourselves, to become more aware of the
relationship between God, man and creation.

"If literally nothing is held sacred any more -
because it is considered synonymous with superstition
or in some other way 'irrational' - what is there to
prevent us treating our entire world as some great
laboratory of life with potentially disastrous
long-term consequences?"

He welcomes a "precautionary approach" to scientific
advances and mocks those who portray this as a sign of
weakness or an attempt to halt progress.

Mankind 'part of nature'

"I believe it to be a sign of strength and wisdom," he
says in the lecture, which was recorded three weeks
ago at his home, Highgrove House in Gloucestershire.

He counsels against reducing the natural world to a
mechanical process.

[picture of the Earth from space]
[caption:] Prince believes in divinely-created Earth

"In this technology-driven age, it is all too easy for
us to forget that mankind is part of nature and not
apart from it, and that this is why we should seek to
work with the grain of nature in everything we do," he

Science, he says, should be used to understand how
nature works but not to change what it is.

"Only by rediscovering the essential unity and order
of the living and spiritual world will we avoid the
disintegration of our overall environment," he

The prince's lecture will be discussed on the
programme by the five Reith lecturers, former Hong
Kong governor Chris Patten, former Norwegian prime
minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, BP Amoco chief
executive Sir John Browne, Indian ecologist Vandana
Shiva and Tom Lovejoy, chief bio-diversity adviser to
the World Bank.


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