Letter: Cloning: The `Experts' Must Learn to Listen
Dr Donald M Bruce, The Independent (London, England)
Cloning: the `experts' must learn to listen
Sir: I recently had the privilege of taking part in a television debate on cloning which included, amongst others, Richard Dawkins ("Dolly and the cloth-heads", 8 March; letters, 11 March).
I was invited because I have been working closely with the ethical aspects, as convenor of a working group of specialists in Edinburgh on the ethics of genetic engineering, including Dolly's "discoverer", Ian Wilmut. Imagine my surprise to read in The Independent a piece of invective by Professor Dawkins, very obviously referring to our TV debate. His thesis was that religious spokespeople should be excluded from having a public voice on matters where only experts belong. But who is the "expert" who alone is qualified to speak in the public arena? I was for some years a nuclear inspector, assessing the risk that a Three Mile Island-type accident might happen at Sizewell. But the gulf between what we as "experts" calculated the risk to be and how the public perceived it was enormous. …