I've got a new piece up at The Daily Beast that riffs off the recent, sad, insulting, and doomed attempt by the Food and Drug Administration to put the kibosh on "personal genetic services" such as the one offered by 23andMe.com, which Ronald Bailey wrote about yesterday.
In its infinite wisdom, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has forbidden the personal genetic testing service 23andMe from soliciting new customers, claiming the company hasn't proven the validity of its product.
The real reason? Because when it comes to learning about your own goddamn genes,the FDA doesn't think you can handle the truth. That means the FDA is now officially worse than Oedipus's parents, Dr. Zaius, and the god of Genesis combined, telling us that there are things that us mere mortals just shouldn't be allowed to know….
The FDA is seriously claiming that you might learn you have a possibility of developing breast cancer and then insist on having the potentially cancerous body part lopped off. And that you'll be able to find a doctor or hospital or taxidermist who will do any or all of that without doing further tests and followups. They don't provide a single instance of this happening nor do they specify any possible medical world in which this might happen, but that's enough to shut down 23andMe for the foreseeable future. (The company has issued a short statement about how they will work to meet the FDA's demands.)
The FDA is now apparently taking policy cues from The End, a 1978 comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. In that groaner, Burt is convinced he is going to die soon and sets about offing himself. Spoiler alert: Hilarity doesn't ensue. It's a Burt Reynolds-Dom DeLuise showcase after all….