Stephen Hawking:

Public Attitudes Toward Science

V. Writing a composition on a text-related topic.:

The following composition is supposed to show you how you can take phrases and entire sentences from Hawking's text and use it for your own future essays (even on different topics):

Genetic engineering — a blessing or a curse?

Whether we like it or not, genetic engineering will stay with us, although many people are afraid of its undoubtedly substantial consequences. To begin with, there is the problem of irreversibility. Once we have planted genetically modified plants next to natural plants, we can never take the genetic changes back to the laboratory, because the natural plants may already have been contaminated. And no responsible scientist can guarantee that unidentified effects on other plants will not occur or that mankind will not lose its entire natural genetic make-up of food plants.

Anyway, since we can’t put the clock back to a pre-GM age, even if we wanted to, we might at least enjoy some of the undoubted advantages. It is evident that without genetic engineering we could not feed a rapidly growing world population. Furthermore it has to be admitted that the negative effect of pesticides are worse than genetically modified food plants which are resistant to all kinds of pests.

If we accept that we cannot prevent genetic engineering, we can at least try to ensure that our governments or the European Union legislate proper safeguards against the spread of possibly dangerous GM plants by planting them in safe distances to traditional natural food plants. Moreover, our legislator must make sure that GM food is clearly identified on food labels so that the customers can see what kind of Frankenfood they are about to eat. So it is up to every person to buy it or leave it on the shelves of the supermarkets. In this way it is our choice — a situation most people can probably live with.

(271 words)