More time means more time to blog on more interesting material more frequently. Here’s my opinion on the ethics of genetic engineering, the altering of DNA in an organism to provide a physical enhancement. I’ll try to break this up into small sections, so I don’t end up writing an essay. Here are the two cases in which I deem biotechnology acceptable:
- Eradication of diseases: if biotechnology gives us the power to cure people of diseases such as down syndrome and cancer, why wouldn’t we use it? Every notion we have of ethics tells us it’s moral to put people out of their suffering. If you don’t want to help fellow humans rise above the misfortune of a few awry genes, what kind of a sick person are you? It’s absolutely ethical to use genetic engineering to cure people of diseases.
- Genetically Modified Foods (GMFs): this form of biotechnology can very realistically end world hunger by producing better products and with a greater yield. Again, ethics dictate that it’s moral to help the less fortunate; I’m sure everyone must agree that using GMFs is a service to billions around the globe. As far as growth hormones go for animals, I’m not opposed to it. Think of it this way; those animals can help us solve famine and starvation across the world. If they’re condemned to be someone’s dinner, why not maximize how many people they can feed? It isn’t immoral to maximize how much food we can get, it’s immoral to watch millions starve while we have a solution to their problem.
This is a mere fraction of the marvels of genetic engineering, but it’s all I’m comfortable with integrating into our society. I’m not religious, but I agree with religions when I say that human genes are not to be toyed with for fun or to provide an unnecessary benefit. This will reduce genetic variation in humans, and as only the rich will be able to afford it, will increase the disparity gap between the rich and poor. It’s a little Orwellian to say, but I do believe that if this technology is used with no restrictions, a superior race of elite “superhumans” will come to power, and destroy the structure of society as we know it. All men are equal on a basic, fundamental level; by changing the definition of a man, we’re creating a new species; it’s a regression in our societal values. Finally, I’m opposed to cloning for a couple reasons. Firstly, I think that doing so encourages (or will at least inevitably lead to) slavery; that’s something no one wants. If a human “creates,” or engineers, another human, that creation will be his property; the moral implications of that aren’t ever worth exploring by experience. Secondly, while clones may be used to do the mundane duties of our world, it’s only a matter of time before someone abuses the power that comes with this technology; imagine wars with a limitless supply of soldiers. The risks outweigh the benefits by too much.
In conclusion, I’d like to see a world where genetic engineering is used for only moral necessities. If it’s not doing a kindness to a person or persons, I think it’ll be too easily abused. Of course, there will need to be restrictions and conditions with any form of societal integration so the power can never be abused. Still, it’d be great to see a world without uncurable disease and starvation. The technology should therefore only be used to do a select few moral necessities; it may sound naive and wistful, but who knows what kind of world we’ll be living in one hundred years from now?