Genetic Engineering Future Harmony or Future Harm
The world of science has experienced many profound breakthroughs and advances in the twentieth century, but none perhaps as great as that of genetic engineering. However, the twentieth century society is not prepared or even willing at times to accept the moral and ethical controversies genetic engineering is creating. Genetic engineering, defined as the use or manipulation of an individuals genetic material in order to produce desired characteristics or results in the same individual, other individuals of the same species, or other species, is undoubtedly changing societys relationship with nature, medicine, and perhaps its own cultural values (Thro 69). It has been predicted for the year 2020, people will have new definitions of health and illness (Oleksy 108). The completion of genome mapping will allow a health plan for each person, preventing genetic disease and promoting a better life (Oleksy 108). However, genetic engineering, also called gene splicing or gene cloning, is not being welcomed with open arms. It affects the moral values of human beings, as well as other living things. The competing goods in genetic engineering, i.e. creating a stronger, more advanced human race vs. a natural selective process created by God, are virtually impossible to avoid and have placed a temporary hold one the progress of this new technology and societys moral view. Our society must be persuaded that genetic engineering is of great value in order to become an accepted social practice. This is something that society obviously lacks the conviction for thus far, making genetic engineering an object of continued scientific, as well as philosophical study.
Throughout history, science has allowed for advances in production, transportation, and even entertainment. Although, never in history has science been able to so deeply affect our lives as genetic engineering is undoubtedly doing and will continue to do in the not so distant future. Genetic engineering can help us create a stronger and more advanced human race by increasing food production, revolutionize new medicines, even enhance human intelligence, physical beauty and strength. Diseases could become weakened and cleaned out of humans genetic makeup. For example, if one parent had a bad gene or some type of hereditary disease, it could be removed from the embryo and replace with another clean gene. This process is called embryo screening (Oleksy 48). Embryo screening is used to determine if an embryo has received a defective gene. Several embryos could be genetically cloned, the DNA from one of the embryos could then be removed and standard genetic testing would be used to detect whether or not that embryo contained the genetic disease. If this cloned embryo contained a disease, then one of the other embryos could be used for implantation in a parent, thus, guaranteeing that the child would be free of genetic disease (Oleksy 49). This process would certainly be beneficial for couples who are infertile and want to have children. Genetic engineering would enable the couple to produce a baby with their characteristics. In fact, they would be able to pick and choose the characteristics of their unborn child.
Another benefit of genetic engineering, is the possibility of cloning body organs. This process would prove to be very beneficial to people who have lost a body organ such as a kidney. Scientists could clone a particular organ of an individual. This process could have the potential to work better than a transplanted organ, because the genetic makeup of that individual would be used in the re-creation of the organ.
Not only does genetic engineering present the possibilities of saving lives; it can save entire species from extinction. Genetic engineering could be used to increase the population of endangered species of animals, thus saving them from total extinction. This would help maintain a natural balance, and provide a continuous life cycle.
Even though there is the belief by some that genetic engineering is overall beneficial, many suggest that genetic engineering is unnatural and not ethically correct. Also, we know too little about this technology to understand the long-term effects of replacing old genes with new ones. Genetic engineering is triggering an ethical emergency within society, and causing this new science to be cast in a dim light. Anti-technologists, political extremists,