Thursday, February 26, 2015
Genetic Engineering 26 Feb 2015
My contribution is towards researching the benefits of genetic engineering and why genetic engineering is not immoral. Genetic engineering is a hotly debated topic because it is claimed to be (A) “playing God” or (B) relationship-ruining between parent and child. It is also thought that (C) trying to make the “perfect” person is no different than Hitler wanting to make the “perfect” race. Genetic engineering is controversial for these reasons and the following research will try to refute these claims. My research is to find how genetic engineering is not immoral and, in fact, should be a moral obligation.
(A) There are people who believe that wanting to biologically enhance oneself is wanting to play God. It implies that humans want to be creators, and that we have the knowledge and the wisdom to use that knowledge. Some people think that humans really do not know what to do and that how someone is born should be left to fate and random chance. However, plenty of people are in favor of breeding certain animals together to get the right dog (Savulescu). For example, dog-owners will breed a fast dog for a dog show. There is also breeding of the food we eat. For example, farms and manufacturers will breed the yellowest and the sweetest corn.
Basically, humans have already done genetic engineering to other objects and animals that doing it to themselves should be no different. Also, people already try to enhance themselves emotionally, mentally, and physically by taking drugs, plastic surgery, etc…
(B) There are people who believe that a parent should not turn their child into what he or she wants the baby to be. It takes away the child’s autonomy and that the child should be free to pursue whatever the he or she desires by chance. A quote from Merriman perfectly replies to this: “How is it suddenly unethical to want an attractive, smart baby when it is perfectly ethical to desire an attractive, smart mate who will consequently provide that attractive, smart baby ultimately desired?” There is also the argument that the parent should not make the decision because it should be the baby’s decision to be enhanced. However, many males were circumcised as babies and there was definitely no consent given at that time. The circumcision was still done anyways (Merriman).
(C) There are people who believe that genetic engineering to create the “perfect” person mimics Hitler’s attempt for the “perfect” race. However, like Merriman thought, heterosexual people will choose mates that will pass the desired genes to their children. They are already wanting a healthy baby and there should not be a reason that virtually fool-proofing a baby’s genes to be that way could be wrong. Furthermore, psychology has come far enough to study the genes involved with personality. If cancer genes can be removed, the problematic behavior genes can also be removed. More specifically, behavior that involves harming others and themselves can be altered and hopefully removed – resulting in “ethically better children” (Alleyne, Savulescu).
Alleyne, Richard. “Genetically engineering ‘ethical’ babies is a moral obligation, says Oxford professor.” The Telegraph, 26 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Aug 2012. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/9480372/Genetically-engineering-ethical-babies-is-a-moral-obligation-says-Oxford-professor.html>.
Merriman, David. “The Genetic Enhancement of Children Should Be Tolerated.” Technology and Society. Ed. David Haugen and Susan Musser. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007. 148-156. Print.
Savulescu, Julian. “Genetic Interventions and the Ethics of Enhancement of Human Beings.” The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics. Ed. Bonnie Steinbock. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.