Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Oryx & Crake 500+ Blog: Part 1

Margaret Atwood’s book Oryx and Crake is an exceptional read. It is about a young man Snowman, also known as Jimmy, who is left alone in the world with a bunch of genetically modified human beings who are programmed to die once they reach 30 years of age. Snowman is telling the story about Jimmy when he was growing up as a kid. Jimmy’s dad was huge into human and animal gene splicing and modification, while his mother on the other hand was not too fond of Jimmy’s fathers work. From reading the book, you can tell that Jimmy did not have the best upbringing as a child and did not seem to be happy as a child. Eventually, Jimmy’s mother left and took his pet, named Killer. When Jimmy was growing up, he met his best friend Glenn, who later on in the book takes on the name Crake. Jimmy and Glenn played a game called Extincathon and from there they develop a close relationship. The book then goes on and tells how they eventually came across Oryx, whom they both loved dearly. Oryx throughout the entire book remains a vague character and you never really can figure everything out about her, but she is still vital in the book. Eventually they graduate from high school, Glenn goes to a prestigious college and Jimmy goes to a university for arts. They go their separate ways but still stay in touch. Long story short. Glenn fabricates a new human race, called the Crakers, and later develops a pill that slowly kills off the present human race. Glenn wanted to develop the perfect human race and cut out anything that he deemed unfit in the “perfect human being.” This part of the book gets into the two bio-ethical issues that I want to address.

The two bio-ethical issues that I wanted to address are about genetically modifying humans and about disease. The first issue is creating genetically modified humans and selecting the traits and qualities that we want. As great as this may seem, I just do not agree with the idea of making your ideal baby. I feel that people today want to play God and control everything and I just do not agree with that. In addition, I feel that it takes the whole surprise out of the whole process. At the same time, I believe this will take away from what makes us all special and unique, our differences. Diversity is what is beautiful and makes the world a better place. I also have the feeling that everyone would make his or her children look similar and try to follow the trend of the world and we would go downhill from there. The other bio-ethical issue that I wanted to address was that of disease. In the book, Crake develops a pill that has a disease that ultimately starts to kill off the human race. I brought this up because I sometimes believe that we have cures for some diseases, but the human population will never see them because of the loss of money for select people and companies in the long haul. I know to some people this may sound crazy and bizarre, but in our society today how can you not question it? I do not want to say too much because I still have the other post to write. Let me know your thoughts on this and I will add some things for my next post!!!


  1. A genetically-engineered world of designer children could still be "diverse," but an engineered diversity might feel to its products like conformity to an imprinted design. Maybe you'll have some more to say about why the psychology of design would be less genuinely diverse, practically speaking, than the natural imprinting we're already familiar with?

    1. Consider, for instance, this observation by Bill McKibben in "Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age": "What will you have done to your newborn when you have installed into the nucleus of every one of her billions of cells a purchased code that will pump out proteins designed to change her? You will have robbed her of the last possible chance for creating context—meaning—for her life. Say she finds herself, at the age of sixteen, unaccountably happy. Is it her being happy—finding, perhaps, the boy she will first love—or is it the corporate product inserted within her when she was a small nest of cells, an artificial chromosome now causing her body to produce more serotonin? Don't think she won't wonder: at sixteen a sensitive soul questions everything. But perhaps you've "increased her intelligence"—and perhaps that's why she is questioning so hard. She won't be sure if even the questions are hers."

  2. I thought your discussion was very interesting. I agree that I think science comes too far when it starts to genetically engineer traits that you think are ideal. I think a lot of good can happen when you trust God that, even if your child is not perfect, they can still do great things and be great people. I don't think I would want to see a world where everyone is genetically engineered to be "perfect".

    also......... GATTACA (enough said).