In this day and age there is a lot of technological advancement taking place where new processes are being invented. Genetic Engineering is one such technological advancement and it is that set of technologies being utilized to transform genetic makeup of cells moving genes across species boundaries in an effort of producing novel organisms (McElroy 1). As such a process is considered complex it usually involves sophisticated manipulations of genetic material as well as other biologically importance chemicals (The Hixton Group 4). Scientists and other scientific experts have already predicted that genetic engineering is to become a huge part of people’s lives sooner or later as there are numerous benefits as well as challenges involved. One of the most controversial disadvantage of genetic engineering lies with religion. Genetic Engineering is said to question whether man has the right to manipulate the course and laws of nature and thus is in constant collision with religion and the beliefs held by it regarding life (Wright 9).
There are those scientists and individuals who also tend to believe that the introduction of genetically modified genes may lead to some irreversible effects having yet unknown consequences. However, Genetic Engineering has numerous benefits such as prevention of diseases through early detection of organisms (Cohen 3). It can also increase diversity as regards genes where alteration of genetics could be made to produce more variant alleles (McElroy 1).
Genetic Engineering has in the recent past provoked controversy all around the world where some individuals argue that such activity is a manipulation of nature and poses great risk to humanity (The Hixton Group 5). There are others who believe that the process offers boundless as well as unforeseen advantages to human beings, thus raising the question of just how limited the technology should be.
Claims are being made that genetic engineering undermines rather than enhances the promise of humanity and this has been evidenced in a few articles regarding this subject (Wright 10). Cohen, Eric has in an article discussed the relationship that exists between technology and society especially touching on Genetic Engineering. According to him, people seem to experience two mistakes in as far as genetic engineering is concerned where one is worrying too much too early and the other is worrying too little too late (McElroy 1).
Cohen also suggests that another problem contrary to the aforementioned is also faced where scientists are assuring people that modern day breakthrough will not result to being a nightmare of the future. A good example is given in this article where the first human embryos were being produced outside the human body in 1970s, also known as human cloning (Cohen 2). It was also declared during that time that a law concerning cloning be passed before it is too late (McElroy 1). No one took the time to stop and reconsider the oddity involved in producing human life in the laboratory or of witnessing one’s own human origins that separated procreation from sex (The Hixton Group 5). At the end of it all individuals were left to ponder on making a decision of the debt they have on the thousands of embryos now left over in coolers which creates a dilemma with no satisfying moral answer to it (Cohen 3). In yet another article regarding Genetic Engineering, Bryant Adey featured a cartoon offering a number of comments regarding the topic. In this particular cartoon, the reader is shown a picture of Frankenstein seated in front of a plate of food and a scientist watching over him where he states that he hopes there is nothing genetically modified in the food (The Hixton Group 1). This picture tends to speak a lot depending on how the reader may perceive it and the kind of message they may want to derive from it regarding Genetic Engineering.
Personally, on looking at the picture, I could relate with a number of us who are scared of what genetically engineered food products would do to our health and bodies in general. I am sure that majority of us tend to believe that genetically engineered food is not as nutritious as organic or natural food and since this is a day and age where people are more conscious of their health than before, natural foods are of much value. As per my personal opinion and understanding, this particular cartoon provides evidence that genetic engineering undermines rather than enhances the promise of humanity. Wendy McElroy also wrote an article exploring on the issues of personal responsibility in connection with scientific developments where she illustrated a story of a lesbian couple who were blessed with a deaf child (McElroy 1). Apparently, they were delighted at the fact that their baby was deaf as they also happened to be deaf thus having selected their sperm donor on the basis of his family history of deafness (Cohen 4).
In other words, the deaf lesbian couple had made an attempt of creating a major sensory defect in their child (Wright 9). They deliberately engineered a genetic defect to their child as one of the spouses believed that deafness is a culture rather than a disability. I found this story to be rather appalling because I imagined what the child would feel towards his parents once he grew up and was mature enough to understand the choice that his parents made for him. I also imagined the anger he would feel in future as he may have desired not to be deaf but be born normal like other children. Even though the couple may argue that they wanted a child who is just like them, their child would end up blaming them for the rest of their lives for having made such a choice for them (The Hixton Group 2).
Given the examples above, it is quite clear that genetic as well as reproductive technologies such as genetic engineering usually undermine the value of life and in the process disrupts the inherent relationship between parents and their offspring (McElroy 1). Genetic Engineering and reproductive cloning for purposes of enhancement are considered hazardous to humanity making them unjustified at the present time (Cohen 5). The recent past saw a rapid rise in technological advances regarding robots and artificial intelligence where it was predicted that there would be the insertion of robots into the human body that would incorporate intelligent implants in the human brain in future (Wright 12). The federal government in collaboration with scientists have also suggested replacement of people employed in areas of security, defense or surveillance as it has been predicted that an estimated 40% of armies will have been replaced with robot soldiers come the year 2020 (Cohen 6). Despite the many advantages and benefits associated with Genetic Engineering I hold on to the fact that this process may actually harm humanity in future rather than enhance it. There is a high possibility that due to development of new organisms through genetic engineering there can be havoc to humanity’s ecological balance as the impact generated by these genetically engineered species to the environment may be unpredictable (McElroy 1). Human beings still do not possess high knowledge of the true nature of the DNA and this may pose a challenge in future. Additionally, in this day and age where war is inevitable the science of Genetic Engineering may end up in the wrong hands and be used as a weapon of destruction (The Hixton Group 4).
Genetic Engineering should be treated or viewed as a double edged sword that should be used with responsibility as it can either be of benefit or a challenge to mankind. It is quite natural for people to be afraid of change and therefore it is important to embrace change such as genetic engineering and other technological advances and pay more attention to spreading the power to alter individual minds as well as bodies to as many as possible. In other words, it is important to regulate such advanced technologies globally for them to be controlled and utilized positively.
“The Real Meaning of Genetics.” The New Atlantis. 2005. Print. McElroy, Wendy. “Victims from Birth.” 2002. Enter Stage Right.
Print. The Hixton Group. “An International Consortium on Stem Cells.
” Ethics and Law Consensus Statement. 2006. Print. Wright, Robert. “Who Gets the Good Genes?” Time. 1999. Print.