The Engineering of Perfect Humans

by mangoislyf on February 9, 2017 - 4:18pm

In the twenty first century, genetic engineering, also known as genetic modification or genetic manipulation, is becoming a great ethical dilemma in the field of sciences. It is a practice that involves modifying an organism's genetic material. It can also involve taking a gene from one living organism and inserting it into another organism’s genome. The ethical dilemma of practicing this on human lives is argued throughout different ethical frameworks, mostly involving the action itself and its outcomes. Science has evolved to the point where the act of “Playing God” as many religions would claim, can prevent future generations from illness and therefore “produce” healthier human beings. 

 

From a deontological perspective this scientific experiment may be very controversial because many think that changing someone’s predetermined genome is unethical since it is not considered our duty to do so. Deontology implies that one makes ethical decisions by considering the nature of the act itself. (Alexander) It is agreeably to say that the action of modifying human genes is a way to play the role of God. Since deontology originated from christianity, one of its universal maxims is that God is the only Creator. In this case, genetic engineering contradicts this universal maxim which makes this practice completely immoral since it involves the experimentation on or even destruction of human embryos. (Ethics of Geneticly Engineering the Human Mind) It can be a little ambiguous to talk about genetic engineering in the present tense since it is a scientific application that implies future results only. One of the best examples of this is the famous case of Dolly, the first cloned animal. This mammal ended up being a product of a laboratory mistake and was euthanized at an early age due to biological deficiency. The risk of making a mistake in genetic experimentation can be very high if any minor manipulation of the gene goes wrong. In Kant’s perspective, it is generally seen as unethical to do such experiments when it involves human lives, since the act of using a human embryo for experimentation and research is using humanity nearly as a means to an end. (OCR Religious Studies Philosophy and Ethics) This goes against the Kantian universal maxim where Humans must exist only as an end in themselves.

 

On the other hand, the benefits of genetic engineering consist of incredible promises for the future of humanity. Utilitarians would agree to say that genetic modification is ethically correct due to all its positive benefits. In this ethical framework the outcome is the main focus from which we can determine whether anything is ethically correct, it sets up its ethical frame in order to generate the greater good for the greater amount. With this goal in mind, genetic engineering can completely cure diseases, prevent mental health problems, prevent physical disabilities, prevent ADD/ADHD, and a hundred more genetically predetermined physical or mental disadvantages. This science practice can make millions of lives better mentally and physically. (The Benefits of Human Cloning)

 

After debating the ethicality of the subject matter, it is fair to conclude that the pros of genetic engineering outweigh the cons. Deontologists consider this practice unethical because of the action itself of playing God and may say we cannot take chances and ruin individual future lives. Utilitarians on the other hand consider this practice ethical since it will let thousands of people benefit from it and will create a healthier species. The utilitarian view on this ethical dilemma is therefore the winning argument since it should be a universal law to be able to free the human brain form any illness. The most obvious statement is that a healthy brain will lead to a greater amount of happiness, in other words, the greater good for the greater people. Even if a few mistakes will be made, the overall outcome will be in favour of a higher number of people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WORK CITED

 

1.Alexander, Larry. "Deontological Ethics." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 21 Nov. 2007. Web. 09 Feb. 2017. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-deontological/#AdvDeoThe 

 

2. "BBC - GCSE Bitesize: Genetic engineering." BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/aqa_pre_2011/evolution/reproductionrev6.shtml 

 

3. Tingnu. "The Benefits of Human Cloning." The Benefits of Human Cloning. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.    http://www.humancloning.org/benefits.php 

 

4. "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies." Ethics of Genetically Engineering the Human Mind. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017. http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/print/5553 

 

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5. ”Rsrevision.com/applied ethics." Genetics - OCR Religious Studies Philosophy and Ethics A level. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2017. http://rsrevision.com/Alevel/ethics/genetic_engineering/index.htm 

 

 

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Comments

Firstly, I really like that there are more than one Works Cited in your assignment since they give out more information than a single one. Also, your title really sticks out to readers and makes this article seem more interesting. I would also like to add a gender perspective to help you with your further research. I find that genetic engineering of human embryos can be very positive in our society. Today, there are so many men and women who are unhappy with the way they look, feel and act. Some people might be made fun of because of a certain disability like down syndrome or autism. Say a girl is born with a cancerous tumour or a young boy is being treated for severe ADHD, wouldn't they both have a happier life if none of those diseases or disabilities existed? Our society has developed a lens or a perspective that labels everyone and creates stereotypes. Combating this social construct by erasing these genes in embryos can create better opportunities for all of the people.

Here's a link to further understand social constructs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_constructionism

This is definitely a debatable topic and you handled both the pros and cons surrounding the issue with eloquence. You equally incorporate questions about the compatibility of religion and science, which sparks an interesting argument in your post.

Although you present some strong points concerning the benefits of genetic engineering, from a gender standpoint, I am personally not in favor of this notion. As you’ve mentioned in the post, the purpose of genetic modifications and alternations is to prevent illnesses in the genome in order to create the perfect human being; this relates to the idea of eugenics. This science aimed to improve the human species by controlling human breeding in order to increase the frequency desirable traits and decrease the occurrence unwanted disorders; thus creating the ideal human race.

As a result, many women were forcibly sterilized without their knowledge or consent; in some cases, women would go to the hospital for a particular treatment and doctors would sterilize them while they were unconscious on the hospital table. Eugenics also revolved around the notion of creating the ideal race, so many intersectional identities, particularly black women in America, become the disproportional target.

This was taking place during the Second Wave of Feminism (1960-1980) when the majority of white women were fighting for reproductive rights and equal pay; however, black women felt alienated in this group as they were still trying to fight for basic control over their bodies. Meanwhile, the Civil Rights Movement occurring alongside Feminist Movements was predominantly led by men who would often stifle the concern of these black women. Thus, by merging the ideals from both movements, these women gave rise to Black Feminism, arguing that race, class, gender and other systems of discrimination are all bound together in an overlapping and reinforcing manner, creating the concept of intersectionality.

Therefore, although science has progressed over the last couple of decades, I believe that the notion of genetic modification should be discarded since it promotes certain traits being favored over others in a way similar to the eugenics theory. In my opinion, using this future science would bring women with intersectional identities back in history. If you are interested in the concepts of Black Feminism and intersectionality, the following is an article published on Vox by Jenée Desmond-Harris highlighting some of the discussions around this topic: http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/17/14267766/womens-march-on-washing...

Your text contains a catchy title and a very interesting and informative content. Genetic modification on human beings is a controversial topic, but you managed to clearly illustrate and explain both sides of the argument: the notion of a better future vs unethically. I would like to approach your analysis through a gendered lens and introduce the concept of “man box.” This term refers to a list of behaviours and expectations that defines what it means to be a man. Often, men are expected to show their virility through their sexuality and physical appearance in order to conform to the “man box.” However, not all men possess the same genes; there are some who will never be able to achieve the ideal masculine image (super buff and strong). Therefore, studies involving genetic modification/enhancement are prominent because they allow to break boundaries and create the “ideal” human being. Although, as you mentioned, it might sound unethical to some people, this type of scientific developments is a very enticing solution to those who deeply want to conform to the concept of hegemonic masculinity.
Here is an article on genetic enhancement in case you are interested: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3721991/China-develop-gen...

I really enjoyed reading your article. You have an eye catching title that got me interested right away and you wrote on an interesting topic that made me considered the future of our generations. You have also successfully identified the two sides of this questionable topic. Even though I am against the idea of altering the genetics of living organisms, I do acknowledge the multiple benefits in doing so, especially in a gendered context. Firstly, human genetics can solve men and women’s struggle of acquiring the ideal body that satisfies our modern beauty standards. For example, men are always trying to achieve the modern Adonis body, which is the ideal masculine body. The problem is that men are always comparing themselves or other people to these ideal body images and people who fail to conform to these images are treated poorly. However, with the help of human genetic alteration, men will no longer be pressured in acquiring the ideal hegemonic masculine body, thus solving the discriminatory problems in the process. To show that women are also pressured in achieving the ideal body image, here is a website containing interesting statistics.
http://www.heartofleadership.org/statistics/

Genetics alteration is also the solution to completely annihilating multiple social constructs, most importantly the concepts of privilege and intersectionality. These concepts can be based on the physical appearance of the person which results in major discriminatory problems to people who are not in the privileged category. These problems have caused issues with huge wage gaps and reinforcing the ideology of the glass ceiling. Everyone in our society should be treated fairly and they should all have an equal opportunity in advancing the corporate ladder. With the help of genetics engineering, society can create the ideal human race where privilege and intersectionality are no longer an issue, because everyone is an ideal human being.

First things first, the choice of your tittle really caught my attention considering this is a whole new and interesting subject for me. Before reading this text, I had never heard of genetic engineering before. The structure of your essay and all the sources you used to conduct it really made it easy for me to understand the essence of this topic and your ethical view regarding the genetic modification of human beings. While considering the benefits from this subject, I still disagree about the fact that this genetic manipulation can do more good than bad. In fact, this whole process of manipulating and modifying human being is expensive:
“Actually implanting and developing an embryo from there would be even more expensive” (Loria). Putting aside the price subject and seeing this manipulation through gendered world view lens, we can also observe that it adds more pressure on men and women’s view of the ideal body. Since some people are able to change their appearance in order to feel better about themselves, viewing these people will make others desire this “perfect” image and put more pressure on themselves to look like them.

Moreover, the fact that not everyone can have access to this technology will affect an enormous amount of men. There are four tropes related to hegemonic masculinity: Violence, Sexuality, Power and Stoicism. This same hegemonic masculinity requires men to hold power. The financial freedom a man has is often correlated with the power he holds. Consequently, the inability to afford this genetic manipulation can lead some men to feel or consider themselves not powerful enough. This phenomenon can further lead a fair amount of men to low self-esteem and depression. In conclusion, not only will this process influence some men and women to put more pressure on themselves, it will also put men who can’t afford it in a much deeper devaluation of themselves.

Here is the link to the article relating to the price and another article to further understand men’s situation:
- http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-genetically-modify-human-embryos-2...

- http://www.lovepanky.com/women/understanding-men/why-men-feel-emasculate...