Biotech Century Essay Research Paper The Biotech

Biotech Century Essay, Research Paper

The Biotech Century There is no question that there will be many benefits that would resultfrom the new science; however, we also warned of the serious dangers thatmight accompany this new technology revolution. The major question I raiseis, At what cost? Genetic enhancement is the use of genetic engineering tosupply a characteristic that a parent might want in a child that simply does notinvolve the treatment or prevention of disease. To fully grasp the ethicaldiscussion of this subject, one must consider whether it is probable thatenhancement can be successfully prohibited. If genetic enhancement ispossible, it is likely that there will be a demand for it because parentscompete to produce able children and nations compete to gain skilledworkers. If parents or nations begin using genetic enhancement, this willincrease the incentives for others to use it. Therefore, a ban on geneticenhancement would motivate others to uphold it causing the ban to weaken oreven collapse. This argument provides a new perspective to dangeroustechnology. Intelligence is obviously one of the most admirable traits parents wouldchoose for their children if they had the choice. And what if they had thatchoice?, the choice to Play God , or determine the ultimate future of theirchildren. Rifken raises this possibility early in the book, he states, Geneticchanges could be made in human fetuses in the womb to correct deadlydiseases and disorders and to enhance mood, behavior, intelligence, andphysical traits. Parents might be able to design some of the characteristics oftheir own children, fundamentally altering the very notion of parenthood. Customized babies could pave the way for the rise of a eugenic civilizationin the twenty-first century (Rifkin, 3). Some may wish that in the matter ofintelligence, all men are created equal, but they are not. In fact, theintelligence of different people is extremely different, which causes a greatdemand for mind power. In an edition of New Scientist, Robert Traylor opens his article with adramatic twist on the subject of designing children. Traylor states, IF YOUput your ear to the tracks, you can hear the train coming. In conference halls around the world, geneticists and developmentalbiologists have been gathering to discuss what once wasunthinkable—genetically engineering human embryos so that they, and theirchildren, and their children s children, are irrevocably changed. These 3 experts are talking with remarkable candor about using germ-line engineeringto cure fatal diseases or even to create designer babies that will be stronger,smarter, or more resistant to infections ( Traylor, 25 ). In Traylor s article, he speaks of the immediate dangers of this idea. He ponders on the fact that humanity would, in effect, take control of it sown evolution. In a straw poll researchers variously described this idea as

irresistible , morally questionable or just plain dangerous ( Traylor, 25). What they did agree on is that germ-line engineered humans are likely tobecome a reality. In fact, most experts say they d be surprised if designerbabies are not toddling around within the next 20 years or so. Personally, Ifind this extremely horrifying. If the dangers of this project are faced andignored, then what will the future hold for genetic engineering? At what costwill it take to alter these biological advancements? When or how can we stopthis so-called train ? Rifken states, Being able to shape the genetic destiny of a humanbeing before birth is also being helped along by the new developments in thecreation of artificial wombs. The womb, cautioned the late Joseph Fletcher,former Professor of medical ethics at the University of Virginia School ofMedicine, is a dark and dangerous place, a hazardous environment. Weshould want our potential children to be where they can be watched andprotected as much as possible ( Rifkin, 30 ). I believe this to be simplyoutrageous. I of course, am not speaking for the women, but I feel that thebond between mother and child has to do with the experience in the mother swomb. Without this experience, or like Fletcher says, to be watched in asterile lab, this bond of love would never occur. The idea of designer children certainly sounds wild and ridiculous, buttechnology has a way of making believers out of skeptics. What worries memost is the fear of greed. One has to expect greed to arise out of a situationsuch as this one. If we can design our children, it is quite obvious that onewould want the best child, or the full package, so to speak. A child who isintelligent, strong, healthy, athletic, and immune to diseases, is the ultimatedream for every parent. This is common sense. Some can argue that theywould regulate what their kids would aquire, but this is extremely hard tobelieve. So, in fact, this brings a serious danger of superiority among the new 4 generations. Again I stress, AT WHAT COST? Is it worth changing orrisking the future of mankind? I don t believe so. I am in favor of genetic science, but I believe that there is a proper wayand a improper way to using this science. The proper way is to use thisscience to develop a sophisticated organic-based agricultural productionsystem in the 21st century. Intellectually, I think that the surge into the age ofgenetic science offers the greatest opportunity in the history of all mankind. Therefore, I believe we should take total control of this revolution. There willforever be different opinions about the advances of engineering, but we canalways work together to change the world we live in for the better. With genetic technology we assume control over the heredityblueprints of life itself. Can any reasonable person believe for a moment thatsuch unprecedented power is without substantial risk? ( Rifkin, 36 )


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