College Prep/ Reading
March 17, 2015
GENETIC ENGINEERING FOR PERFECTION
Genetic engineering is the process of manually adding new DNA to a living organism to add new traits that weren’t there before. The ethics of genetic engineering raises numerous questions whether it’s ethical or not. If genetic engineering could eliminate human imperfection would it be ethical? The perfect human would be disease free and have no “flaws”. Ralph Waldo
Emerson was a transcendentalist philosopher during the 19th century and one of his best known essays is “SelfReliance”. John Locke was an English empiricist philosopher who hypothesized that all individuals were born with a blank slate or Tabula Rasa. Using the works of philosophers
Emerson and Locke, genetic engineering would be unethical to them.
If genetic engineering were promoted into society to eradicate human “flaws” and create a perfect human physical state, then it would be unethical because the person created would be a façade of themselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson would say, “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny.” This essentially means that if genetic engineering existed, you wouldn’t be trusting or
accepting yourself. “Transcendent destiny” alludes to strong selfdetermination and individualism, individuals must ignore society and the influences it has (Emerson). Its position then is that if genetic engineerings primary use is to perfect the physical state of a human but may affect the destiny of an individual, it must be refrained because it’s unethical. A genetic engineered product such as human growth hormones (HGH) can be used to prevent changes that occurs with age. However, when humans were created, the destiny of an individual has already been determined. HGH can affect the predetermined future because, “
Proponents of HGH claim that the hormone can help decline or even reverse this aging process. They say that raising the
HGH levels in their bodies has helped them with everything from weight loss to undoing damage from congestive heart failure…” (Mayo Clinic Staff). These effects assure that HGH alters age processing and enhances body growth, but raises questions on how the destiny of a person will be affected. So, if any genetic engineered products affects the destiny it should not be used despite the benefits it has. Which brings up the question, who has the ability to control one’s destiny? A person should allow their destiny to be decided by the controller or God and avoid changing it with genetic engineering.
If genetic engineering was to be used to perfect humans and dispose of all the “flaws” that they had, it would be unethical to allow these advance technologies because humans identities would be false and not authentic. John Locke says, “To be human, children must acquire the inclination to act on what is true and good, and each must acquire it for herself or himself… to be human, each must personally stake her or his claim to truth and goodness
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