Genetics Option 3: Darwin's Perspective According to Term Paper

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Genetics

Option 3: Darwin's Perspective

According to Darwin, the survival of a species is determined by the degree of strength of its members. Thus, the "fittest" in terms of physical prowess as well as to a degree mental capacity survives. Human beings have long used their mental capacity to overcome the challenges of the physical environment. The very first discoveries of tools, fire and the wheel have set the species apart from the rest of life on earth. Human beings use their mental capacity to create tools in order to ensure and facilitate their survival in the face of challenges such as weather, predators and illness. From the Darwinian viewpoint, genetic engineering is simply the next step in the evolution of the human capacity to ensure the survival of their species. Some of the unforeseen results of technological advancement have admittedly been devastating, but another uniquely human capacity is accountability. If a balance is achieved between scientific advance and responsibility, human beings have the capacity to enhance their own survival for millennia to come.

Ehrenreich focuses on cloning in order to debate in favor of genetic engineering. Indeed, cloning can mean the elimination of debilitating diseases as well as devastating disabilities, including Down's Syndrome and even AIDS (Chartrand). Cloning technology also has interesting implications for transplant technology (Kolata). Kolata for example proposes that solid organs could be grown from a sample cell, or animals could be used to host human organs. Cloning could also be used to benefit the environment, in terms of cloning animals on the brink of extinction. These would then be preserved for future generations. In terms of food, hunger could be eradicated by cloning the most nutritious foods. Ehrenreich therefore sharply and at times sarcastically criticizes the opponents of cloning technology.

Science and knowledge, especially the newest of technologies, have met with resistance since new discoveries were first made. Technology that is taken for granted today for example was criticized as unethical and even unholy at its inception.
There always appears to be an ethical or moral element to such criticism. Certain books for example are criticized even today in some religious circles. Some refuse medical assistance on religious grounds, even if such refusal means the death of a child. Of course the morality of such decisions are questionable to general society. The same judgment is then questionable in terms of the newest genetic technology, including cloning. Yet such judgment is the product of the same mental capacity that brought about the controversial technology in the first place.

Ehrenreich's main reason for criticizing the ethical concerns regarding cloning is the fact that it smacks of hypocrisy, and the fact that such reserves hail from the dark ages. Ehrenreich instead suggests that mass consumerism cannot help but benefit from this technology, and indeed, some genetic sciences such as in-vitro fertilization already benefits certain human beings. A case in point is the test-tube child, Adam, who was conceived and born to save the life of his sister (Weiss). Adam's sister was born with a bone marrow deficiency that would have been fatal but for her brother's unknowing intervention. Such technology is obviously to the benefit of humankind. In this way suffering is relieved. Human beings, by nature badly adapted to the environment, thus further use science in order to ensure their chances of survival.

Another concern raise in terms of human suffering is the adoption question (Saltus). The concern here is that some have requested genetic testing on potential adoptees to determine the likelihood of potential debilitating defects. The concern here is for basic human rights such as the privacy of the adoptee, as well as for the child's right to a fair chance of adoption. If cloning were to become an accepted "industry" as it were, unwanted children would be an even greater problem. I would however respond to this objection with the suggestion that genetics could also be used to….....

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