The study on the structures and functions of the human body, which started to take its modern form during the Middle Ages, had was traditionally based on the end rather than the means. The first hard evidence for the working principles of the human genome, which were suggested about a century ago, initiated a scientific revolution, which continues at full speed even today. This revolution is so great, that its intensiveness is only undermined by the debate it arises.
The study and practice of genetic engineering is quite developed today. Although it exists in almost every aspect of agriculture, the heated discussion over genetic engineering in human, even if it comprehensible, is among the biggest anomalies of our age. In fact, the very existence of this debate should be questioned, as human engineering should be regarded as the biggest hope of humanity to solve the most basic question of science – how do we become what we are, and how can we change those elements in us that we cannot control. Consequently, this paper calls for the most logical thing to do: To continue, to widen and to support the science of human engineering.
Human Engineering vs. Human Stagnation
In March 2009, President Obama restored the federal budget for stem cell research, ending eight long years of scientific stagnation on one of the most promising fields of biology. In a CNN report, the President was quoted as saying:
“As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly” (sec. 1).
How come the President chooses to use such big words on a scientific issue? Simply put, if a man is an encyclopedia, stem cells are the index. These early embryonic cells are flexible enough to later develop all the 220 types of cells in the human body, and thus can indicate which elements in the human genome underlie many diseases and disorders, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Asthma (Robinson, sec. 1). However, the so-called “pro-lifers” consider these pre-embryonic cells are human being, and thus consider this kind of research as murder (ibid.). Similar arguments, most of them are based on religious perceptions and non-scientific views, aim to jeopardize every human interference with “God’s work.”
Other critics of human engineering are concerned with the implications of a body of knowledge, which will genetic modifications other than preventing diseases. They depict horrifying scenarios in which governments clone soldiers, religious sects will “manufacture” supporters, and human diversity will be lost. Indeed, one cannot deny the possibility that such negative effects will occur.
However, since almost everything around us can be used for negative purposes, we cannot neglect the benefits of human engineering just because of the relative risk. The knowledge and the abilities should exist, and it is up to us and up to the generations to come to make a good use out of the technology. Simply put, we should not stop using knives just because some people use to for stabbing.
The Future of Human Engineering
President Obama’s decision is an important, though a small step towards enjoying the benefits of human engineering. While Obama addressed only one issue, and limited his views for the cure of disease, we must consider the long and promising way ahead of us. If we nurture this science, we should assume that within several decades, people would be not only healthier and live longer, but also live better.
Some genetic modification can bring about tremendous effects on humanity. Consider, for example, the possibility that human engineering will help to improve the cognitive abilities of newborns.
Then, when they will grow up, they will build a better world not only for themselves, but also to the elderly of their times, which can be you and I if we will act quick enough. Think of the all the poverty, the human suffering and the limitations on human creativity and productivity, all of which can be significantly decreased. Think of all of these, and ask yourself if it is wise to give up on all of these for the sake of caution or religious believes.
It is the time for all of us to choose. Human engineering is beyond any doubt the predominant way to build a healthier, happier and astonishingly brilliant society. If we give up on human engineering, we are closing the door on the only possibility for us to get there. Supporting human engineering is not only the smartest thing, but also the most moral thing we can do today.
Works Cited CNN. “Obama overturns Bush policy on stem cells.” CNN Politics. 9 March 2009. 21 Sep. 2009 <http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/09/obama.stem.cells/index.html> Robinson, BA. “Stem cell research: All viewpoints.“ Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 10 March 2009. 21 Sep. 2009 <http://www.religioustolerance.org/res_stem.htm>
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