Familial Engineering Essay, Research Paper
Ethical and Religious Issues in Genetic Engineering & # 8221 ;
The picks I will be speaking approximately have to make with biotechnology and familial technology, picks
which we are presently non doing consciously because we truly wear & # 8217 ; t cognize what is traveling on. I
would wish to state you what is traveling on in these countries, and so speak about how we might near this
affair in ethical ways.
First, let me to give you some illustrations of current activities in the field of familial technology.
Most of it has to make with bring forthing genetically engineered workss, chiefly nutrient workss, but besides
cotton baccy, and some others, which are immune to pesticides, so that the pesticide
makers can do more money on their merchandises. About 70 % of familial technology falls into
A 2nd illustration is biowarfare. Possibly some of you saw the recent New Yorker article on the
capable [ Richard Preston, “ Annalss of Warfare: the Bioweaponeers. ” New Yorker, March, 1998 ] .
There is widespread consensus that the information reported in that article is true. One of the things
he mentions is that the former Soviet Union had the largest big-warfare plan in the universe, with
32,000 scientists working on it. Much of it had to make with familial technology. In one of the undertakings
they took variola, which has otherwise disappeared from the universe, and found a manner to genetically
introduce into it, without cut downing its efficaciousness as variola, either Ebola virus or equid phrenitis
viruses. Cipher seems to cognize what happened to those experimental viruses.
A 3rd illustration: we now have workss genetically engineered to bring forth plastic. The thought is that we
will no longer necessitate to depend so much on crude oil, or on the Middle East for crude oil. The
job here, of class, is that the engineered workss cross-fertilize with their wild brethren, and since
none of familial alterations is recallable, we can merely trust that we will non one twenty-four hours take walks in the
out-of-doorss and be surrounded by vegetations which are exudating plastic and poisoning the zoology.
Some other illustrations: the Chinese are now seting human cistrons into tomatoes and Piper nigrums to do
them grow quicker. You can now be a vegetarian and a man-eater at the same clip! In Canada
geneticists are seting human cistrons into fish to do them turn faster. And several companies are
rushing to put human cistrons into hogs in order to genetically fit them to human persons ; that
agencies that you can hold your ain organ giver hog, an carnal whose variety meats will non be rejected by
your organic structure.
Those are some illustrations of what is presently traveling on in the field of familial technology, which I
hope convey to you my concern that there could be serious jobs in front. Now let me to
propose what we might make about all this. First we must recognize that merely feeling disturbed by such
undertakings is non plenty. If we are to take any effectual action, to do any utile determination, we must
Begin with some clear apprehension of the issues involved ; we must develop telling rational
point of view about familial technology and how to near it. There are, of class, many point of views,
but allow me advert merely three.
First, the position of scientific discipline and engineering as they serve international corporate net income, which is where
we find most scientific discipline and engineering. This fundamentally amoral, aspiritual position is dominant today
because so much money is involved. The corporations involved control more money than any
authorities on the planet, including our ain. This is a closed system position of physical world, and
nil outside the system is considered existent or meaningful.
The 2nd and 3rd point of views I want to reference are both religious, one from the Christian tradition,
the other from Buddhism. Many Christians are wary of the potency of familial technology for
basically changing God s sacred creative activity ; nevertheless, the one I have most late discovered
takes a radically different stance and comes out of broad Protestant idea. Ted Peters, a professor
at Pacific Lutheran Theological seminary, is an advocator of this position. He says,
It is deserving observing that virtually all Roman Catholics and Protestants who take up the
challenge of the new familial cognition seem to hold on a smattering of theological
maxims. First, they affirm that God is the Godhead of the universe, and farther that God & # 8217 ; s
originative work is ongoing. Second, the human race is created in God & # 8217 ; s image. In this
context, the Godhead image in humanity is tied to creativeness. God creates, so do we. With
surprising frequence, we worlds are described by theologists as & # 8216 ; co-creators with
God, & # 8217 ; doing our part to the evolutionary procedure.
Get downing in the Renaissance we find the image of the scientist as a Christian who moves closer to
God by researching the sacred nature of His creative activity. This position sees the modern Christian scientist as
person who is merely helping God in his on-going creative activity of the universe. One of the several facets of
this divinity upset me is the possible for a Christian exclusivity sing who is qualified to
engage in scientific discipline. But that & # 8217 ; s non all. Another professor who is connected with the Chicago Center for
N and Science and who portions the predating point of view asks,
Why is it any more plausible to conceive of God raising electric fencings around certain
countries of cognition than to conceive of God watching with delectation and parental pride as
human existences use their divinely designed encephalons to decode the codification of life? What & # 8217 ; s
incorrect with visualizing God roosting on the side of a Petri dish, tidal bore to hold us rectify
some scribes & # 8217 ; mistakes which have crept into the three billion words in the past 600
million old ages. If we believe in the lone sort of Godhead God compatible with development,
we must besides accept the godly manner of bettering all life signifiers through the Godhead
experiments of natural choice, which at some point begins to include the human ability
to go an active portion of the procedure, a alteration agent, one in whom, as Teilhard de
Chardin insists, development is going witting of itself. & # 8221 ; So God is pressing us to
go active agents of creative activity and development, rectifying His errors as we grow in
our apprehension of His creative activity.
Philip Heffner, manager of the Chicago Center for Religion and Science, gives a somewhat different
position, although he is truly of the same theological set. He says,
This spiritual universe position Tells me that holding been created as a co-creator with God is
in one sense a can of worms. It puts me in a place in which I am accountable for
esteeming the intrinsic or built-in value of the creative activity, because that value is
ontologically grounded in God even though the understanding of
that value is beyond my capablenesss, while at the same clip my power over things, besides
God- given, is operationally about limitless.
He goes on to state,
We will go on to prosecute our cognition and engineering. We have no option. My
tradition Tells me that we will make so as evildoers. This means that we will neglect to understand
to the full plenty. We will neglect to move right plenty. We will do errors. Since we are
evildoers and fallible, and we are besides created co-creators, we ought to engineer in that
fallibility-sinner factor, be every bit low as snake pit, spend a batch of clip on our articulatio genuss, and
acknowledge that if Oppenheimer thought that the atomic bomb revealed original wickedness, the
epoch of familial technology will uncover it much more. so, as one of my tradition & # 8217 ; s
wise mans has said, & # 8216 ; Full velocity in front and transgress boldly!
And so Heffner brings us back down to earth with the realisation that the overpowering bulk of
scientists, even Christian 1s, are traveling to be runing non as vass of God & # 8217 ; s divine love in the
universe, but out of wickedness. Yet peering, wherever it may take. One of the things that this suggests to me
about this new and really popular signifier of Christian divinity in the duologue between faith and
scientific discipline is that it has to fight with a tenseness, which stretches from Paul to Kierkegaard to the
present, between redemption in the life of the Holy spirit and the demand for ethical guidelines for our
behaviour. The church in the Middle Ages struggled against Gnostic antinomian motions, and it
remains to be seen whether these new immanentist church motions are besides traveling to fight with
antinomian inclinations in spiritual familial technology, peculiarly when most secular scientists are
prosecuting familial technology while paying merely lip service to any ethical issues whatsoever.
I would wish to advert now an surrogate religious theoretical account from the Buddhist tradition, one whose moralss
are karma-based. The cardinal rule of this theoretical account is ahimsa, & # 8220 ; non-harming, & # 8221 ; regard for the
intrinsic value of all animate existences, non merely human life. This theoretical account, furthermore, respects sentient
existences non simply for their utility to us as tools or agencies to terminals. Out of this impression of regard for
life comes the impression of altruistic compassion as a steering rule in our actions. So in footings of
familial technology, this would except any instrumental usage of homo or nonhuman animate life. A
2nd rule of this point of view is transcendency, which is really hard to speak about in scientific
footings, but which, from a religious point of view, is non merely a possible for worlds, but for all sentient
existences. All animate existences have the possible to develop religious wisdom and release. This
potency, harmonizing to Buddhism, is meaningless in most scientific theoretical accounts. The 3rd rule of this
religious point of view is that the universe is an unfastened system, in contrast to the closed system of most
scientific research. Built into the open-system theoretical account is the thought that we can non cognize through
scientific methodological analysis the full extent of the possible effects of familial changes on life animals.
We can non be certain of the ultimate effects of any familial alterations we make. A 4th rule is the
non-Cartesian position of the relationship between the physical and the religious. The status of our
organic structures and nervous system affects our heads and liquors, and vice-versa. This is why karma-based
moralss insists on pureness of both heads and liquors, and vice-versa. This leaves open the possibility,
hence, that familial technology might adversely act upon the potency of animate existences to accomplish
transcendency. And there is no scientific experiment we can execute to happen out one manner or another.