Just as the success of a corporate body in making money need not set the human condition ahead, neither does every scientific advance automatically make our lives more meaningful (Wald 45). These words were spoken by a Nobel Prize winning biologist and Harvard professor, George Wald, in a lecture given in 1976 on the Dangers of Genetic Engineering. This quotation states that incredible inventions, such as genetic engineering, are not always beneficial to society. Genetic engineering is altering the genetic material of cells and/or organisms in order to make them capable of making new substances or performing new functions (Wald 45). It is also one of the top controversial issues of the 20th century (Epstein 1). Many believe that continuing to provide genetically constructed inventions in this world is ethical, which means that these inventions conform to one s moral standards (Epstein 5). Others argue that such inventions as human clones, which are genetically constructed humans, and other genetically created figures, are wrong and should be stopped (Epstein 5). Overwhelming textual evidence proves that genetic engineering is not beneficial to society. Accordingly, genetic engineering is unethical and therefore should be stopped.
One reason why genetic engineering should cease is because genetic engineering disrupts society s moral values and causes society to act out in destructive ways. An online survey done by Time Magazine in 1997, found that 11% of those who were interviewed believe that if clones are created in the future, the genetically created humans will only be good for target practice (Epstein 2). Another survey by the same magazine was conducted and found that 50% of those who were questioned believe that clones should be treated as lower beings and should not be given the same rights as unaltered humans (Epstein 2). Furthermore, a similar survey, completed by MacLeans Magazine in 1993, reported that 11% of those interviewed confirmed that if technology was able to change defects within their unborn child, they would not hesitate in changing the child s genes in order for the child to be born normal (Epstein 3). The choice to create one s own child will have many believe that the better the genes, the better the child. These statistics, without a doubt, reveal that genetic engineering will be harmful to society if certain means are available to them. Although these statistics cannot be applied to everyone, it does prove that unethical occurrences will transpire if genetic engineering is continued. Such consequences as segregation between altered and unaltered humans, civil war, mistreatment and disrespect of cloned humans and other severe damages will occur if genetic engineering is continually approved by science. In order to save society from future destruction, genetic engineering should be stopped. Clearly, genetic engineering causes unethical occurrences in society and should cease.
The second reason genetic engineering is unethical and should be stopped is due to the fact that it involves reconstructing nature, which is not the job of society. Genetic engineering could potentially breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics and other serious problems in which nature cannot conquer (Epstein 4). Many scientists argue that genetic engineering has a positive outcome, and occurrences such as diseases or other casualties in nature s balance should be ignored (Bereano 18). Co-discoverer of the DNA code and Nobel Laureate, Dr. James D. Watson, has continuously disregarded the risks of genetic engineering (Bereano 19). In 1979, he wrote the following about possible diseases that might be inadvertently created through genetic engineering: I would not spend a penny trying to see if they exist (Bereano 19). The above statement clearly shows that society cannot depend on the high priests of science to make ethical decisions (Bereano 18). Too much is at stake. Unfortunately, many scientists choose to ignore the faults of genetic engineering in order to continue researching (Bereano 20). Stephan Hawking, a renowned physicist and cosmologist, has commented often and publicly on the future role of genetic engineering. He believes that: For the first time in history, natural evolution has come to an end and has been replaced by humans meddling with their own genetic makeup (Wald 45). Genetic engineering science is moving from exploring the natural world and its mechanisms, to redesigning them (Wald 45). Stephen Hawking also stated: Our morality, up to now, has been to go ahead without restriction and learn all that we can about nature. Reconstructing nature was not part of the bargain (Wald 45). Hawking states above what other scientists such as Dr. Watson choose to ignore. By tampering with genetic make-up and creating new diseases, science is ending the reign of man, not prolonging it. Therefore, society s reconstruction of nature is unethical, and should be stopped.
The third reason genetic engineering is unethical and should be stopped is because it deprives society of God s plan to create unique individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses. Parents will be able to pick the genetic material of their child before he is even born. They may choose genes that are connected with temperament, intelligence, mindfulness, and perhaps sexual orientation (Bereano 18). A child may be genetically engineered to be an enhanced clone of their parents or of a celebrity, whose genetic heritage was purchased at a great price (Bereano 18). If a family is poor, they may be paid to design their child with genes tailored for a particular occupation, together with a pre-birth contract for future employment (Bereano 18). As a result, all life will be evaluated only in terms of its specific use for the individual (Bereano 18). The right to work out one s own destiny is lost. Given the historical role of the United States of America in expressing the rights of equality and individual rights, the legalization of favorable values with regard to human genes is somewhat surprising (Bereano 18). One would think that people would have control over their own genes; however, that does not seem to be the case. Therefore, the rights to one s own identity will be abolished if human genes can be selected; thus, genetic engineering should be stopped, for it is unethical.
Genetic engineering should be eradicated due to the fact that it is immoral. It is proven that such inventions as genetic engineering can negatively affect society and cause rash and inappropriate behavior. Also, genetic engineering involves altering nature s balance, which is not the job of scientists, or society. Finally, genetic engineering can destroy one s sense of individuality and spoil God s plan of making all people unique. Because of these reasons, genetic engineering should be stopped. It is a bad science making a dangerous alliance with a bad business.
Bereano, Phillip L. Body and Soul: the Price of Biotech. Seattle Times. 20
Aug. 1995: 18-20.
Epstein, Ron. Ethical Dangers of Genetic Engineering.
(http://online.sfsu.edu/ ron/gedanger.htm) (February 26, 2000).
Wald, George. The Case Against Genetic Engineering. New Jersey: Englewood