Genetic Enhancement

The concept of Genetic Enhancement has been gaining adherents far and wide.  This paper seeks to argue for the position of therapeutic genetic manipulation with the rationale of necessity rather than aesthetic ends.

The initial statement of Sandel encapsulates everything about his article  Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament.  The promise relates to a better life in addressing problems related to illness and disease, and the predicament points to that of making a controversial choice  that is, to enhance or not to enhance.

Anent the novelty of genetic enhancement as a scientific concept, a lot of varied and exciting options have been brought to light  discoveries which are truly remarkable and mind-blowing.  The breakthrough examples cited by Sandel in his paper, like enhancers for the muscles, memory, height and sex selection are simply astounding.  It would make you stop and think how incredibly marvelous the mind works, and the measure of progress science has managed to conquer.  

The discoveries in the field of bioengineering are not to be considered evil per se.  Advancements in genetics can be directed to their intended recipients  the sick and debilitated for whom these studies were initiated in the first place.  Victims of accidents or other disabilities may greatly benefit from the discoveries in this area.  For the elderly and the weak, this may also imply better prospects to live and enjoy a fuller life.  

One major reason for rejecting the idea of genetic enhancement is due to religious and moral grounds.  The concept in itself connotes tampering with human nature which may be repulsive to nearly everyone.  Furthermore, no enhancement or treatment has ever turned out to be all it was cracked up to be (Trachtman).  .  The safety of the procedure is deemed questionable, having been done merely from the subjective viewpoint of the geneticists -- their statements of which are based purely on tests done on animal subjects.  Likewise, the safety-factor of any procedure may be given more weight, but if the condition of the patient is life-threatening, then the procedure can be done as long as a waiver is signed by hisher consenting relatives.

Despite the growing number of believers in the field of genetics, Trachtman states that in reality, many treatments are rejected by large segments of the population.  This is particularly true in countries which hold a more conservative view on the subject of enhancement.  As a passive observer, it would be interesting to watch and learn new things and get to have more knowledge on advances in science and technology.  However, undergoing the treatment or taking the chance on a procedure which is not fool-proof is a different thing.  Sandel cited that Dolly, the cloned sheep died a premature death.  What caused it, or who was to blame for this death cannot be answered, simply because there really are no guarantees to this type of procedure.

Concerning the use of genetics in hyperparenting, parents should be wary of the extent  boundaries with which they evaluate their children.  So much pressure is placed on this generation to exhibit performance that is possibly above average to excellent.  There are no guarantees to this type of treatment however, hence, parents should let their children be, and not resort to any of these enhancers, so that they may develop their full potential in the most natural achievable manner.  

In conclusion, genetic enhancement is morally permissible only when used for medical reasons which can assist in prolonging the quality of life of a patient or disabled person.  If they are used for non-medical, aesthetic, artistic or merely capricious ends, then this defeats the purpose of science being of legitimate service to mankind.  


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