Thursday, May 23, 2013

Is Eugenics Ethical?


         Evolution. The motor that drove us to become the species we are today. We are the pinnacle of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Does that mean that it has ended for us, now that we're out of nature? No. We can continue to evolve naturally, probably based on our surroundings, or we can control our evolution. The human genome has been mapped and now we know what affects what. 


           Genetic engineering is a promising topic, but many people are against it. If one has seen Gattaca, it makes sense. Only the rich would be able to afford genetic engineering and they would have the perfect children, then there would be an elitist society, etc. Well, unluckily for most of the world elitism already exists so that's an issue we shouldn't really worry about, but what we should note is that everything at first is expensive. The first laptops were only owned by rich kids and people with important jobs in corporations. 

*EDITOR'S NOTE: The author is not an elitist.
         Now, genetic engineering has already been used for things extremely beneficial. Crops that grow quicker, animals that give in more product, be it eggs, milk or beef (although many activists are against this), insulin that can be used to treat diabetes, indistinguishable from that which is produced in a healthy person's pancreas. The possibilities are endless. So, why not try it out with humans?

NO! NOOOOO!
              Imagine. Diseases, syndromes, conditions can be prevented in utero. Tendencies to conditions such as diabetes can be erradicated, we can modify the body to either view healthy food as more pleasurable or to use junk food in a more beneficial way. We could be stronger, better, smarter, more creative, healthier, we can live longer! As Woody Allen said: "I don't want to gain immortality through my work, I want to gain immortality through not dying."

You can become a god.
           So, what can happen? Well, there's a thing known as unintended consequences. There could be movements against races or against whole segments of populations, such as Hitler's search for the Aryan race (which ironically, is Indo-European, not blonde with blue eyes). Or weird mutations could appear.

But werewolves.
               Another worry many people have is the loss of biodiversity, for if many people start to have similar genetic compositions, the population's ability to adapt will be reduced and therefore humanity would be at greater risk of extinction thanks to disease. 

Zombies would be a lost cause, though.
               What could be a solution? We could educate the younger generations to view eugenics not only as something ethical but something that has to be used with caution, and when the first generation of genetically modified children appears, they have to be educated to find a way to share genetic engineering with the world. Just imagine the possibilities. Better athletes, smarter scientists, more creative writers, society as a whole would be improved, and humanity would progress in a velocity unknown to us. If evolution is the survival of the best adapted, then we as a species have to undertake this challenge and adapt as best as possible. 

Let's take the next step.