The methodologies used were mainly ethical inquiries,

The methodologies used were mainly ethical inquiries, as I will investigate the
ethics as related to the obligation and the righteousness of this technology,
yet I have also considered philosophical research to make a value judgment
concerning this uprising issue.

I have also
conducted both primary and secondary research. The primary research includes a
survey which I carefully distributed using the quota/opportunity sampling
technique and made sure I had a sample size large enough so that when I
produced graphs and analysed them a clear pattern could be seen, which gave me
a good indication of people’s opinions on genetic engineering.

The secondary
research included various sources such as websites that were carefully selected
through an evaluation process, making sure they weren’t outdated, considered
biased, had unreliable authors, and that the content was relevant to the topic.
The ethical nature of this report and the methods of research undertaken have
led to information being included which is biased, however for the purpose of
this report and its inclusion of opinions, this has led to useful, critical and
balanced arguments where differing viewpoints which can still be included
regardless of bias.  Also, in the
investigation, I included a case study of “Dolly” the cloned sheep where I found
my least reliable website (Wikipedia). However, I still decided to use the
information on there, as it was corroborated by other reliable sources.

 

       In recent years, the field of genetic
engineering in medicine has been under heavy criticism, because it involves tampering
with the basic mechanisms of human biology, leading to unavoidable moral and
ethical issues, particularly in the fields of cloning, embryo-screening, and
designer babies. The problem lies in scientists’ pursuit of perfection, which
creates a major conflict between science and religious beliefs, but what scares
most people are the irreversible consequences that this leads to.     

       Genetic engineering, in simple terms, is
described as the deliberate modification of the characteristics of an organism
by manipulating its genetic material. Considering the foundation of genetics
was first laid down by the “father of modern genetics” Gregor Mendel
(experimenting on wrinkled and non-wrinkled peas’ offspring generation) in 1822
and as time went by, 150 years of no discoveries passed by until the very first
case where the ideology of genetic engineering was successfully applied in
1972, where the biochemist Paul Berg was able to recreate a recombinant DNA
molecule (DNA that has been artificially made by combining materials from
different organisms). Just after 44 years past recombinant DNA molecule,
scientists were able to develop the technology to perform practices as IVF in
such a short amount time. Since then, technology continued growing
exponentially, in fact, this shows the massive expansion that this field is
undergoing at the moment. Some people are keen to believe that these sudden
changes are improving the quality of life and benefitting society to the extent
where they don`t consider the side effects it can have; Herb Boyer (researcher
in biotechnology who worked alongside Paul Berg) mentioned that “what makes
this technology so revolutionary is that it`s so easy when we actually did it”.
Other people elaborate that what could potentially benefit all human kind outweigh
the protest of the few, and therefore the quickest route to success should be
taken. This uprising technology caused rapid polarisation and even the American
government had a very strong opinion in the matter because they were so worried
to awaken public anxiety. They subsequently forced scientists to set guidelines
and even enforced bans on DNA experimentation, further slowing the process of
development.

 

sing
genetic engineering to turn humans into slaves by altering their genetic code
is, for most people, unethical. However, consider the following: what if these
humans are criminals, or mass murderers? Is creating slaves still unethical?
Or, instead of the death penalty, which has no benefit to the rest of humankind
except the loss of a terrible person, maybe it would be more useful to make
them less capable, and then let them live in service to society. Is this
ethical? Or what about what Zobrist did: create a sterility plague that, in his
opinion, helped humanity, but at the same time took away people’s right to
choose what happens to their own body. Could this be considered ethical because
it helps humanity? These sorts of topics introduce questions that blur the
lines of what can be considered an easy answer.

In addition to saving thousands of lives,
genetic engineering could also be used in unessential ways; making a child more
intelligent, changing their looks. Is this also ethical? It is one thing to
save a life; it is another to alter a person for nothing more than vanity or
the desire to get ahead. However, since humanity allows operations like plastic
surgery and access to better education for those born into wealth, then genetic
engineering for such “cosmetic” or “unfair” things should also be ethical.
Koepsell (18) states that self-improvement is permissible, even when it
provides someone with a competitive advantage for themselves and their
offspring. It is unacceptable to pass legislation that prohibits someone from
going to law or medical school because they come from a wealthy family. If one
can use money to obtain a superior education, they should also be allowed to
use that money for obtaining a higher IQ for oneself and offspring. On such
grounds, genetic engineering is ethical.

According to Epstein, a major danger of genetic
engineering is that it can be used to serve international corporate profit,
instead of for public good. Businesses would be able to exploit this technology
and sell it to others who may not use genetic engineering in as honorable a way
as those with ethical values. In order to solve this, certain
government-enforced policies would have to be created. However, technology can
always find its way into the wrong hands; an intrinsic risk to all developments
in any technology with capabilities to harm people. So, this danger should not
be taken into consideration when determining the ethicality of genetic
engineering.