Article Review: If God is an underachiever, should we try to help out?
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There is a new book that has come out titled Human Enhancement that explores the complex issues surrounding genetic modification. This article written by Paul O'Donoghue talks about those problems and ethical issues raised by the book. He writes about the elimination of disease, positive defensive mechanisms of the body (such as coughing, vomiting and fever), overall design of the human body and our place as humans to change it.
The issues mentioned in this article pertains to all of us, particularly those in physical performance sectors. As humans we are all involved in the struggle to maintain good health and lengthen our years as much as possible. In doing so though, we come up against some fairly formidable barriers. For starters the very act of universally maintaining life has mitigated the evolutionary screening process of constantly purifying our gene pool. No wonder that after centuries of non-selective breeding we find ourselves swamped with genetic defects such as poor eyesight, bad feet, weakness of immune system and strength overall. Do we disallow reproduction of genetically defective people? Do we modify ourse;ves? Another area of importance and concern is medication and antibiotics; many medications act to subdue bodily reactions that are actually defense mechanisms such as a fever which slows the reproductions of pathogens. Antibiotics often speed up the mutation and strengthening of virulent bacteria. Do we medicate or not? Also, design problems with the body such as the useless but vulnerable appendix or the frequency of choking due to the closeness of the trachea and the esophagus... do we modify those? All these questions affect us and the future of humanity. In a more immediate context, gene selections and modification is becoming a topic of intense discussion in the sporting ethics community. What sort of enhancement is allowed and what is not?
Personally I am a strong believer in the idea that all technology and knowledge is a tool, and that humans will use it to strengthen pre-existing intentions to do good or evil. Therefore gene modification is yet another powerful opportunity for us to destroy ourselves or to solve all our problems. I see much opportunity and am intrigued to see what will happen.
In summary this new wave of technology will come with many mistakes to be made and hopefully corrected. What our challenge is now is to acquire wisdom enough to use this power for the healthy continuation of ourselves and not our destruction.
O'DONOGHUE , Paul. (2010). If god is an underachiever, should we try to help out?. Irish Times, Retrieved from http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sciencetoday/2010/1111/1224283081101.html