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Alexander Hanson Biology 1090

What is the Future of Genetic Enhancement? Genetic Enhancement is a delicate issue both within and outside the medical and scientific communities. There are many opposing opinions on the pros and cons of such a breakthrough, but both sides seem to agree that something life altering is likely to happen in the near future. Even though the technology might not become available to low income individuals and it is argued that it may make people lose appreciation for the gift of life, genetic enhancement possesses the possibility to improve the lives of many people. People should do everything in their capability to make life better. In the opinion of Michael J Sandel, who wrote the article, “The Case Against Perfection,” the use of genetic enhancement makes people not appreciate life as a gift. He believes that designing children to fit the characteristics that the parents want can be unfair to the children as well as in Sandel's words, "disfigure the relation between parent and child.” A child who is genetically designed is harder for a parent to have real human sympathies for. Parents have many other options outside of genetic enhancement to help their children flourish; they can help them strive to do better in school or sports, as well as giving them motivational support. He also states that the technology may not be accessible to everyone, specifically the poor, making it unfair. As the generations go by, it is highly possible that there would become a class divide between the people who were genetically enhanced and those who were not. There would likely be discrimination between both classes, the people who were not genetically enhanced might dehumanize those who were, and those who were might think the people who are normal are somehow inferior. In opposition of Sandel’s argument, Physician Howard Trachtman writes in his article, ”A Man Is a Man Is a Man,” that perfection is something that people will never reach but genetic enhancements could help the medical community with breakthroughs. The promises of new medical technology are never quite as great as they are advertised, but they do make progress. He writes in his article that in the 1970's, specialists in the field of medicine believed they had infectious diseases on their way to extinction and the world was on its way to a prosperous future, but it has been shown in the 21st century that there are still many medical problems ahead of the human race. Almost all new medical technology or drugs are met with a sudden lash of side effects or problems. There is almost nothing perfect about the field of medicine. Humans are hard wired to try and reach beyond our limits and try for great and never ending possibilities. Trachtman says that even though some people such as athletes may abuse certain drugs does not make them any less useful for other less selfish purposes. For Trachtman, the pros outweigh the cons. Although both Sandel and Trachtman make compelling arguments, I believe that genetic enhancement could greatly benefit the human race. If genetic enhancement

Alexander Hanson Biology 1090

were able to advance without so many obstacles it is possible that many handicaps, diseases, or ailments that plague the human race could be overcome. There have already been experiments in animals that make them smarter, stronger, and can even change their physique. Many of the animals who have had these genetic enhancements are superior to their normal counterparts, and it means that these technologies might not be so far off for humans. If children could grow up not having to face health problems, being able to have their dreams within their grasp and free of physical flaws, or disease, the world would move much faster into a progressive environment. There could be many economic, political, and social gains. If genetic enhancement were to become widespread, the medical industry would be much more advanced; people would live longer, be healthier, and not require others to care for them. This would cause people to spend less money on healthcare and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Americans spend 17.2% of their GDP on healthcare. Taking money out of this industry would boost the economy in other areas. To benefit even more from this, if people had more of a chance to be equal physically and mentally, there would be much less competition and discrimination, people would be more alike, and able to make more rational decisions. The possibility for world peace would never be closer at hand. With any great achievement in history there is always an opposing or opposite viewpoint. Humans will never fully agree in what is the best decision, even if there will be many benefits socially for the human race. It has been shown that people who are more alike are more likely to become friends and agree on a wider range of things. In 2011a study conducted by the scientific social psychology journal, “Group Processes and Intergroup Relations,” showed that when people were able to pick someone to be their friend from a wide or diverse group they picked people who were most similar to themselves. If genetic enhancement was widespread enough it would make people more equal in their physical and mental capabilities. In turn, his would create less envy, jealous, and bitterness between people. For some, it raises a question of ethics and fear. Ethically, there are people who simply do not think it is right for parents to be able to make decisions for what their children will look like or excel at. They believe that things naturally occur for a reason and nature should be left to its own devices. They also believe it could create a greater divide between people who do not approve of genetic enhancement and those who do. Unfortunately people fear what they do not understand, never before in history has the human race been so close to being able to create a person with perfect attributes. These same people fear that there might be a divide between a supposedly dehumanized elite species and humans as they are today. There are also people who believe that there could be far greater drawbacks than benefits to people who are enhanced. They state that there are almost no medical breakthroughs without some kind of side effect.

Alexander Hanson Biology 1090

Just like in any medicine it is important to weigh the pros versus the cons. At the present time, genetic enhancement has shown to hold more pros than cons and holds the possibility to improve the lives of many people. The economy would likely see a boost and the general population would be more satisfied with their longer, improved lives. Just like shown in the eradication of diseases in the 1970’s, if people come together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

Alexander Hanson Biology 1090

Works Cited
Sandel, Michael J. "The Case Against Perfection." Atlantic Monthly Apr. 2004 Trachtman, Howard. "A Man Is a Man Is a Man." The American Journal of Bioethics 5.3 (2005): 31-33. Print.