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Kyle Swanson

Biology 1090
Taking Sides Readings
Issue 12, Is Genetic Enhancement an Unacceptable Use of Technology?

Author and Major thesis of the Yes side:
Political philosopher Michael J. Sandel argues that genetic enhancements to design children and
improve human nature is flawed and makes people less appreciate life as the gift it is.

Author and Major thesis of the No side:
The argument for genetic enhancement is from physician Howard Tractman, arguing that
enhancement is a quest that cannot be perfected but should at least by tried.

Briefly state in your own words two facts presented by each side.
Yes:
Scientists have the ability to genetically change mice so that they have stronger muscles in old
age. The author claims this may soon be useable with humans.
By 1996 “off-label” growth hormones were about 40 percent of sales. These were often used by
parents who wanted to make their children taller, used in a manner that doctors would often not
prescribe for.

No:
Genetic enhancement has helped people; the author stated that a drug misused by athletes is used
to treat patients with renal disease.
Even if genetic enhancements are widely available, people may not even use them. The author
cites a study to back this claim up.

Briefly state in your own words two opinions presented by each side.
Yes:
Genetic enhancements aspire to remake nature, to serve our purposes and desires.
To appreciate children as gifts is to just take them as they come, parents should not be trying to
change or improve them, in a genetic sense at least.

No:
The “future” has not turned out as great as many in the 20th century had hoped, many of the
advantages we have gained have caused many problems as well.
If a doctor can help a patient with a problem, they should not be in the business of deciding if it
is acceptable or not.

Are there any reasons to believe the writers are biased? If so. He uses a slippery slope argument in claiming that if everyone became taller. And a word he doesn’t fully back up. The NO author I thought presented more facts in his argument. there was no evidence of this in the paper.” Which may have some amount of truth to it. Briefly identify as many fallacies on the No side as you can. But for the most part I think that the cat is out of the bag. but I think to say that “no” treatment is an exaggeration for effect.. However I do not think he presented many hard facts on why this is a problem. As such there appears to be no inherent reason to fear enhancement or limits its application. those of average height would want to be taller as well.” While that may be true.Briefly identify as many fallacies(lack of reasoning or validity) on the Yes side as you can. why do they have these biases? I didn’t think either author had any major biases other than their own personal opinions. He also states that “.. I agree that we must be careful in avoiding designer children. no enhancement or treatment has ever turned out to be all it was cracked up to be. . his main argument seemed to be more concentrated on feelings and wanting things to stay the same. The only way I could think of such a bias is if the physician owned a genetic enhancement company or something similar. [treatments] never deliver on all great expectations. that does not take away the fact that they may be able to help many people’s lives. and that genetic enhancement could possibly lead to homogeneous cultures. which author impressed you as being the most empirical in presenting his or her thesis? Why? I thought the YES author did a fine job of presenting different ways genetic enhancements may be changing people in the future. and genetic enhancements present far too big of gains to be turned away solely on the fact that at times they will be misused. it seems to me that there could be medicine with the success of vaccinations that could change the validity of this statement. The physician states: “. Which side (Yes or No) do you personally feel is most correct now that you have reviewed the material in these articles? Why? Personally I fall on the side that genetic enhancement in many cases is fine. However.. He seems to imply that genetic enhancements are in some way “sinister” which in my opinion is a harsh word in relation to the rest of his argument. All in all.. He used many sources to back up his claims that even though genetic enhancements may be misused. either good or bad.