Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Genetic Engineering Brings More Harm Than Good :: Genetic Engineering Essays

Until the recent demise of the Soviet Union, we lived under the daily threat of nuclear holocaust extinguishing human life and the entire biosphere. Now it looks more likely that total destruction will be averted, and that widespread, but not universally fatal, damage will continue to occur from radiation accidents from power plants, aging nuclear submarines, and perhaps the limited use of tactical nuclear weapons by governments or terrorists. What has gone largely unnoticed is the unprecedented lethal threat of genetic engineering to life on the planet. It now seems likely, unless a major shift in international policy occurs quickly, that the major ecosystems that support the biosphere are going to be irreversibly disrupted, and that genetically engineered viruses may very well lead to the eventual demise of almost all-human life. In the course of the major transformations that are on the way, human beings will be transformed, both intentionally and unintentionally, in ways that will make us something different than what we now consider human. Regardless of the dangers, we are rushing full speed ahead on almost all fronts. Some of the most powerful multinational chemical, pharmaceutical and agricultural corporations have staked their financial futures on genetic engineering. Enormous amounts of money are already involved, and the United States government is currently bullying the rest of the world into rapid acceptance of corporate demands concerning genetic engineering research and marketing. In the 1950's, the media was full of information about the great new scientific miracle that was going to make it possible to kill all of the noxious insects in the world, to wipe out insect-born diseases and feed the world's starving masses. That was DDT. In the 1990's, the media is full of information about the coming wonders of genetic engineering. Everywhere are claims that genetic engineering will feed the starving, help eliminate disease, and so forth. The ideas and evidence presented below are intended to help evaluate that central question. Some scientists believe that, since genetic codes determine the appearance, personality, health, and aging process of human beings, if that genetic information in the chromosomes could be decoded and the genetic mechanism were understood, we could potentially control and improve our health, quality of life, and the biochemical processes in our bodies. In other words, we could control our own fate. Also, we'd be able to improve the genes of other animals and vegetables so that they could serve humankind better. At first sight, these ideas seem reasonable and attractive. However, careful analysis reveals that they are based upon an incorrect theory--the theory of gene determinism. Genes are often described as 'blueprints' or 'computer programs' for

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