Genetic engineering is the artificial manipulation, modification, and recombination of DNA or other nucleic acid molecules in order to modify an organism or population of organisms (Britannica, 2017). As humans we already have so much power. We control many things in this world. We are at the top of the food chain. However, this doesn’t seem to be enough. We all have watched superhero movies where the plot is always the same thing: there is an evil villian who isn’t satisfied with the amount of power they have so they end up wanting more and the superhero always has to stop them. If we apply this to the real world the people who are introducing genetic engineering to us to create what we would think the perfect human beings would look like are the actual villians but because we, as a society, would not think to stop them as we are so easily influenced by what other people tell us that we wont think to be the superhero and tell them but it is wrong.
With genetic engineering we are setting ourselves back as a human race. We are always fighting for equality like women need to be treated the same as men or all races need to be treated equally. In America today people of colour are fighting for the movement “Black lives matter”so what if with genetic engineering people decide they just want to have a world filled with blonde hair and blue eyed people? What happens to all the other races? Do we simply say, “Okay, this is the perfect gene so no more people with black eyes and black hair will be accepted into society?”
If we look at using genetic engineering in humans it is a box that is best left closed. Just by peeking into this box we could be creating a post-Nazi outbreak. Genetic engineering in the wrong hands could end up causing the end of one racial group and cause an overflow of another. As a world that is facing many issues like racism, corruption and poverty just to mention a few wouldn’t the money that is spent on this research be better used to find ways to eradicate world hunger by teaching people the skills they need to grow their own food or to educate people on how to make educated choices when it comes to voting for a president.
“If you sailed through school with high grades and perfect test scores, you probably did it with traits beyond sheer smarts. A new study of more than 6000 pairs of twins finds that academic achievement is influenced by genes affecting motivation, personality, confidence, and dozens of other traits, in addition to those that shape intelligence.” (Williams, 2014) It is actually sad that we are concerned more with creating things and giving ourselves more power when there are girls being deprived of getting sanitary pads when they have their periods. We want our children to be educated yet we won’t provide these girls with the sanitary pads they need so they end up missing school for 3-5 days so what is humanity’s solution? We rather want to blame it on the learners genes instead of spending the money of this research and helping girls get access to their basic rights. Our department of health is quick to spend money on distributing condoms but cannot distribute sanitary pads. “According to statistics, many girls do not go to school while they are on periods as they have no access to sanitary pads. That is one week in every month, which can cause a huge setback in their studies. This often leads them to drop out of school at a later stage.
Young girls choose to be absent from school rather than face the shame and humiliation of accidents when on their periods. In South Africa, it is estimated that around seven million of girls miss school each month because they don’t have money for sanitary towels.” (Mngomezulu, 2016)
The thing we fail to realise is that there are many external factors that could play a role in things like motivation. For example I could be motivated to go and study at a tertiary level but because I am born into a poor family that cannot afford to send me to a tertiary institution as we cannot afford to make a loan and I do not get a bursary it does not mean I have bad genetics it simply means that I am not at a means to go to a tertiary level institution at that time. Instead now scientists are saying that the reason for this is genetics.
If we are saying that our traits come from genetics then are we saying that people who murder or rape get that trait from either one of their parents or their ancestors? Are we then concluding that, that murderer or rapist’s family are all criminals? Or is it safe to say that it isn’t genetics that builds up our traits as a person but rather external factors? How any times do we not read in the newspapers about young boys in our townships being shot dead because of gang initiations? These gang members do not all come out of bad homes and some have parents that are genuinely good people so how is it that their child turns out to be a bad seedling? Could it be genetics or external factors? We, as humanity, do not want to see the faults within ourselves so what do we do? We look for a scapegoat. We look for something or someone to blame. Hey, so why not blame our genetic make up that way if we want to create the perfect human beings with the perfect society we just have to create them in a lab.
You ever watch I, Robot featuring Will Smith as the lead actor? If you didn’t then you should because gentic engineering is going to turn our society into that movie and who says we going to have a real life superhero to save humanity then?
I think we should do humanity a favour and focus on the problems we are facing and finding solutions to that before we go exploring ways to make the perfect robot army, oh sorry I meant perfect human beings.
Britannica, T. E. (2017, March 20). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from Genetic engineering: https://www.britannica.com/science/genetic-engineering
Mngomezulu, M. (2016, August 24). Pressreader. Retrieved from The struggle for sanitary towels: https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/move/20160824/282690456597436
Williams, S. C. (2014, October 6). Genes don’t just influence your IQ—they determine how well you do in school. Retrieved from ScienceMag: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/10/genes-dont-just-influence-your-iq-they-determine-how-well-you-do-school