Eugenics is the selection of desired heritable traits in order to progress future generations, typically in reference to humans (Wilson, 2017). While there are many opinions on the topic, it comes down to ethical grounds and what is right and what is plain down wrong. While eugenics will have a huge impact on medical advances the same device which cures can be that of destruction. Being able to change an embryo’s genetic code is like creating your own human, this power given to humans can result in the destruction of the human race just as how the Nazis used the same concept to murder millions of people who Hitler deemed mentally and physically defective (Heyes, 2016).
Yes, eugenics can bring about medical advances one cannot comprehend, the cure for cancer, HIV/AIDs, cystic fibrosis and many other diseases which claim the lives of 1000s on a daily basis. But what about the negative effects of genetic engineering? What right and how is it morally correct to decide for another human being what their genetic code should be? A persons genetic code is ultimately who they essentially are as a person, it is characteristics we remember of another person which we use to differentiate them from others. Why should we change what essentially makes a person themselves, unique to others? Yes, if an adult, which according to the law is a person over the age of 18, who is in sound mind decide they would like to change something about themselves then they can, because that will be their own choice on their own terms and not a choice made for them by someone else.
I think that while genetic engineering can perform miracles when it comes to curing medical diseases which we have been trying to fight for many years I do not think we should have a right to change genetic codes for aesthetic or materialistic reasons. I think that this concept should be used to benefit humankind with medicine advances. Creating a supposed perfect human is giving humans the power which is associated to that of God, this ultimately can be dangerous because while many people initially have good intentions, having such power can corrupt someone. According to Riggio (2009), the more power people posses, the more they focus on their individual, egocentric desires and worry less about other people.
On a daily basis we, humans, battle the feeling of being powerless whether it is at work, home or in relationships. So should we as humans give so much more power to another to allow them to alter our genetic code? Should we become even more helpless than we already are? Nobel laureate David Baltimore referred to genetic engineering as,“ A new and powerful means to control the nature of the population”(Baker, 2016.) Soon they will not only be altering our genetics, but the way we think, behave, our personalities and ultimately change us as humans so they have the perfect population to suit their next agenda on the list. Soon humans will just become a pawn to the leaders who desire a perfect future for themselves.
How can we, allow power hungry leaders to use us humans for their gain? The U.S military want soldiers who are made stronger, faster, more aware, more durable and more adaptable to different environments and this is possible with human enhancement (Metz, 2016). An enhanced super soldier is what they aim to create but research indicates that these soldiers may not be able to live amongst civilization once they have been enhanced so they will have to give up their lives and who they are as people (Metz, 2016). Should we then continue to support genetic engineering? Every action has a reaction, every choice has a consequence, every change has an effect but what are the adverse effects of genetic engineering? We always get told the benefits of a new product but we never get told what the side effects are. Eugenics can result in endless complications which we may not be aware of until it is too late, so is it really worth the risk? Are we ,humans, so eager to give away all power that we do not consider the fact that there may be severe consequences?
“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist… without imperfection neither you nor I would exist”- Stephan Hawking. So why are we trying to convince ourselves to create a “perfect human”? Perfection is an illusion which we hope to achieve. What standard means perfect? Perfection is a subjective opinion to each individual so where do we draw the line? How far are we willing to go to create perfection or the illusion of it?
Baker, B. (2016, March 06). The ethics of changing the human genome. Retrieved from BioScience: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/66/4/267/2464097/The-Ethics-of-Changing-the-Human-Genome
Heyes, J. D. (2016, April 28). Genetic engineering technology now spearheading the return of eugenics and the push for a ‘master’ superior race of men. Retrieved from Natural News: http://www.naturalnews.com/053819_genetic_engineering_eugenics_superior_master_race.html#
Metz, S. (2016, September 23). How Far Can the U.S. Military Go to Building a Technology-Enhanced ‘Super Soldier’? Retrieved from World Politics Review: http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/19992/how-far-can-the-u-s-military-go-to-building-a-technology-enhanced-super-soldier
Riggio, R. E. (2009, August 08). How power corrupts leaders. Retrieved from Psychology today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/200908/how-power-corrupts-leaders
Wilson, P. k. (2017, January 26). Eugenics. Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/science/eugenics-genetics