Sunday, September 7, 2008
Sept 8 Kitcher Ch 2 (Our Mortal Coils)
This particular reading is loaded with technical information about genetics and DNA, taking me back to high school biology lessons. While some passages are more complex than others, I can generally remember learning most of the information already; granted – this version is ‘dumbed down’ for an everyday reader. The point is, since 1953 with Watson and Crick’s revelation about the double-helix structure of DNA, scientific advancements have made genetics increasingly available to everyday people and significantly increased the amount of information available concerning the microbiology concepts of what makes us tick. With this increase in information comes an invitation to us to use it as we see fit. Does that mean we should genetically modify and clone hardy plant species in attempts to fight world hunger? Does that mean we should start making decisions about which fetuses are allowed to grow to maturity and which should be destroyed? In the eloquent words of Kitcher, “Will the hundreds of tests developed by probing particular regions of DNA prove liberating—or painful?” (Kitcher, p63) He did not mean ‘painful’ in the sense that the tests would physically cause pain as much as he meant that because of the array of tests available and the decisions we will face, we may experience emotional pain and internal struggles over ethical dilemmas.