Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nov 5 McGee – Ch 1 (Landscape of Genetic Technology)

The questions of eugenics and sperm banks raise for me a question of natural selection which McGee touches on slightly here. I do not doubt that as humans, we act like all other animals and choose mates based on some perceived ‘fitness advantage’ based on good looks or intelligence or prestige which we somehow think make them our ideal companions; we do this just as the peacock chooses her fat-feathered friend, etc. Yet, ugly people have sex too! Someone I might see as completely unintelligent or unattractive might seem to be your ideal companion for reasons I deem unfathomable. If then we start limiting which of our offspring live based on the ideals we hold about what their genetic constitution ought to look like, do we not do someone further down the line a disservice? After all, is not one man’s trash another man’s treasure? In addition to ethical objections based on rights to life in general, society has somehow deemed eugenics to be a bad thing – would we risk falling into a form of eugenics if we allow abortions based on genetic ‘flaws?’

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nov 3 McGee – Epilogue; Pennock – Virtuous Scientist meets human clone

The fact that cloning a sheep caused extreme public upheaval and massive media attention suggests that despite scientific arguments in favor of cloning, this may not be a path to pursue. At some level, society must allow morals and ethics to drive laws and regulations. We have, for example, decided that rape is wrong and ought not be done and rapists ought to be punished if discovered. However, those committing rape do not always see this as an immoral or wrong act but rather a right for them to relieve their sexual desires with another person. How is it that society can decide rape is wrong and punishable and thereby remove the right of people who disagree to continue raping? Somehow enough people agree that rape is inherently wrong that they feel entitled to remove the right to rape from the individuals who do not share their view. In the same way, if enough people feel that cloning is inherently wrong (even if this be for religious reasons, which Pennock so quickly tosses to the wind) then should they not also be able to remove the right to clone from individuals who do not share their view?