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(11) Genetic Engineering.docx

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University of Ottawa

11 Genetic Engineering0932010The essence of engineering is design and thus the essence of genetic engineering is the introduction of human design into the formulation of new genes and new genetic combinationsWe will begin the lecture on genetic engineering with an excerpt from George Annas book American bioethics crossing human rights and health law boundariesGeorge Annas thinks that genetic engineering has a scientific and commercial side to it and they both are aiming at eventually conquering death or imperfection by engineering the immortal perfect humanThe first attraction of genetic engineering according to Annas is that unlike cloning which is a replication genetic engineering promises to perfect our future by creating smarter and prettier children with enhanced memory etcHumanity has always strived for perfection so perfection per se is not the problem The problem with the aims of genetic engineering according to Annas is that it turn children and humans intro products of our own manufacturing As products they are subject to both quality control and improvements including destruction and replacement if they out turn out to be defective With the help of genetic engineering we could easily create a new type of eugenics Not the corrupt create a new type of eugenics Not the corrupt Hitlerian eugenics but a utopian eugenics a dream of what the perfect child should be likeAnnas thinks that this utopian dream is a mistake because we will never be able to understand life how it should be lived or what it means to be human or understand our bodies and minds at the atomic or even subatomic levels at which genetic engineering works Thus science cannot and should not define and inform humanity It should be the other way around We should define humanity its nature and goals And we should inform science on all human issues We should try to protect at all costs human dignity and moral equality And science alone cannot protect them Science needs to be accountable to democratic institutions and transparent enough so that international deliberation can take place before irrevocable speciesendangering experiments are conducted
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