Week6_Biotechnology? Helpful or Harmful?

Week6_Biotechnology? Helpful or Harmful?

Biotechnology and genetics manipulation in itself have always been very controversial topics.  Conservative communities and religious bodies continuously argue against manipulating “God’s Work” or changing “natural ways” in uncanny unnatural manners.  But like all growing fields of study, biotechnology and related fields of study are here and only growing in momentum and will not be halted on fear of what could potentially go wrong. In this article of 1998, (http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.salonmagazine.com/news/1998/01/08news.html), a physician entrepreneur Richard Seed opens a human cloning clinic to help infertile couples have babies.  The reaction to such biotechnology is expected. Religious Christian leaders view Seed as a modern Dr. Frankenstein, who is using science to violate the holiness of human life.  Furthermore, many people hoped to pass legislation that would ban the possibility of human cloning forever.  With or without animate opposition or sci-fi movies blatantly warning the evils of an experiment gone wrong, there will always be that one innovative scientist who will inevitably try the new.  While the suspicion and desire to halt biotechnology’s work is reasonable, halting biotechnology’s progress is not only selfish, but also self-destructive.  Biotechnology and its new inovations are constantly providing new discoveries, which will save lives, help feed thousands more, and overall improve our lives.  I personally believe this progress is good and necessary for society’s progress.
Biotechnology is pioneering the new frontier, discovering new medicines and remedies that will help the world.  But is it worth messing with the “natural way” of things, or killing animals in the process?  I have always believed in the greater good.  If one life could save two lives, then the sacrifice is worth it.  Thus, I believe that biotechnology and experimentation on animals, which may kill several hundred animals but may save thousands of human lives, is a worthwhile trade.
Biotechnology’s influences have majorly influenced and improved medical health care, crop production, and more.  Biotechnology has increased the yield of beer and dairy products, decreasing prices and providing sustenance for more people.  Another example is the use of naturally present bacteria to clean in the mining industry.  Biotechnology is also used to recycle, treat waste, clean up sites contaminated by industrial activities.  The human benefit far outweighs the few questionable moral issues.

Biotechnology + food = more!

Biotechnology + food = more!

Bigger, Bigger, Healthier Food!

Bigger, Bigger, Healthier Food!

Genetics in biotechnology also falls in a large morally gray zone.  Last quarter I took an intro to psychobiology class, and I learned many different states related to harnessing human genetics.  Some studies showed the correlation between an IQ of a biological parent and its child to be roughly .48, while an adoptive parent to an adoptive child had IQ correlations to be roughly .22.  Identical twins reared apart had a correlation of .80, while children reared together had IQ correlated to be .38.  These patterns can be further refined and can help scientists conclude what genetic factors actually influence someone’s education level and what external factors alter this person’s life.  How can this help? Policy makers could use this information and direct the necessary funds towards school, or genetics, helping to efficiently allocate the nation’s funds across its schools.  Understanding genetics and intelligence is the start of making the future smarter, which will provide a better society.  Vaccines, new medicine, improved food, and transplants only scrape the surface of the potential benefits of biotechnology, but what about bio-art? My approval of biotechnology only stems from the wish to see beneficial, scientific, results.  The manipulation of human bodies, animal beings, or even plants for the use of simple expression seems like an unreasonable, uncalled for sacrifice.  Furthermore, such manipulation can cross into a gray, sci-like danger zone, which if avoided, should be.

Morally Gray, and not Beneficial

Morally Gray, and not Beneficial

by: Jason Kwok

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